Probate Basics

Probate Basics-What is a Probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s estate. An estate is the total value of an individual’s assets at their passing. This includes bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, and personal property. There are different levels of court supervision depending on the complexities of the case. In this article, we will review the types of probate in Arizona, as well as the steps they entail.

Types of Probates

In Arizona, there are three main filing types. First, is a Small Estate Affidavit. This is the simplest form of Arizona probate. But only a small number of cases qualify. To use this type of probate the value of the estate’s assets must fall under certain markers. For example, real property must be worth less than $100,000 and the value of the estate’s personal property must be under $75,000.

If estate assets come in above these markers, the next level is informal probate. This process does not require any court hearings. But it does involve a significant amount of documentation. It is the most common type of probate in Arizona. The last level is formal probate. This is the most complex type of probate. It involves hearings with judges and court supervision.

Steps Involved in a Probate

You can break probate down into four main steps. The first step is to file a petition with the court. This petition lays out the facts of the case for the court to review. If the court approves the petition, a case will then be open. This documentation will allow the personal representative to be able to gain access to the estate assets and handle creditors.

Secondly, you must notify all parties with an interest in the case. You must notify all beneficiaries and family members that a probate case is open with the court. Additionally, you must also provide notice to all estate creditors about the open case.

Third, the personal representative will need to distribute the estate. This involves paying debts and taxes, as well as giving estate funds to beneficiaries. Lastly, the personal representative will need to close the estate. To do this you must file documentation with the court to inform them that creditors have been paid, assets have been distributed, and the court can close the case.

Starting a Probate

If you find yourself in need of starting probate, there are a few different options out there for you. You can use do it yourself forms, engage with an attorney, or hire an Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparer. What direction is most appropriate for you will depend on your circumstances.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and should not in any way be interpreted as legal advice.