Probate, Estate and Trust Administration

probate imageWhen you suffer a loss in your family, it is an emotional and overwhelming process to try and navigate through what needs to be done. Even if your loved one had a Will in place.

The executor of the Will has to follow up with creditors, file paperwork with the court and round up assets, all while grieving and continuing to live and provide for loved ones.

You don’t have to go through this alone, and you don’t have to research and guess if you’re handling your loved one’s estate properly. I’m here to help.

I work hand-in-hand with the executor (or act as the executor) to ensure that all the final wishes of your loved one are carried out. I let you take care of yourself and your family because I take the legal aspects of your loved one’s passing off your hands and help to ease the burden of this process for you.

Uncontested probate and estate administration services include:

  • Preparing and filing paperwork with the court
  • Helping you through the legal process
  • Explaining the legalities of the process
  • Identifying debts and creditors of the deceased
  • Ensuring all financial considerations are taken care of
  • Contacting beneficiaries, if necessary
  • Overseeing the distribution of estate properties to heirs

Uncontested trust administration services include:

  • Reviewing the trust document
  • Gathering all trust assets
  • Explaining trustee responsibilities
  • Analyzing estate taxes (with assistance from the CPA)
  • Creating sub-trusts
  • Dissolving the trust

The Process

You’ll bring the Will, if there is one, list of assets and debts of your loved one, as well as a list of known creditors to our initial consultation. We’ll discuss your responsibility as executor and I’ll answer any questions you have. Then I’ll prepare any necessary documents for the court, where you’ll be officially appointed as the executor.

The entire probate process can take six months to a year or longer, depending on circumstances. I’m available throughout the entire processes to answer questions and to take care of any court documents. I’ll help you liquidate estate assets, pay debts and creditors, distribute assets to the beneficiaries and eventually close out probate at the end of the process.

 

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Q & A About Probate

What is probate?

In Arizona, probate is a legal proceeding where the liabilities and assets of a deceased person are paid and administered to the beneficiaries. The legal definition, by Arizona law, can be found in A.R.S. § 1403101.

What is considered a valid Will under Arizona Probate law?

A valid Will must be in writing, signed by the deceased (or his/her designee) and signed by at least two other people within a reasonable timeframe. Find more information about what constitutes a valid Will at A.R.S. § 14-2502.

My loved one had a Last Will and Testament. Can we avoid probate?

Unfortunately, having a Will does not, in itself, help to avoid probate in the state of Arizona.

When is probate in Arizona necessary?

In Arizona, probate is based off the value of the deceased’s probate estate. If the deceased had more than $75,000 of personal property (cars, bank accounts, etc.) or $100,000 of equity in property, probate is necessary. These amounts must be for probate assets.

What are probate assets?

Probate assets are property the deceased owned that did not automatically transfer to someone else upon his or her death. These properties include accounts or property owned by the deceased individually and life insurance or retirement accounts with no living beneficiary.

What are examples of non-probate assets?

Assets that would not qualify as probate assets include jointly owned bank accounts, jointly owned real property and accounts with living beneficiaries.

What if the deceased owned property in another state?
Each state has laws that dictate when probate is necessary. If the deceased owned property in another state that qualifies the individual for probate in that state, you need to file in that state, even if you do not have to file probate in Arizona.