WHAT IS THE PROBATE PROCESS IN ARIZONA?
WHAT IS PROBATE IN ARIZONA?
In Arizona, if an individual who has died does not have a living trust and has personal property valued at $75,000 or more (after liens and encumbrances) or $100,000 in real property (after liens and encumbrances), then the personal representative of their estate will need to file in probate court in the Superior Court in which the decedent resided. If there is not a will where a personal representative was appointed, then usually an heir of the decedent will act as "petitioner" and file probate.
The person who files a probate petition must give notice to anyone requesting notice who has a financial or property interest in the estate, as well as any personal representative with a valid appointment. The court's filing fee for informal probate is currently $279.
After probate is filed, the Registrar will issue a written statement of informal probate. The applicant for probate then has 30 days to provide written information to all heirs and beneficiaries of admission of the will to probate, along with a copy of the will. The information must include that the heirs and beneficiaries have four months to contest the probate. If the decedent died with a will, they should have a personal representative named. If there is not a will, the probate court will appoint a personal representative (either the applicant for probate; others may be considered if they let the court know they wish to serve as personal representative).
The probate court provides Letters Testamentary to the personal representative, which letters are the official court document the personal representative gives as proof of probate and his or her appointment as personal representative.
Once the probate court chooses the personal representative, the personal representative is authorized to list and sell the real estate, sell vehicles, change title on accounts, and do what is lawful and necessary to administer the estate of the decedent according to their wishes, if known. Personal representatives are entitled to a reasonable fee, but it is not required. The administration of an uncontested estate typically takes about six months to a year depending on the size and complexity of the estate. Contested probates are substantially longer and much more expensive.
If you need help with probate, I charge an hourly rate and would be glad to talk with you.