Going Through Probate Without a Will in Arizona

Going through the probate process if someone dies without a will in Arizona can be a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process. Before making any major decisions it’s always a good idea to educate yourself about the process. One of fastest ways to educate yourself is by attending an online estate planning event. We work with the Planning Community to offer these educational events at no cost.

What Exactly Happens if Someone Dies Without a Will in Arizona?

Dying intestate is such a common occurrence that every state has laws outlining the disposition of assets to the decedent’s next of kin or statutory survivors. Arizona is no stranger to this phenomenon. It has a statute, set forth in Title 14 of the Arizona Statutes, which sets up the order of beneficiaries that the estate of a decedent is to be distributed to upon the decedent’s death. The specific division of property and assets depends primarily upon what surviving relative(s) the decedent has.

For example, if someone dies with a surviving spouse, then the decedent’s estate would pass to that spouse in the event the decedent died intestate. This is a fairly simple example. In reality, when someone dies intestate it is often much more complicated than this. In many cases, a person may die intestate with only distant family members surviving them. In another example, if a decedent who dies intestate has no surviving spouse, siblings, children, or parents, then his or her property and assets will be distributed to his or her surviving nieces and nephews under Arizona law.

Probate Can Be Difficult and Expensive if Someone Dies Intestate

Probate Arizona - Dana and AssociatesProbate can be a long and expensive journey if someone dies intestate depending on the size and/or complexity of his or her estate. In some cases, the person may have assets (like retirement accounts) that naturally pass outside of the probate process, which would not require the probate court to even be involved with that particular asset. However, there likely will be other assets and property that will require the court to step in and take action to resolve the transfer to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. For example, if a decedent’s primary residence has a mortgage on it, then the probate court will need to resolve the satisfaction of that mortgage before the property is transferred to its new owner. In other cases where money, valuable property or assets, or a large number of surviving relatives are involved, the probate process may be prolonged by relatives disagreeing or fighting over the disposition of assets.

Potential Benefits Associated with Dying Intestate in Arizona

There can sometimes be benefits to dying intestate, mainly having the probate court settle and clear debts associated with certain property. The mortgage in the scenario above is one excellent example. A vehicle that has a loan associated with it would be another example of a debt that would be resolved in the probate process. As the decedent’s home or car passes through probate, the presiding probate judge would deal with whatever debts were associated with those assets. The probate process also provides an easy means for the title (i.e. formal legal ownership) of certain assets to pass to the individual that is to receive those assets, such as a surviving spouse receiving full ownership of the marital home that was previously co-owned with a spouse that died intestate.

Recommended Next Actions

Since the probate process is complex and there is a lot of room for errors and unnecessary expenses we recommend continuing to educate yourself before making any major decisions. A good resource is the Planning Community. We work with them to provide educational events at no cost. At their online estate planning event you will get a good understanding of the probate process and be able to submit any questions you might have.

Contact Dana & Associates for Assistance

If you find yourself in need of an experienced attorney to assist you in the probate of a loved one’s estate, then the attorneys of Dana & Associates are available to help you through this process with minimum hassle, inconvenience, and without incurring unnecessary expenses. Our experienced attorneys can assist you regardless of whether you or someone you know is seeking assistance in estate planning, probate with a will, or probate without a will. Visit our website or contact our experienced Arizona estate planning and probate attorneys today at [email protected] or (480) 924-4424.