If you are a resident of Arizona, then there are several things that you can do to avoid probate. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common methods used to avoid probate in Arizona. We will also provide information on how to set up a trust, and what happens if you don’t take any action to avoid probate.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process of sorting out a person’s financial and legal affairs after they die. It typically involves filing paperwork with the court, collecting assets, paying debts and taxes, distributing assets to heirs as designated in a will (or according to state law if there isn’t one), and then closing out the estate. This process can take anywhere from six months to multiple years, depending on the complexity of the estate.
How To Avoid Probate In Arizona
1. Establish A Living Trust
A living trust is an agreement between you (or another individual) and a trustee that sets out how your property and assets are to be managed while you are still alive. The trustee is responsible for managing the trust assets and distributing them according to your wishes. By setting up a living trust, you can avoid probate entirely since your assets will already be distributed as specified in the trust agreement.
2. Transfer Assets To Beneficiaries
You may also be able to avoid probate by transferring ownership of your assets to beneficiaries before you pass away. This typically involves signing a deed or other legal document transferring the title of the property or asset to the designated beneficiary.
3. Payable-On-Death (POD) Accounts
You can also use payable-on-death accounts as another way to avoid probate in Arizona. With these accounts, you can designate a beneficiary to receive the funds in the account after your death without having to go through probate court.
4. Joint Ownership With Right Of Survivorship
You can also transfer ownership of assets to another person with right of survivorship. This means that the other party will have the right to take over full ownership of the asset after your death without the need to go through probate.
5. Simplified Probate Procedures
Arizona also has a simplified probate procedure that can be used if the estate is small and all of the required paperwork can be completed without hiring an attorney. This process typically takes less time than regular probate and can save you money in legal fees.
6. Provision For Smaller Estates
If the value of your estate does not exceed a certain amount (which can vary depending on your state), then you may be able to avoid probate entirely.
What Happens If You Don’t Take Action To Avoid Probate?
If you don’t take any action to avoid probate, then your assets will be subject to the probate process. This means that a court-appointed representative will be responsible for sorting out your affairs, collecting any assets, distributing them according to your will or state law, paying taxes and debts, and closing out the estate. Depending on the complexity of your assets and their value, this process can take anywhere from several months to multiple years.
By taking the steps listed above, you can avoid probate in Arizona and have peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be taken care of in the way that you desire when you pass away. Remember to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney before making any decisions as they will be able to provide advice tailored to your individual situation.
Good luck with your estate planning journey!
Are You Looking For A Probate Attorney You Can Trust?
The attorneys at GillespieShields are well-versed in various legal fields, ranging from probate cases to civil suits, employment disputes and family law. Our estate planning and probate law attorneys have 27 years of experience in estate planning and probate law. We believe in working with clients to resolve their reasonable legal goals. We pay close attention to detail and take the time to listen to our clients’ needs. People often do not take the time or make the effort to plan for disability and death. Many of the issues that arise can be avoided, or at least managed, with a bit of time and effort. Successful estate planning requires not only the knowledge and experience of an attorney but also work on the client’s part—especially when it comes to funding trusts and maintaining the designations of beneficiaries. We believe our clients deserve personal attention and estate plans customized to their finances, family situation, and preferences.
We also have ample experience handling matters of probate. Probate litigation processes can become lengthy and unpleasant, so hiring an experienced attorney who can handle such matters gracefully and with skill is necessary. At GillespieShields, we believe that a nuanced understanding of probate law can make all the difference in a difficult case. Contact us today for your consultation!
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