When you're stressed from losing a loved-one, we're here to help.
Don’t let the probate process stress you out — get help from the experienced probate law team at JacksonWhite Law. Read below to learn more about formal probate in Arizona and how we can help guide you through the process.
What is Probate?
Probate is the official process by which the assets and belongings of a deceased person are legally distributed amongst their heirs and beneficiaries. Most estates go through a process referred to as informal probate, where there is no contesting of the will, and the court simply assists in the transfer of assets.
Usually, the will and estate planning documents that the deceased created set forth a distribution plan for the assets. Smaller assets, such as furniture and jewelry, can be transferred to the beneficiaries. However, larger assets such as a home or savings account cannot be transferred with a will. These larger assets often require probate.
If an heir believes that the will is false or that an incorrect version is being used, they have the right to contest the will’s validity. When this occurs, the estate is sent to formal probate, where a judge steps in to determine the validity of the will.
Formal Probate in Arizona
When a person dies without a will in place or the will is being contested, their estate is sent to formal probate, where a judge will oversee the matter. When the estate is brought into formal probate, the parties contesting the will have the opportunity to argue in court that the will is invalid.
To do this, the beneficiaries, with their attorneys, must offer evidence and testimony to support their claim that the will is invalid. Structural inconsistencies such as an incorrect or missing signature are easy to prove. But, proving the deceased was mentally incapable or faced undue influence while drafting the will is much harder to prove. These hearings require expert testimony from witnesses such as doctors and psychologists.
Formal Probate Process in Arizona
The probate process in Arizona is as follows:
- A family member, friend, or even an attorney is appointed as the administrator of the will, in the will, they will be referred to as the executor.
- The will must be validated by a probate court. This will be done by checking the dates, signatures as well as legitimacy of the notaries.
- The deceased’s property will be itemized and inventoried to ensure nothing is stolen.
- Properties and assets will be appraised.
- All debts or taxes held by the deceased will be paid off by the selling of assets or property.
- Once all debts/taxes have been paid off, the remaining assets will be distributed according to the will(if there is one) or according to Arizona law.
While all forms of probate follow the same process, step two takes much longer during formal probate. Due to this, formal probate may take anywhere from a few months to a year to complete.
Get Help With Formal Probate in Arizona
Hiring an attorney who is dedicated to your case and committed to guiding you through the probate process is invaluable. Arizona Probate attorney Ryan Hodges is here to alleviate some of the added stress and burden of dealing with the probate of an estate, and he will ensure the assets of the estate are properly distributed.
Call Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges at (480) 467-4365 to discuss your case today.