Arizona Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges

Helping Families After the Loss of a Loved One

Our probate team, led by attorney Ryan Hodges, can help you protect your assets and counsel you as to the best way to handle the transfer of assets after a loved one’s passing. You’ve got probate questions, call us today at (480) 467-4365.

How Our Team Can Help You

Hiring an attorney that is dedicated to your case and committed to guiding you though this process will be invaluable. At an already trying time, it is difficult to find the energy to deal with the legal ramifications and processes on your own. An attorney can help alleviate some of the added stress and burden of dealing with the probate of an estate, and ensure the assets are properly distributed.

Call with Your Probate Questions

If you or a loved one are facing probate, or have questions about how your estate would be dealt with in the probate process, contact our team today to schedule your no obligation, free phone consultation with an attorney. To see how we can help with your probate case, call us today at (480) 467-4365.

Meet Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges

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Ryan K. Hodges

Probate Attorney

Ryan Hodges is a Shareholder at JacksonWhite and focuses his practice in the areas of probate, estate and trust administration, and elder law, including long-term care planning and special needs trusts.

Frequently Asked Probate Questions

You should know that every case is a little different, so there is no standard answer to this question. However, Arizona law provides some guidance that will help you prepare for an approximate length of time for probate. When a personal representative is appointed in your probate case, they’re required to send out an official notice to all creditors who may have a claim on the estate. This official notice, known as the Notice to Creditors, allows creditors the chance to assert their rights.

In addition to the notice, the personal representative is required to run an official notice in the local newspaper for three consecutive weeks. Creditors then have a four month period in which they can file a claim, with the claim clock starting when the first newspaper notice is filed. This means that if the personal representative acts very quickly, the process can be done in a little more than four months. In most instances, probate will take more than four months.

Probate is not always required in Arizona, and when it is required is determined by the amount of property being passed. Probate is not required for assets like retirement accounts and life insurance policies that have designated beneficiaries. Beyond that, other items that might otherwise be subject to probate are allowed to pass without probate if they are small enough. Any real property less than $100,000 in value is allowed to pass in this manner. Likewise, if personal property is less than $75,000 in value, it can pass without probate. Amounts larger than those two figures must go through probate.

Unfortunately, simply having a Will in place will not exclude your estate from needing to go through Arizona probate. Will’s have many benefits, including naming a Personal Representative to administer your estate and distribute assets as you have designated, name a guardian for your children, and name a conservator for their assets. Having a valid will place will make the Arizona probate process faster, much less expensive, and will allow you to have greater control over your assets upon your death.

Arizona probate has jurisdiction over specific assets called “probate assets.” The court does not have the jurisdiction nor the power to distribute assets that are not considered “probate assets.” “Probate assets” include property and assets (including intangible assets) that the decedent had an interest in at the time of their death AND did not transferred legally or via contract to another person or entity.

The decedent must have an interest in the asset for it to be counted as a “probate asset.” Even if the decedent gives away rights to an asset the day before their death, the asset can not be included as a “probate asset” unless ownership was not properly transferred.

Property will be transferred according to legal precedence. Any assets held by the decedent on the day of their death will be distributed in three ways:

  1. Operation of law- Assets are transferred automatically by law in certain cases, e.g. joint tenancy, community property with right of survivorship, or real property subject to a beneficiary deed.
  2. Contractual obligations- Certain contracts have an at death clause that names a beneficiary in the event of the contract holder’s death, these contracts include:

Life insurance policies

Retirement plan benefits

Annuities

Trust assets

If the contract does NOT include a beneficiary, then the assets are subject to probate.

  1. Arizona probate assets that are not automatically transferred upon death via operation of law or through a contract will be subject to probate. A.R.S. § 33-431(B) and (C).

Serving Clients Throughout Arizona

Our JacksonWhite Probate team serves clients throughout Arizona who are in need of an experienced and effective Probate Attorney.

Contact Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges

Call (480)467-4365 or fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation and discuss your best legal options.

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