Estate planning can often seem intimidating, but it's important to understand the value of a well-structured will. A will is a legal document that outlines the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children upon your passing.

It serves as the foundation of an effective estate plan, ensuring that your intentions are honored and your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes. Without a will, state laws will determine how your assets are distributed, often leading to outcomes that might not align with your desires.  

This is where the expertise of a seasoned wills attorney comes into play. By hiring a knowledgeable attorney, you can make sure that your will is legally binding, thoughtfully crafted, and tailored to meet the unique needs of your estate and your family.

At Robert J. Weber, P.C., located in Chandler, Arizona, I can help you create a will that protects your legacy and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 

What Is a Will?

A will, often termed a "last will and testament," is a legal document that communicates a person’s final wishes regarding their possessions and dependents. At its core, a will outlines your exact instructions on how you wish to handle your estate upon your passing.

This includes naming the beneficiaries who will inherit your assets, specifying an executor to manage the distribution of your assets, outlining provisions for the care of minor children, including naming guardians to assume responsibility for their upbringing in the absence of the parents.  

The state of Arizona recognizes several forms of wills: 

  • Self-Proven Will: A self-proving will is executed by the testator, who signs it alongside a notarized affidavit, usually in the company of two witnesses. This affirms that the will was executed without coercion and according to the state's legal standards. The inclusion of a notarized affidavit allows the will to be accepted by the probate court without needing to confirm its authenticity. 

  • Non-Self-Proven Will: A non-self-proven will follows the general guidelines for a self-proven will but does not include a notarized affidavit. Therefore, the probate process could be more involved as the court will need to use witness testimony to confirm the will's authenticity. 

  • Holographic Wills: A holographic will is entirely handwritten and signed by the testator and does not require formal witnessing. 

  • Electronic Wills: Effective as of October 2023, Arizona recognizes wills that are created in an electronic format and executed with electronic signatures. 

Understanding the distinctions between these types is crucial for aligning your will with your specific needs and ensuring its legal efficacy. As an experienced estate planning attorney, I can help you decide which type of will is best for you based on your personal circumstances.



How to Create a Will in Arizona

Creating a will in Arizona involves a few key steps to make sure your document is legally binding and truly reflects your wishes. Here's a concise guide to help you through the process: 

  1. Inventory Your Assets: Begin by making a list of your significant assets. This can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, and personal property that you wish to bequeath to your heirs or specific organizations. 

  1. Determine Your Beneficiaries: Identify who you want to inherit your assets. This can be family, friends, or charity organizations. Be specific to prevent any misunderstandings or disputes. 

  1. Choose an Executor: Select a trustworthy person to act as the executor of your will. This individual will be responsible for carrying out the terms of your will, managing your estate, and distributing your assets as you've directed. 

  1. Appoint a Guardian for Minor Children: If you have minor children, choose a trusted guardian who can take care of them if you're unable to do so. This decision should be made with careful consideration and discussed with the potential guardian. 

  1. Draft the Will: Although Arizona allows holographic wills, it's advisable to have an experienced estate planning attorney draft your will to make sure it meets all the legal requirements. An attorney can help you articulate your wishes clearly and include all the necessary legal language. 

  1. Sign the Will in Front of Witnesses: For a will to be legally valid in Arizona, it must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. These witnesses must be adults and should not be beneficiaries of the will to avoid potential conflicts of interest. 

  1. Make It Self-Proving: While notarization isn't mandatory in Arizona, a self-proven will can significantly simplify probate. This involves signing an affidavit in the presence of a notary public along with your witnesses that affirms you signed your will voluntarily. 

  1. Store the Will Safely: Once your will is finalized and signed, keep it in a safe place where your executor can access it when needed. It’s also wise to inform your executor and a trusted family member or friend of its location. 

  1. Review and Update Periodically: Life changes such as marriage, divorce, death, the birth of children, or asset changes may necessitate updates to your will. By regularly reviewing your will, you can make sure it always matches your current wishes. 

By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive and legally valid will in Arizona that secures your legacy and provides for your loved ones according to your wishes. Working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can streamline this process, providing you with peace of mind and confidence that your estate will be handled as you desire. 

What Happens If You Don't Have a Will?

If you die without a will in Arizona, it is known as dying "intestate." This triggers a default legal process where the state governs the distribution of your estate. Under Arizona's intestacy law, your assets will be distributed under court supervision, but not necessarily according to your wishes.

Initially, the court will appoint an administrator to manage your estate. This is typically a close relative. However, this might not be the person you would have chosen to oversee your estate and assets.  

Under intestate succession, your property will be allocated to your closest relatives, starting with your spouse and children. If you don't have a spouse or children, the estate may go to your parents, siblings, or more distant relatives in a prescribed order. If you don't have any living family members, the state of Arizona stands to inherit your assets.  

Arizona's intestacy laws also don't make any provision for the guardianship of minor children, potentially leaving their future in the hands of the court. Without a will specifying your choice for their guardianship, the court will decide who will raise your children, which may not align with your parental wishes. 

I can help you draft the necessary documents to make sure your estate is distributed according to your preferences and to safeguard the future of your minor children. 

How Can My Firm Help?

At Robert J. Weber, P.C., I provide invaluable estate planning services to make sure your will and estate plan is thoroughly prepared, legally binding, and reflective of your specific circumstances and wishes. Some of the services I offer include: 

  • Personalized Estate Planning Consultation: Initial consultations to understand your estate and your needs and provide tailored advice. 

  • Drafting and Reviewing Wills: Creating new wills or reviewing and amending existing wills to make sure they meet current legal standards and accurately reflect your wishes. 

  • Guardianship Designations: Assisting with the selection and documentation of guardians for minor children or dependents. 

  • Probate and Estate Administration Guidance: Helping you through the probate process and, if necessary, providing guidance on estate administration to your executors and beneficiaries.


A will is a critical document that dictates how your estate should be distributed when you pass away. As an experienced wills attorney, my firm is experienced in drafting wills and making sure they align with Arizona law. If you are looking to start your estate planning journey, contact me to schedule a consultation. Located in Chandler, Arizona, I serve clients throughout The East Valley, Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, and Pinal County.