A Probate Attorney Can Ensure Your Wishes Are Carried Out
Many of our clients have misconceptions about the probate process. We can provide clarifications and often tell clients:
- Having a will does not automatically ensure that your wishes will be fulfilled. A will goes into probate.
- A power of attorney dies when you die. A will does not go into effect until you die.
- A will cannot be used before death. For example, if you become incapacitated, your will cannot be used as a document to state your medical and financial wishes.
Why Should I Hire a Probate Lawyer?
Probate is a long, expensive court process. Any time the court becomes involved, the potential exists for your wishes not to be followed. Having a will only ensures that your estate will go through probate. There are ways to avoid probate which the attorneys at the Deason Garner Law Firm can explain to you. One option is to create a living trust, wherein you transfer title of your assets to the trust, before you become incapacitated or die. While you are still competent and can handle your affairs, you can manage the assets of the trust. Assets in a living trust do not go into probate upon your death. For small estates (real property valued at or under $100,000 and personal property valued at or under $75,000), beneficiaries can use a small estate affidavit to claim their inheritance.
Arizona Probate Laws
Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone passes away. The process involves proving that the will is valid, taking inventory of property, appraising property, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets as the will (or state law) directs. At Deason Garner Law Firm, we offer answers to common questions about probate. You can also receive more detailed information during a consultation with a probate attorney at our Yuma, AZ, firm.
Is Probate Always Necessary?
In Arizona, not all properties are subject to probate. For instance, real property with right of survivorship, insurance policies with beneficiaries, annuities with beneficiaries, joint bank accounts, and certain property in the name of a trustee are not generally subject to probate. Additionally, real property in Arizona that is assessed at $100,000 or under and personal property worth $75,000 or less are not subject to probate. If you do have property that is subject to probate, your estate goes into probate, whether you have a will or not. With proper planning, most people can avoid having their estate go into probate when they die.
Probate is a court proceeding that takes place upon a person’s death. The court appoints a personal representative to handle the affairs of the estate. The personal representative has many mandatory duties and responsibilities such as: notifying heirs and creditors about the estate; finding, collecting, and taking inventory of the deceased’s assets; paying the last expenses of the deceased; filing the last tax returns; and distributing the remaining assets to heirs.
Usually, a person’s will designates a personal representative. If there is no personal representative designated, the court will appoint a personal representative. The personal representative will then start probate by filing a petition for probate with the court. This petition is a legal proceeding asking the court to review the will to ensure that it is valid.
Probate is a long, expensive court process. Any time the court becomes involved, the potential exists for your wishes not to be followed.
Upon your death, your will is submitted to the court for probate, which is a long, complicated court process. If a family member contests the validity of the will, there may be further complications during the process. The attorneys at the Deason Garner Law Firm do not represent clients for will disputes, but they will guide you through the process of finding counsel to represent you.
With proper estate planning, you may be able to avoid your will going into probate and save your family unnecessary stress and expense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and learn more about your options.
“After researching estate planning, my husband and I contacted Deason Garner & Hansen Law Firm and were pleasantly surprised at the relative ease of setting up a Living Trust. All of the personnel we met at the firm, including but not limited to, Adam and Ashley, went above and beyond their assigned duties to make this happen for us. We feel confident in their expertise in this area and feel that we have made two new friends in Yuma! Thank you!” K. Knight