Probate law has to do with the handling of an estate when someone, such as a family member or other loved one, passes away. These are the laws that make sure that the creditors are paid properly and that assets are distributed to the beneficiaries, also known as heirs, of the decedent.
If you are currently in a situation where you’ll be dealing with the Arizona state court system in relation to a probate or estate related matter, or if you think that you will be in this kind of situation in the near future, it is important that you hire an attorney that is familiar with Arizona probate law.
"Probate" is a court proceeding in which final debts are settled and legal title to property is formally passed from the deceased person or "decedent" to his heirs. If a person dies "intestate," meaning "without a will," state law determines how to distribute his property.
If the decedent prepared a will, the court will review the will to see whether it is authentic and adheres to Arizona state law. The courts will also make sure that all debts are settled, and that all taxes are paid. Once the will is validated and the personal representative (also known as the executor / executrix) can verify to the courts that all claims have been paid, then the personal representative is free to pay out the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries as described in the will.
What are the duties of a Personal Representative?
Generally the duties include:
- Obey Court orders
- Locate and collect the estate assets
- Pay the just debts of the estate, including taxes
- Deal in good faith with estate beneficiaries and account to them
- Distribute the estate assets as called for in the Will or otherwise by law
Typically, an uncontested probate process takes from six months to a year. Heirs will not get their inheritance until the process is complete. Our firm can assist with filing the necessary court documents to probate the will of a family member or loved one.
If you’ve found yourself having to deal with probate in Arizona, you’ll want to make sure that you know the importance of understanding how the procedure works. If you don’t have experience in legal matters, and especially if you have never dealt with the Arizona probate process, you will need to seek professional legal advice. Attorneys can help you make your way through the probate process and assure that all distributions from the estate are made in a timely and cost effective manner.
McCarville Law Offices, PLC can advise you about the best ways to avoid or resolve probate disputes involving:
- Will contests
- Disagreement as to the interpretation of particular terms of a will
- Gift transfers prior to death
- Questions as to transfers made under a power of attorney
- Uncertainty as to title of an asset in a trust or an estate
- Ownership of bank accounts
- Asset valuation issues
- Third-party litigation involving creditors or business associates
- Negligence or incompetence of a fiduciary
- Risk of a surcharge of the Personal Representative
- Issues of undue influence or incapacity
We represent heirs, beneficiaries and personal representatives in Arizona estate litigation. If you anticipate a problem with the administration of a decedent's estate in your family, or would simply like to lighten your burden by ensuring that the estate is handled properly, our attorneys can assist you with these matters.