Who Gets Assets Without a Will in Arizona?

Who Gets Assets Without a Will in Arizona?Your last will and testament is the legal document explaining the distribution of your personal property after your passing. Essentially, it allows you to allocate your assets according to your wishes. However, who gets assets without a will in Arizona? Does everything go to the state? The expert attorneys at Dana and Associates are here to explain what happens when you die intestate (without a will) in today’s blog post. Stay tuned to find out who gets assets without a will in Arizona.

What Does the Intestate Estate Consist of?

In Arizona, the estate in question consists only of assets that are subject to probate, the court-supervised process of retitling assets out of the name of someone who has died. Therefore, the intestate estate does not include any assets covered by a non-probate transfer or titled in a trust.

What is Intestate Succession? 

If you die without a will in Arizona, the probate code designates that your assets pass through intestate succession. Essentially, this means that any assets or property in the intestate estate go to the deceased’s spouse and/or other heirs.

The only exception to this process is if the deceased named beneficiaries through other methods, such as payable on death or transfer on death designations, or held title to property with their spouse or heir with rights of survivorship. Otherwise, succession will follow the procedures listed below.

Which Assets Go to Whom?

So, who inherits what? How is the intestate estate divided amongst descendants? According to the Arizona intestate inheritance rules, this is how assets are divided:

  • No surviving spouse. If the deceased is not survived by a spouse, the entire estate will pass to their heirs. In Arizona, “descendant” refers to all of the deceased’s descendants of all generations. Therefore, the estate will go to their next of kin starting with their children. If there are no children, then parents and siblings would be next. If there are no surviving parents or siblings, the probate court would track down more extended family, such as nieces and nephews, grandparents, grandchildren, and so on.
  • A surviving spouse, but no surviving descendants. The surviving spouse will receive the entire estate.
  • Surviving spouse and surviving descendants (that are not descendants of both the deceased and the surviving spouse). If the deceased’s surviving descendants are not related to the surviving spouse, determining who gets what can get a bit complicated. Generally, it depends on whether the intestate estate is the deceased’s separate property (received before marriage) or community property (received during marriage). In Arizona, surviving descendants are entitled to one-half of the separate property and all of the deceased’s share of intestate community property.
  • No surviving spouse or descendants. First, the probate court will search for immediate and extended family to receive the estate. However, if they can’t find any next of kin, the entire estate will go to the state of Arizona.
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Who Gets Assets Without a Will in Arizona?We hope this blog post helped to clarify who gets assets without a will in Arizona. However, don’t assume that the probate or intestate inheritance process is an easy one.

To make sure your assets and property are divided according to your wishes, it’s best to seek out an experienced estate planning attorney.

If you’re looking for an estate planning lawyer in Phoenix, the skilled legal team at Dana and Associates is here for you. You never know what tomorrow might bring. Stop by our office or contact our team today to get started.