Testate vs. Intestate EstateTestate vs. Intestate Estate

A testate vs. intestate estate have very different procedural requirements. The exact steps you will need to take will depend on what type of estate you are dealing with. In this article, we will go over what is involved in probating testate vs. intestate estates.

Defining Terms

To summarize, a testate estate is the estate of a person who dies with a Last Will and Testament. On the other hand, an intestate estate is an estate for someone who dies without a Last Will and Testament. In the State of Arizona, these types of estates involve different processing.

Testate Estates

If you are dealing with a testate estate, you must divide assets according to the instructions in the Will. However, to have the authority to do so, you must file a series of papers with the court. This process is known as probate. As part of this, you must submit an original copy of the Will for the court to approve. Additionally, with a testate estate, if you are the personal representative in the Will, you can file court paperwork without the authorization of any of the beneficiaries.

Intestate Estate

Handling an intestate estate is more complex than handling a testate one. With an intestate estate who receives the funds and who can serve as the personal representative are based on state laws of intestate succession. In Arizona, the order of priority is spouse, children, parents, then siblings. If there are multiple individuals in a class of beneficiaries, all must agree and sign paperwork to nominate one person to act on their behalf. The appointed individual will have to file a series of documents with the court to receive approval to transact business on the behalf of the estate. This individual will be responsible for distributing estate assets equally to all beneficiaries.

Moving Forward

Whether you are dealing with a testate vs. intestate estate in Arizona, you will need to file a probate case with the court. If you are unsure how to proceed, there are many forms of assistance to help guide you through the process. If you would like to learn more, please contact our office for a free consultation.