Probate Law 101
After the death of a loved one, no one wants to think about money.
The fact of the matter, however, is that distributing their assets according to the terms of their will is a serious matter.
Navigating probate laws in Arizona can be difficult. In this article, we’ve answered five common probate questions.
1. When Is It Necessary According to the Probate Laws in Arizona?
A probate is not always required by law. There are a few instances in which you can avoid it.
If the deceased moved their assets into a living trust before death, then you most likely don’t need to execute a probate. The living trust transfers the assets to the beneficiaries named in the trust, without a probate. Therefore, a probate would be superfluous.
A probate may be unnecessary depending on the size of the estate.
If the deceased had less than $75,000 in personal property and/or less than $100,000 in real estate, then you may not need to open a probate but may use a substitute procedure which is less expensive.
There are other types of non-probate transfers, including joint tenancy with right of survivorship, specified beneficiaries (as named by an insurance policy or pension), and special kinds of deeds that transfer real property without a probate.
2. What Assets Are Ineligible for Probate?
Any property held in joint tenancy, such as bank accounts, property, or a home, wouldn’t be eligible.
Likewise, any property owned by a trust is not eligible for probate because it is transferred by the trust. There are many different kinds of trusts. The most common is known as a “living trust”.
Property which has been assigned a right of survivorship passes to the beneficiary without probate.
3. What Types of Probate Are There?
There are three types of probate in Arizona.
In an informal probate, there is very little court involvement. An informal probate can occur when an uncontested will is available.
The executor performs the probate with minimal court supervision.
Most probates in Arizona are performed informally. They are usually quick and inexpensive. Most are completed within 6 months to a year.
If there is a question of the executor’s eligibility or if the will is disputed, you’ll need a formal probate.
An interested party files a formal petition with the court. The court will then determine the legality of any outstanding concerns. The court will also appoint an administrator (or personal representative) to supervise the execution of the will.
In a supervised probate, the court will supervise every step of the probate process.
The court opens the estate, appoints representatives, approves attorneys of interested parties, and takes statements from debtors, and more.
This is really just a more extreme version of the formal probate.
4. How Long Will Probate Take?
This answer will change depending on which type of probate is being done.
Many informal probates can be completed within six months to a year if there are no issues. However, some probates take longer. Some heavily disputed cases can take much longer.
5. Should I Hire a Probate Lawyer?
In the wake of a loved one’s death, the stress of performing their own probate is often the last thing anyone wants to do.
A probate lawyer will be able to handle the entire process expertly. From filing the petition to resolving disputes, a probate lawyer will perform every step of the probate so you can focus on your family.
If you need a probate lawyer you can trust, contact us.