Law Office of Christopher W. Caine.

What Factors Generally Cause Probate To Happen?


Probate is not always necessary in Arizona when a person dies. When a person dies in Arizona without a Will (Intestate) a probate is necessary to transfer the assets of the estate to the heirs. When a person dies in Arizona with a Will (Testate) a probate is necessary for the same reason, to transfer the assets of the estate to the devisees.

Probate is also necessary in Arizona to allow creditors to bring their claims against the deceased (known as a decedent) person’s estate. The Personal Representative publishes a Notice to Creditors in the newspaper for four months to notify creditors of the decedent’s death. The creditors then have those four months to assert their claims against the estate. Once claims are asserted against the estate by the creditors, the Personal Representative determines whether the claims will be paid or dismissed. If a creditor does not bring a claim forward during the four month period, Arizona law prevents the creditor from bringing the claim forward in the future.

How Can Someone Avoid Probate In Arizona?

Normally, there are 3 ways to avoid probate in Arizona. The first way is a Trust. Trusts are not subject to probate. The second way is to title property as Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship. Titling property this way means that when one of the Joint Tenants dies the surviving Joint Tenant owns the entire property by operation of Arizona law. The third way is to title accounts as beneficiary designation accounts. 401(k)’s, IRA’s and Life Insurance are common examples of beneficiary designation accounts.

Why Is It Recommended For People To Try And Avoid Probate?

Probate is a time consuming process under Arizona law. An uncomplicated informal Arizona probate will generally require five to six months to complete. The reason for the five to six month time frame is because the Personal Representative must publish a Notice to Creditors in the newspaper, see above. The Notice has to be published for four months. Complicated probates and formal probates can take longer. In the extreme, if the Will is contested and trial is necessary, a formal probate could take two years, maybe longer.

Another reason for people to try and avoid the probate process is because the process is public. All of the documents related to the probate are available at the courthouse in the county in which the probate is filed.

For more information on The Probate Process In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (520) 360-4292 today.

Chris Caine, Esq.

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(520) 389-5634

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