Probate Document Preparation in Arizona
Losing a loved one is never easy. In addition to the emotional strain and heartache, there are a lot of matters that must be officially settled in the eyes of the law when someone dies. This can add stress to an already distressful time. If your family member dies with an estate they intended to pass on, you may be required to go through the probate process. Probate is the legal process of petitioning for and disbursing the assets of your loved one’s estate. This can be a confusing and frustrating process. Senior Planning is here to help.
Senior Planning can Assist
As legal document preparers in the state of Arizona, Senior Planning can assist with both informal and formal probate. Formal Probate goes through a court hearing while Informal Probate is administered by a registrar rather than a judge. Although we cannot offer legal advice or represent you in court if probate is contested, we are able to do the following:
- Prepare the necessary documents and file for your appointment as a court appointed personal representative.
- Once filed, you will be granted the right to act as personal representative of the deceased’s estate. We will publish notice in the local newspaper of your personal representative status.
- Assist with the discovery and cataloging of all assets of the deceased.
- Assist with the organization and payment of all remaining debts of the decedent. If necessary, we will publish notice regarding any unpaid debts for all interested creditors to come forward.
- Help with filing final tax returns of the deceased and making sure all required taxes are paid.
- Ensure that assets are distributed as dictated by the will. If there is no will, then assets are distributed according to Arizona’s intestate succession law.
Senior Planning’s Process
- We will schedule an initial intake meeting where we will gather all of the necessary information from you to begin a filing.
- We will file for your appointment as personal representative, which is the first step during the probate process. We will prepare all necessary documents. Each situation is unique so the length of time the process takes may vary.
- Once you have been given the right to act as personal representative, we will help catalogue and inventory the estate. After everything is inventoried, the catalogue list will be filed with the court.
- Once the court approves the inventory of the estate, the estate must be distributed. Managing the distribution of the estate is the responsibility of the court appointed representative. If any real property needs to be transferred, we will help with all necessary paperwork.
- We will help file a Closing Statement with the court, which is the final step in the process. After the closing statement is submitted, a judge must make final approval before the case can be considered completely closed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona Probate
How long does Probate typically take?
For uncontested Arizona probate, the process usually takes three to five months if the court appointed representative hires someone to assist them. For those who do not use professional help, the process can take as long as a year due to mistakes and misunderstandings. Also, if probate is filed incorrectly, there is a risk that assets might be lost to the state. Although probate is seemingly straight forward, even small clerical errors can result in extreme delays.
Is Probate Always Necessary For All Situations?
Before determining whether or not a probate is necessary, somebody must make a catalogue of all assets owned at the time of death. This is necessary because you must find out if anything is still titled in the person’s name after death. If the person has no assets or did not have any assets titled to them at time of death, then a probate is not necessary. One exception to this is if notice must be given to the decedent’s creditors to show that their estate is insolvent.
Do I need professional to help me?
It is highly recommended that you use professional help when going through the probate process. However, we cannot give legal advice and everybody should make their own decision. But the process is very complicated. Even minor mistakes can result in extreme delays and potential loss of assets. For example, there are many words that are only used in a probate context and are unfamiliar to the layperson, resulting in unneeded complications when misunderstood.
Will Senior Planning file probate for me?
Senior Planning helps from the initial filing until an estate is closed. We help catalogue the estate, administer the estate, help transfer any deeds, pay final debts, and file the closing statement to close the estate for good. Although we cannot represent you in court, many probate cases are uncontested and do not necessarily need a litigator. If we cannot assist, we will let you know on the first phone call and can refer you to a probate lawyer if desired.