small estate affidavitsSmall Estate Affidavits in Arizona

In Arizona, there are several legal avenues you can use to transfer property after someone passes. These include informal and formal probates, as well as small estate affidavits. Small estate affidavits can prove to be a simple low-cost tool when dealing with relatively small estates. In this article, we will go over the basics of using small estate affidavits in Arizona.

Small Estate Affidavit Basics

Small estate affidavits can allow you to transfer property without the probate process. It is cheaper and simpler than an informal probate. However, there is still some court involvement. Any estate is eligible to go this route if the equity in the real property is valued at $100,000 or less and the value of personal property is $75,000 or less. Anything over this amount will require you to file for probate.

To qualify to file a small estate affidavit you must be in the decedent’s will or be in the next living class of beneficiaries if there was no will. There are two types of small estate affidavits-real property and personal property. We will go over the difference between the two below.

Small Estate Affidavit for Real Property

To file a small estate affidavit for real property you must wait six months after the owner of the property has passed. Some people do not want to wait this long and choose to file an informal probate simply to speed up the process. If you do not mind waiting, you need to make sure that the valuation of the property is under $100,000. This valuation is based on the tax assessors value for the current year minus any debts on the property. It is important to note that the tax assessors value and the current market value are two separate items. Current market value is usually notably higher than the tax assessors value. Before you can transfer the property, you must also verify that no estate taxes are due and that all funeral expenses, unsecured debt, and expenses relating to the decedent’s last illness have been paid in full.

The process for filing the affidavit is quite simple. You will file the signed affidavit along with a certified death certificate, original will (if applicable), and a filing fee with the Superior Court in the Arizona county where the property is located. After you receive court approval, you will need to file a certified copy of the affidavit with the county recorder in the same county.

If there is a mortgage on the property, there are additional considerations you should be aware of. Most mortgages have a due on sale clause. This means that the balance of the mortgage becomes payable immediately upon any type of transfer. Due to this, it is best practice to contact the lender before making any transfers. In some cases, a probate may make the refinancing process easier.

Small Estate Affidavit for Personal Property

You can utilize a small estate affidavit for personal property as soon as 30 days after the owner’s passing. To qualify, the total value of all personal property must be under $75,000. You do not file this type of affidavit with the court. Rather it is given to the financial institution in possession of the account or to the MVD. It will need to be accompanied by a certified copy of the death certificate.

Utilizing Small Estate Affidavits

If you feel like one or both affidavits would be useful in your situation you may be wondering what to do next. At Wealth Guardian Legal Documents, we offer small estate affidavit preparation at very competitive pricing. Feel free to contact us by clicking here or schedule an appointment by clicking here.