Probate Law & Process in Chandler, Arizona
Discover what the probate law and process in Chandler, Arizona entails.
It is estimated that only 44% of Americans have a will. This number has been in gradual decline, meaning courts are often left to decide where the assets of a deceased person go. But do you know how this process works? What is the Probate process in Chandler, Arizona?
In Arizona, probate law can work differently from other states. Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about probate law.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of a person that passed away, with or without a will. The process involves several sections, including determining the assets of the deceased, paying outstanding bills and taxes along with the distribution of the estate. All of this is overseen by a probate court. In Chandler, Arizona the Maricopa Court is the one that oversee probate processes.
Is Probate Required in Arizona?
Probate is necessary unless the deceased has a probate avoidance instrument in place (either by listing the beneficiaries for all assets or a properly funded trust). An estate planning attorney will have put this in place if they contacted one before their death.
The only exception to this rule is with small estates. These are any estate that has personal property valued at under $75,000 and real property under $100,000. You can read more about that in this blog article.
For a small estate affidavit an affidavit must be presented to the court by the family. The court will then grant the transfer of the property to the beneficiaries. Any joint tenancy properties will have the ownership transferred to the surviving partner.
What Is the Probate Process in Arizona?
The probate process below will begin if a person dies and has not already arranged some form of estate planning. Depending on the circumstances, the steps below will be followed.
The lawyer helping the family will file a series of documents to get the Personal Representative appointed. They will also request the court legally name them the executor of the estate. If there is a Last Will and Testament it will be filled at this step for the court to analyse it.
2. Court Approval
This is where the court approves the start of probate proceedings. They will validate the will if there is one and then appoint the executor or personal representative.
The executor will publish a notice that probate is being filed. They will need to send this notice to all creditors and wait a specific amount of time so all creditors can submit their claims.
4. Asset Dissolution and Distribution
Executors will begin collecting assets, and inventorying them. They will also have to pay any outstanding bills. After all creditors are paid the PR or executor will analyze to distribute assets according the will or according to Arizona Law.
Once the distribution of assets is complete and debts paid, the executor has two options. They can either file a closing statement during informal proceedings or a petition to the court during formal proceedings. The Chandler Probate Lawyers of Citadel Law Firm will help you every step of the way.
What Are the Types of Probate Proceedings?
Probate proceedings can follow three main paths in Chandler, Arizona. All options are on public record. This means that anyone can view them by visiting the court or going online.
Probate process are public, not even an estate planning lawyer can make their private. For the process to not be public a Trust should have been create to avoid probate.
This is a type of probate where a will is in place or is not in place and there is no disagreement between heirs or beneficiaries. It does not usually require any court hearings.
This occurs when there is a disagreement. It may be about the heirs and who will get certain assets, or could be about who becomes appointed as executor.
Supervised probate happens when the interests of any involved parties need protection. The personal representative must get court permission before taking any action. Anyone that has a personal interest may request supervised probate. That is usually the case if a minor is involved in the process and the minor is a beneficiary of the estate.
What Assets Are Subject to Probate?
Most assets of value are subject to the probate process in Chandler, Arizona. They can be broadly grouped into four categories.
As well as the items below, under Arizona law smaller items may also go through the probate process. Household items deemed too small to place in a will such as clothing, appliances, and jewelry may fall under this umbrella.
These include any asset that has a title to denote ownership. Real estate, and vehicles are prime examples. The assets may be owned solely by the decedent or by other individuals.
This includes any assets of value. Antiques, artwork, jewelry, clothing, and collectibles would fall under this.
Any financial assets will come under probate. This includes money in bank accounts, stocks, and shares, ownerships in businesses, and other securities. The financial assets sometimes have beneficiaries assign to it. If a beneficiary is assigned to it the asset will not be part of the probate process.
Community property is joint-owned, such as property bought in a marriage partnership. In this case, half of the ownership assets are subject to probate unless they are jointly owned by the deceased and their surviving partner.
Does an Executor Get Paid and Compensated in Arizona?
Arizona probate law states that an executor or personal representative should get compensation. When they get appointed by the court, any terms for compensation must be stated. It will be up to the court to determine a reasonable amount which they shall receive.
Each case is decided on an individual basis, taking into account the complexity of the estate. Any professional hired to do the job is usually paid a flat hourly rate.
How Long After Death Can Probate Be Filed?
Probate must get filed within two years of a person's death. There are only a few exceptions to this. It may include the timeline for contesting a will for example.
It will always be filed in the county court the person died in. Should the person have lived in another state, it will take place in the county of their main residence.
Getting Assistance With Probate Process and Law in Chandler, AZ
Now you know the basics of probate process and law in Chandler, Arizona, make sure you decide if you want to put a probate avoidance estate planning in place. This will prevent your assets from going into probate after you pass. If you are in the process of organizing a deceased person's assets, an estate lawyer will be able to navigate this for you.
Citadel Law Firm should be your first stop. We offer estate planning, probate and living trust services in the Phoenix East Valley. Contact us here and let us help with your estate planning. Call (480)565-8020 or click here to schedule your free consultation.