Estate Planning Research Guide

Library Photo

T.J. Striepe
Law Library Fellow

Introduction | General | Forms | Statutes
Law Library Catalog | Databases | Online Resources


Introduction

This Guide is designed to assist non-lawyer patrons in understanding, formulating and drafting their own estate plans. It has been drafted for those individuals who do not have a legal background. The resources listed here will give an individual a good background in estate planning and permit them to draft estate planning documents for a simple estate. After reviewing these materials if you have further questions, please see the reference librarian for assistance in locating additional materials.

This is by no means a substitute for legal counsel. If you have a substantial amount of assets or other issues that will make the estate planning documents complex, you should contact an attorney to insure that your estate plan meets with your intentions.

The term estate planning is used generally in this guide to mean drafting a will or a trust that will distribute your assets upon your death. This guide presents some general resources located at this library to provide you with guidance on this topic and some forms that can beused to draft a will or trust. The resources located at the top of a heading will be more general and then become more specific and complex as you go down the list. Therefore please select the appropriate source based upon your background in this area. Also, please note that there are legal dictionaries located throughout the first floor of the library on top of the shelves if you encounter a legal term that you are unfamiliar with.

This guide also includes resources at the end to aide in locating other items on this topic, including links to those resources that are available on-line. Please note that in 1997 a law was passed that revamped the estate tax code. When reviewing resources not listed on this pathfinder and published prior to this date please review them carefully to insure they meet with you estate planning intentions.

As always, please see the Reference Librarian if you have any questions!

General Resources on Estate Planning

  • Estate Planning Basics, Denis Clifford (5th ed., Nolo Press 2009). Located in the Reference Section, Call Number: KF 750 .Z9 C585 2009—We suggest starting out your research with this book if you are a novice to estate planning. This book will give users a “broad overview of the nuts and bolts of estate planning.” This book explains how wills and trusts work, what probate is, how to provide for your beneficiaries, and the basics of the federal estate tax system.
  • Plan Your Estate, Denis Clifford. (10th ed., Nolo Press 2010). Located in the Reference Section, Call Number: KF 750 .Z9 C59 2010—Use this resource to obtain greater detail on wills,trusts and probate than the above listed item. It provides the reader with a background on how property is affected by the death of an individual and goes into more explanation on the tax implications of death. It also helps the reader to set goals for planning their estate and is a great book to get an outline of your estate plan in place.
  • Eight Ways to Avoid Probate, Mary Randolph (8th ed., Nolo Press 2010). Located in the Reference Section, Call Number: KF 750 .Z9 R36 2010—While this book is not directly associated with wills, it provides resources of how to get your assets out of your probate estate. It describes why individuals want to avoid probate and gives concrete examples of how to implement this into your estate plan.
  • Introduction to Estate Planning in a Nutshell, Robert J. Lynn (West Pub. Co. 1992). Located in Reserve, Call Number: KF 750 .L95 1992—A person can utilize this treatise to gain an overview of estate planning. It explains the fundamentals of wills and trusts and provides forms for the patron to utilize in his/her estate planning.
  • Estate Planning in Arizona, Donald A. Loose (Wheatmark 2008). Located in Reserve, Call Number: KFA 2540 .L66 2008—Though this is a very basic estate planning resource, it is very helpful because it is focused on Arizona law. This book will provide the reader insights on the nuisances of Arizona law.
  • Community Property Law, T. Jacobs (3rd ed., Thomson West 2004). Located in Reserve (Arizona Practice Series), Call Number: KFA 249 .S44 2004—Arizona is a community property state and any person preparing their estate documents needs to have a general background in this topic. Patrons can read this book to learn more about this topic and how it can affect your assets after your death.
  • A Will is Not Enough in Arizona, Amelia E. Pohl & Dan R. Morris (Eagle Pub. 2003). Located in Reserve, Call Number: KFA 2540 .P65 2003—A patron can learn about the benefits of establishing a trust rather than creating a will in this resource. This item also provides references to relevant Arizona statutes and case law.
  • Practical Guide to Estate Planning, Ray D. Madoff, et al. (CCH Inc. 2011). Located in Reserve, Call Number: KF 750.P72 2011—Drafted for attorneys and legal professionals, this treatise goes into great detail on the estate planning process; however, it is drafted towards novice attorneys so individuals with non-legal backgrounds can understand it after obtaining a general knowledge on this topic from the foregoing books. This book goes into great depth on the estate planning process, the tax principles involved in estate planning, and also discusses specialized topics in estate planning. Patrons can also make use of the extensive forms in this book to draft their estate planning documents.
  • A Lawyer’s Guide to Estate Planning: Fundamentals for the Legal Practitioner, L. Rush Hunt (General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section, American Bar Association 1998). Located in Reserve, Call Number: KF 750 .H85 1998—This book tends to be drafted towards more specialized topics. It focuses on the tax implications of various estates, how to plan for business succession, drafting specialized trusts and life insurance planning. Users can also take advantage of the variety of forms on multiple topics available in this resource.
  • Planning an Estate: A Guidebook of Principles and Techniques, Harold Weinstock & Martin Neumann (Thomson/West 2002). Located Downstairs, Call Number: KF 750 .W43 2002)—Individuals can use this guidebook to resolve complex tax issues in estate planning and learn about techniques and acts available to avoid estate tax.

Forms for Drafting Wills and Trusts

  • Quick & Legal Will Book, Dennis Clifford (5th ed., Nolo Press 2008). Located in the Reference Section, Call Number: KF 755 .Z9 C55 2008—A step by step process to draft a simple will is set forth in this resource. Five different forms and numerous worksheets are available in this treatise.
  • Nolo’s Law Form Kit: Wills, Denis Clifford (2d ed., Nolo Press 2000). Located in the Reference Section, Call Number: KF 755 .A65 C58 2000—Patrons can fill in the blank forms in this helpful resource to draft their own will. There are six different forms that a patron may use for different situations.
  • Make Your Own Living Trust, Denis Clifford (9th ed., Nolo Press 2009). Located in the Reference Section, Call Number: KF 734 .Z9 C57 2009—Non-attorney and novices can get a grasp of trust law by reading this book. This resource is crafted as a workbook with the ultimate goal of allowing the reader to draft the necessary documents to prepare his/her own trust. A multitude of forms are set forth in this book to assist individuals in drafting their own trust documents.
  • Drafting Effective Wills and Trusts, National Business Institute (National Business Institute 2006). Located Arizona Legal Section, Call Number: KFA 2544 .B34 2006—Even though this is an Arizona Continuing Legal Education Booklet which provides attorneys with the know-how of how to draft a will or trust in Arizona, this material can be exploited by patrons as well. This book contains great checklists and forms for patrons to utilize in drafting their estate planning documents.
  • Living Trusts After the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act (J. Wiley 1998). Located in Reserve, Call Number: KF 738 .M69 1998—This provides a step by step guidance on establishing, funding, and maintaining trusts and goes into greater detail than the resources described above. This resource explains the fundamentals of trust law and has a disc with forms to help individuals draft their trust documents. It also contains a lot of answers to common questions asked by individuals and is a great resource to get a handle on trust law.
  • Drafting Wills and Trust Agreements, Robert P. Wilkins (Shepard's / McGraw-Hill 1995-2009). Located Downstairs, Call Number: KF 755 .A65 W552 2009—Employ this three volume set’s abundance of forms for both simple and complex wills and trusts. In addition to the forms and checklists, the author describes the different types of estate plans and explains which ones are appropriate in a given situation.
  • Drafting Wills and Trust Agreements, Michael L.M. Jordan (West 2009). Located downstairs, Call Number: KF 755 .A65 J67 2009—This resource is a four volume set that has numerous forms for different types of scenarios that an attorney, or a patron, could encounter. This set contains complex forms, clauses and checklists for all different issues that an individual could encounter in preparing his/her estate plan.

Statues

The Arizona Statues governing wills and trusts are set forth below with their applicable Sections. The set of the Arizona Revised Statues are located in the Arizona Reference Section.

  • Arizona Statutes Regarding the Creation and Implementation of Wills: A.R.S. §§ 14-2501 to 14-2907—In order to find these sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes, locate the Arizona Revised Statutes in the Arizona Reference Section, select Volume Six, and locate the statutes sections listed above.
  • Arizona Statutes Regarding Trusts: A.R.S. §§ 14-7401 to 14-7671—In order to find these sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes, locate the Arizona Revised Statutes in the Arizona Reference Section, select Volume Six, and locate the statutes sections listed above.
  • Arizona Statutes Regarding Non-Probate Transfers: A.R.S. §§14-6101 to 14-6311—In order to find these sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes, locate the Arizona Revised Statutes in the Arizona Reference Section, select Volume Six, and locate the statutes sections listed above.

Law Library Catalog

If you would like to locate materials additional to the ones listed above, please utilize our online catalog. In order to locate the most relevant materials we suggest that you click on "Subject" and then utilize the following Library of Congress subject heading to locate additional treatises:

  • Estate Planning
  • Trusts and Trustees
  • Estates (Law)
  • Inheritance and Transfer Tax

Additionally you can use keywords to search for resources on this topic by clicking the "Keyword" tab. We suggest using the terms "Wills", "Trusts", "Estate Planning", "Estate Tax", or "Probate" to locate additional items.

Additionally, you can go to the section of the law library with call numbers listed below and browse the library’s materials on the following topics:

  • KF 746 - 750: Estate Planning
  • KF 731 - 735: Trusts
  • KF 6576 - 6585: Estate Tax
  • KFA 2540 - 2545: Arizona Estate and Trust Law Books

Law Library Databases

  • LexisNexis Academic—This database has a legal encyclopedia that you can utilize to find out information on Wills and trusts. In order to access this legal encyclopedia, enter the LexisNexis Academic website from the Law Library’s home page. Once you are in the website, click on the “US Legal” tab on the left hand side of the screen, then select “legal reference” and click on American Jurisprudence. You then can browse the table of contents or search for the topic you are looking for. This database also contains all 50 states’ statutes and cases on wills and trusts. Please see the LexisNexis Academic Legal Research Guide for instructions on searching for statutes and cases in this database. Patrons may access this database for free at the Law Library, but only law students and faculty may access this database remotely.
  • BNA Tax Management Library—This database contains commentary, statues, regulations, rules and decisions on the estate tax code. If you need additional assistance in estate tax planning this database has extensive resources on estate tax. Please see the reference librarian if you have questions on searching this database. Patrons may access this database for free at the Law Library, but only law students and faculty may access this database remotely.

Online Resources

  • Public Library of Law—This free website provides links to all state statutes and has state supreme and appellate court decisions from 1997 to the present.

Research Category