Probate Services

Learn About Arizona Probate

Learn about the probate process in Arizona.

If you are an Arizona resident who recently lost a loved one in your family, we understand that the probate process can be overwhelming for you, especially if it is the first time you’re going through the process. And you may be wondering what the probate process is like, how it works, and how long it takes. We will walk you through the timelines, probate court documents, and other specifics of probate proceedings in Arizona. 

What assets are subject to Arizona probate?

When a person dies with a will in Arizona, unless his assets are placed under a living trust or designated beneficiaries, personal property worth more than $75 000 or real estate property valued over $100 000 must go through probate. Estates worth less than that amount can be distributed among the beneficiaries without probate. These are known as small estates.  Beneficiaries can simply fill out a Small Estate Affidavit form and submit it to the probate court along with a copy of the will and list of assets.

The probate court used will be in the county court where the deceased person resided at the time of their death or where their estate was located if they lived in another state. The purpose of filing probate is to let the court disperse the assets of a deceased person to his or her beneficiaries according to state law. The estate includes both real estate property and other personal property of the deceased. However, jointly owned assets, insurance policies with listed beneficiaries, and bank accounts with a transfer on death are not included in the probate estate. In Arizona, life insurance policies and retirement accounts with benefits are excluded from probate. Arizona Code 14-3108 requires probates to be filed within 2 years of a person’s death. The executor of an estate or the personal representative can file probate. The two-year time period can be extended if there are minor children of the deceased. In the event an executor or PR fails to file probate within 2 years, any interested party may invoke the jurisdiction of the probate court for an extension. Keep in mind, extension of the probate time period can incur additional costs and delays. The probate proceedings can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. If the probate is contested and the size of the estate is large the probate process can be more complex and time-consuming. If there are no disputes or contests between the beneficiaries, the probate process can be fairly short and can wrap up in 5-6 months. Usually, where the value of the estate is below the threshold and nobody contests the executor’s actions, probate will take the form of informal probate proceedings. In Arizona, most probate cases are informal probates. When the estate exceeds the threshold value or there are disputed claims, formal probate proceedings are taken. When last will is lost or cannot be found, case proceeds as a formal probate.

Probate Requirements and How to File

What are the requirements for filing probate?

The executor of an estate or PR of a deceased is responsible for filing paperwork with the probate court. They are also obliged to prepare an inventory of assets and liabilities, file the final tax return, settle the deceased’s outstanding bills and taxes, and finally distribute the remaining assets among the deceased’s heirs. Paperwork in probate cases requires a high degree of oversight and must be prepared in a manner that is acceptable to the court.

Who can file a probate?

If a person is named as a personal representative by will, he is eligible to open probate. A person over 18 years of age related to the deceased in one of the following ways or who has a legal interest in or is entitled to the deceased’s estate is deemed an appropriate person to be a personal representative of a deceased person.

  • The surviving spouse
  • Adult child of the deceased
  • Parent of the deceased
  • Sibling of the deceased
  • Creditor after 45 days have passed since the deceased’s death
  • Personal representatives

Personal representatives who are not state-licensed fiduciaries must complete a court-approved training course to be eligible to receive letters of appointment as a personal representative.

What are probate court documents in Arizona?

Arizona Probate courts have county-specific forms and detailed documents that must be filed to open probate cases. When you’re ready to petition the court to be appointed as personal representative, the following probate forms among others need to be filed along with a probate information cover sheet.

  • Informal checklist
  • Application for appointment as personal representative (original and copy)
  • Deceased’s Last Will and testament with any Codicils (Original)
  • Notice of application and proof delivery of the notice of application to interested parties (original and copy)
  • Declaration by Affidavit as proof of the first weekly publication in a local newspaper (original and copy)
  • Statement of informal appointment (original and copy)
  • Letters and acceptance of appointment
  • Order to personal representative
  • Certificate of completion of court-approved training
  • Waiver of right to appointment and Consent forms (if beneficiaries or any interested parties are not contesting the probate case)
  • Waiver of bond to be sent to interested parties (original and copy)
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • Inventory of deceased’s estate assets
  • An affidavit listing out any liabilities to creditors

After the probate petition is filed, the court will issue a general order appointing the petitioner as the executor and Letters Testamentary giving legal authority to act on the estate’s behalf. Executer then files an account of income and expenses of the estate. After court hearing, the court will determine the final decision on the manner assets must be distributed.

A probate petition is the most important document that needs to be filed in a probate case. It needs to be notarized and signed. To be eligible for filing probate one must be named in the last will as executor or PR. Petition generally contains the name of the executor named in the will or successor to the executor in the event the executor is dead, the date of the last will, names of attesting witnesses, names and residence of the distributes and their relationship to the deceased, and the value of the estate. A licensed legal document preparer can assist you in preparing probate petitions and other required probate forms.

It is not essential to have a Probate attorney to file for Arizona probate. Our document preparer team can provide you with professional document services to open your probate case in Arizona. Call us for a free consultation today. We’ll navigate you through a smoother probate process fast and easy, personalized to your case. Call us at 888.362.0036 to schedule a free consultation.