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Do you need to probate your loved one's estate?

Your loved one died. You are mourning his or her loss, stressed about making funeral arrangements and trying to figure out how to close out his or her estate. There is a lot on your plate and the last thing you want to do is go through the probate process. Did you know, that under the right circumstances, going through probate in Arizona may not be necessary?

At the end of the day, probate does serve a valuable purpose. It is a way to make sure an estate is distributed appropriately and that any concerns with the estate get addressed. Even so, there are two reasons why you can avoid this process completely -- making the closing of the estate much easier on you and your family.

Reason number one: Small estate

Probate is often only necessary for complex estates. Small estates, those with modest assets and few if any debts that need clearing may be closed without going through probate. You may wonder how to figure out if an estate qualifies as a small estate here in Arizona. Here is what you need to do in order to find out:

  • Determine the total value of all property.
  • Subtract the value of any property that doesn't need to go through probate.
  • Compare the resulting value to the Arizona small estate threshold.

Therefore, any estate with assets valuing less than the statutory threshold amount may qualify for the small estate exemption -- meaning beneficiaries may skip probate.

Reason number two: Property transfer can occur outside of probate

Even if the value of an estate is above the small estate threshold, not all property requires transfer to beneficiaries through the probate process. Assets that can skip distribution through probate include co-owned property, property that has a designated beneficiary assigned to it and assets placed in a trust.

Not sure where you stand?

If you are not sure where you stand and if you loved one's estate requires probate, it is okay to ask questions. It is better to seek information than go through any unnecessary legal processes. An experienced probate attorney can help you by reviewing the details of the estate in order to determine if probate is required. If it is, you may receive further assistance in getting through the process as swiftly as possible and without error.

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10505 N. 69th Street, Suite 1400
Scottsdale, AZ 85253

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