Probate Lawyers in Chandler: What You Need To Know
Are you looking for probate lawyers in Chandler, Arizona? You can read about some important facts regarding these professionals, here.
If you recently lost a loved one, the process of passing on their estate may feel daunting. Unfortunately, navigating probate laws can be complicated and drag on for months or years.
The last thing you want to do is create a mess and waste your time.
The best idea is to consult a probate lawyer in Chandler. While there are a few lawyers who can handle your case, picking the right one can be challenging.
With this in mind, please read our guide to learn everything you need to know about finding the probate lawyers in Chandler.
Probate is a court process that comes after a person passes away. The court process intends to authenticate a will that the person made before they died or administer an estate according to Arizona law, if no Will was existed.
If the deceased did have a will, an executor would get named in the will. The probate court must approve the executor so they can begin distributing assets according to the directions in the will.
An important requirement of probate is that all assets get accounted for and have a value placed on them. Probate looks at the value of the assets, collects taxes, and ensures all debts get paid as needed.
After taxes and debts get accounted for, probate will give the okay to begin distributing the assets to beneficiaries by the executor.
The importance of having a Last Will and Testament is usually overrated. If a person doesn't have a will, there is no legal documentation stating their intent for their assets and belongings. Following Arizona law sometimes makes the probate process easier to manage.
With a will or any estate planning to give direction, the probate must make those decisions on behalf of the deceased. Often their loved ones will have little input if this happens.
What Is the Probate Process?
The probate process is quite similar to whether you have a will or not after probate determines if there's a will. If there's a will, the executor gets verified.
If there's no will, probate will appoint a Personal Representative to oversee the process of handling the deceased's affairs.
After that's determined, the process is pretty similar.
The first step is to notify the court of the death and produce the death certificate for probate. This can get done by either your executor or the probate lawyer.
Then the will gets verified by the court to ensure it's authentic.
Then the appointee gets named by probate to handle the estate. If there's a will, this person is almost always the executor. If there isn't a will, then the court appoints the Personal Representative.
The court may ask for a bond to get posted to protect the probate against potential errors. This can often be avoided if the executor is also named as the beneficiary and all the beneficiaries wave the necessity of a bond.
The next task is likely the most challenging, especially if good planning wasn't done before death. The executor or Personal Representative must communicate with any creditors and inform them of the intent to use any estate assets to settle debts.
Then all assets and property of the deceased must be accounted for and a value placed on those items. They will be used to pay off any debts for the estate.
Once funeral expenses get paid, then assets get used to pay debts. Once that's complete, then assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries.
When Is Probate Necessary?
Probate is unavoidable when an estate planning strategy has not been done. If there's no will in place, and the estate have a minimum amount of assets, then the estate must go through probate. To understand better if an estate needs to be probated read our article "Probate Law and Process in Arizona", click here.
If careful estate planning is in place, probate becomes much more straightforward and can sometimes be avoided altogether.
Creating a living trust for your assets can help probate be avoided for your loved ones.
What Goes Through the Probate Process?
If there's no will, everything must go through probate for the deceased.
There are a few situations that will require probate. If a beneficiary is named and passes away before the deceased in question, the assets named will go through probate.
Also going through probate are:
- Non-titled property
- Partner-owned investment property
- Sole ownership property
Each of these scenarios will have specific rules for probate. Because there are so many specific rules, it's always a good idea to use a probate attorney to guide you through the process.
What Can Avoid Probate?
There are some ways to avoid the probate process. These would include:
- Assets or property that have a beneficiary named
- Any items placed into a living trust, either a revocable living Trust or a irrevocable living trust
- Assets or property named with payable on death or transfer on death
There might also be a situation where jointly titled property with survivor rights can avoid probate.
How to Avoid Probate
Probate can be a long and expensive process if the deceased has not planned well.
It's important to have a proper estate planning in place to avoid probate, and you can avoid much of probate by establishing a living trust and transferring your assets to the trust.
You can opt to give some things away before death, but that will have tax implications as well.
It also helps to have things titled jointly and named payable on death or transferred on death.
Why Do You Need a Chandler Probate Lawyer?
A probate attorney may be able to expedite the probate process. You want to move it along to avoid extensive expenses.
Before you ever get to the point of facing probate, you should meet with an estate planning attorney to help you create an estate plan. If you have extensive assets, your attorney can advise you about creating a living trust to help avoid probate. If you have a blended family or assets over $2 million a Dynasty trust may also be a good option for you.
Get the Help You Need from Probate Lawyers in Chandler, Arizona
If you're dealing with the death of a loved one, going through probate can feel overwhelming and daunting. Get help from probate lawyers in Arizona who know the state laws and understand the process.
If you're looking for probate lawyers in Chandler, Citadel Law Firm will be pleased to help. Let us help guide you through the probate process. Contact us today so we can get started working on your behalf. Call (480)565-8020 or click here to schedule your free consultation.