How Does the Estate Probate Process Work in Chandler, Arizona?
What happens when an estate goes into probate in Chandler, Arizona? Learn more about the estate probate process, including how to find an probate attorney.
It can be challenging to think of a time when you won't be with your loved ones, but preparing for life after you've passed is important. Even so, around 67% of people don't have a will or trust in place. The distribution of their assets after their death will get handled by their loved ones or even the state at a probate court.
The estate probate process in Arizona varies depending on the size of the estate. Even if you've planned and have a trust or will, your loved ones might still have to navigate probate court after you pass away. It is important to work with an experienced probate attorney that know Arizona probate laws and the Arizona probate process to handle estate assets and estate administration.
If you've recently lost a loved one, you might be curious about how the estate probate process works. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about probate in Arizona and why you should partner with an probate lawyer.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding that usually takes place in a courtroom. This process will authenticate the will of a deceased person. It also approves the person that was named executor or personal representative so they can distribute the belongings and property of the person that passed away.
The assets will be located and assessed during the probate process. Once their total value has been determined, the debts and taxes of the individual will be paid. The remainder of the estate will be distributed.
The process can be a supervised probate, where court appearance is necessary, or an informal probate, where the clerk of the court represents the probate court and not court hearings are necessary. If you leave in Chandler, AZ your probate will be done by the Maricopa county court.
What Are the Types of Probate in Arizona?
Arizona has two types of probate proceedings. They are:
Informal probate proceedings take less time than formal ones. You don't have to appear in front of a judge with an informal proceeding.
These types of probate proceedings are usually used when all parts involved are in agreement. Another key aspect of these proceedings is that there isn't any dispute between the heirs.
A formal probate proceeding occurs when the heirs of an estate are fighting about the assets. Other features of these proceedings include:
- Presence of a judge
- Longer timeframe
- Higher cost
The goal of either type of probate proceeding is to distribute the deceased person's assets (personal property and real property) by Arizona probate law.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
Arizona requires a probate proceeding unless the deceased person has a trust or another instrument to avoid probate, like a beneficiary deed. Keep in mind that there's an exception to this rule. As we mentioned earlier, the probate proceeding is not necessary if the estate value is less than $75,000.
You can avoid your loved ones going through probate by carefully planning and having estate planning documents in order. Living trusts can help your heirs not have to go through probate since their property has been transferred to their trust.
Filing a Petition
The first step in probating an estate is filing a "Petition to Administer the Decedent's Estate." You can file this petition with the superior court in the county where the decedent lived at the time of their death. You need to ensure that you include the following information in the petition:
- The addresses and names of the heirs
- A list of the decedent's liabilities and assets
The court will assign someone to be the administrator or executor of the assets. They'll oversee the entire process. Chandler is located at the Maricopa county and probate cases usually get court approval in a few days.
All interested parties need to be notified that you are getting ready to probate an estate. The following organizations and individuals will need to be notified:
- Other interested parties
The notice has to include details about when and where the probate hearings are taking place if it is a supervised probate (formal) to comply with Arizona law. Any part can request supervised probate if they think an informal probate is not applicable. A hearing with the probate court will have to be scheduled them.
The executor will have to gather and value the assets in the estate. This can include starting a bank account that's in the name of the estate.
It can also include paying outstanding debts. Once the assets have been compiled, they'll get distributed. Remaining property, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other assets will be distributed after potential creditors are paid.
This process can be completed quickly if there aren't any disagreements, as we mentioned earlier. If there are arguments at this point, then the probate process might have to transition to a formal hearing.
All of the steps leading up to the hearing for a formal probate proceeding are similar to an informal one. The main difference is the judge will determine how the assets get distributed.
A closing statement will them be submitted to the probate court and the case will be closed.
How Long Does the Probate Process Take?
You can expect the probate process to take anywhere from six months to a couple of years in Arizona. There are a few factors that can affect the timeframe, including:
- The size of the assets and property
- If there are disputes among the heirs
- How experienced is the law firm you hired
The probate process in Arizona can go fairly quickly if it's a small estate with no contested claims. The process can take much longer if there are any issues.
What Happens if I Pass Away Without a Will in Arizona?
Your assets will get distributed according to Arizona's intestacy laws if you die without a will or trust. Intestate succession refers to the order in which your heirs will inherit your belongings or property.
The statutes surrounding this topic state that:
- Your spouse will inherit your estate if you don't have any living descendants
- Your spouse will inherit 50% of your estate if you have descendants from a previous married or another bloodline
- Your descendants will evenly split the remainder of your estate
- Your estate will get equally divided among your descendants if you're not married
- Your parents will receive your estate if you don't have any descendants
- Your siblings will get your assets if you don't have parents
- Your grandparents will get your estate if you don't have siblings
- The state will receive your estate if you don't have grandparents
Learn More About the Estate Probate Process
The estate probate process in Arizona can be lengthy and confusing. This is especially true if there are issues between the heirs of an estate.
That's why partnering with a probate attorney is essential. They can guide you through the process and provide you with expert legal advice.
Citadel Law Firm is here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.
Call (480)565-8020 or click here to schedule your free consultation.