Arizona Probate: An Overview

Arizona Probate: An OverviewWhen a person dies, their estate often needs to go through the probate process. Probate can be defined as an organized process of determining the property of a deceased person, repaying their debts, and dividing their assets among the heirs.

The Arizona probate process is designed to help families settle a deceased loved one’s affairs systematically, keeping the law and their Will in mind. While the probate process is sometimes held in a bad light, it’s essential for many families and can work well for smaller estates.

In this article, the legal experts at Dana & Associates are breaking down everything you need to know about the Arizona probate process.

Is Probate Necessary in Arizona?

Many estates undergo the probate process. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions. A decedent’s necessity for probate is dependent on the available assets and their overall value. For some assets, there’s no need for probate. Assets with a beneficiary designation can pass directly to the beneficiaries without the need for probate.

Some of the common situations that require probate include:

  • A holographic Will (this is a handwritten Will)
  • Heirs or beneficiaries are minors with no guardianship/conservatorship status
  • The entire process needs supervision through a court process
  • When there are heirship proceedings
  • The decedent’s property includes land and real estate
  • When a large estate is involved

 

How Probate Works in Arizona

Arizona Probate: An OverviewAs we mentioned above, probate is the formal process in which the assets of a deceased person pass to his or her beneficiaries or heirs. The probate court validates the deceased person’s last Will, settles all the debts, and shares the assets among the identified beneficiaries.

In most cases, people write a Will to express their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets. The probate process is designed to verify that the Will is a legally binding document. Even if there is no Will, the probate process must still take place because the deceased person’s estate must be transferred to the loved ones.

Probate laws differ depending on the state you live in, but you can avoid the process in certain circumstances. If you want to learn how to avoid probate in Arizona, you should consult with a licensed probate lawyer. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can initiate the probate process in court.

Do All Estates Go Through the Probate Process?

No probate is required if there is no property to be distributed. There are also several unique circumstances that do not require one’s assets to go through probate. Here are some of the most common occurrences:

  • Community assets held in joint tenancy go directly to the survivor
  • Annuities where someone is named as a beneficiary
  • Insurance proceeds where someone is named as a beneficiary
  • IRAs, Pensions, and retirement accounts where someone is named as a beneficiary
  • Investment and checking accounts with Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD) labels to one or more beneficiaries
  • Property in a revocable trust

The Probate Process in Arizona

For many people, the first question they have about probate is ‘what is the probate process in Arizona?’ Here are the basic steps of probate to expect:

Step 1: The last Will is filed in the court of the state where the decedent lived or had property.

Step 2: The court appoints a personal representative who must be named in the last Will.

Step 3: The personal representative then identifies all the deceased’s assets and compiles a report, showing the total value of the assets.

Step 4: The personal representative gives notice to every creditor.

Step 5: The last step is to share the assets among the beneficiaries.

Types of Probate

There are several categories of probate proceedings in Arizona, as explained below.

  • Informal probate: This is the easiest type of probate and is used when a valid Will is present.
  • Formal probate: Here, the court must solve all legal challenges in the estate, like when the validity of the last Will is contested.
  • Supervised probate: The court must supervise every step of the probate process.

Top Arizona Probate Attorneys

Arizona Probate: An OverviewFind out what probate proceedings are ideal for your case by consulting with an experienced probate attorney in Arizona. At Dana & Associates, our team of top Arizona probate lawyers is knowledgeable about the Arizona probate process and how it can affect your estate or the property of a loved one.

Contact our legal team today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.