Probate in Arizona
Probate is the court-supervised process that transfers assets from the deceased to their heirs. If there is a Will, it will determine how the assets are distributed. Otherwise, the assets will pass according to Arizona’s Laws of Intestacy.
In Arizona, there are different levels of probating an estate. Which level you choose ultimately depends on the value of your loved one’s estate.
The first level is a Small Estate Affidavit. There are two types of Affidavits, one for personal property and one for real estate. A Small Estate Affidavit is very simple and only requires one set of documents to be filed with the court. To qualify to use this avenue your loved one must have passed over 6 months ago and their assets must fall under certain values. Their personal property must be less than $75,000 and the value of any real estate must be less than $100,000.
If the estate you are dealing with does not fall under those limits, you may need to utilize the second level: Informal Probate. You can go through this process either with or without a will, depending on if the decedent had one. This level or probate typically does not require any court hearing, but there is a substantial amount of legal documentation. This form of probate is our specialty.
If there is a question about the validity of the Will or heirs are contesting, you will need to file a formal probate. This will require court hearings, so it is best handled by a lawyer.
At Wealth Guardian Legal Documents, our probate process is broken into 6 simple steps.
- Data Gathering: During your initial appointment, we will collect all the information we need to complete your probate paperwork. Generally, these appointments take about 30-45 minutes.
- Filling for Appointment: A few days after your data gathering appointment, we will contact you to sign your first set of documents. These are the documents that are going to initiate the court process. After you sign the documents we will file them with the court. It typically takes 10-14 days to receive the approved documents back. These documents are legal proof that you have the right to act as personal representative of the estate.
- Notice: We will give proper notification to all parties that you are now the PR of the estate. We will also send notifications to any creditors. Lastly, we will complete the required notice to creditors by publication in a local newspaper. We also file copies of all these documents with the court.
- Inventory: This step requires for a list to be made of the decedent’s assets and liabilities. This list is sent to all parties. Assets include real property, such as a home, and personal property, such as bank accounts, jewelry, and household items. We will send a copy of this document to all interested parties and file it with the court. If you and the other heirs agree, you can all sign waivers of inventory to avoid this step.
- Administering the Estate: During this step, it will be your responsibility to distribute all assets to the rightful heirs. During this time, all remaining debts will need to be paid and a final tax return should be filed.
- Close the Estate: This is the last step in the probate process. You do this by filing a closing statement with the court. This is completed once the estate is liquidated, all creditors have been paid, and a final tax return has been filed. We will prepare the closing statement for you, file it with the court, and send a copy to interested parties. Once this is done your probate is complete!
Benefits of Using Wealth Guardian Legal Documents
WGLD is here to help relieve some of your burden. Here are some of the ways we stand out from the crowd:
- Price- As Certified Legal Document Preparers, our cost is much lower than what you would pay for an attorney’s services. You can check out our pricing by visiting promo.wealthguardiangroup.com/probate.
- Quality- We prepare pleading style documents for you, like what you would receive from an attorney. Each document is personal and custom, no fill in the blank forms.
- Notice- To help save you time, we take care of mailing out the notice documents for you. As well as completing the notice to creditors by publication.
- Filing- We file all documents for you, so there is no need for you to ever go the courthouse.
Why is Probate Necessary?
Probate is the legal process through which the title of the decedent’s property is transferred to their heirs, taxes are paid, and debts are satisfied. Most titled property and assets cannot be transferred without paperwork from the court. If you do not file a probate and receive the proper authorization you will not be able to access those assets.
Do You Have to go Through Probate if There is a Will?
A Will is a probate document, its purpose is to serve as a guide to the personal representative and the probate court. Financial institutions will not accept a Will as sufficient documentation to access funds. They will require you to present them with Letters of Personal Representative from the probate court.
Who is Responsible for Handling the Probate Process?
The personal representative is the responsible party in the probate process. This is either someone the deceased nominated in their Will or someone approved by the probate court.
What are the Main Duties of a Personal Representative?
The personal representative is responsible for settling and distributing the decedent’s estate. As the personal representative, you must identify and gather all assets. You must pay the creditors and final costs of administering the estate. You will also need to distribute the assets according to the provisions left in the Will or Arizona’s Laws if there was no Will. The PR generally cares for such additional things as discontinuing utilities, notify the social security administration, civil service, and veteran’s administration of the death. You are also responsible for filing the appropriate tax returns.
How Long Does It Take to Probate an Estate?
If no one contests, a probate can be over in as little as four months. However, the timing differs from case to case. Such things as trying to sell real estate can make it take longer.