Arizona Wills: Do All My Assets Have to Go Through Probate?
By Zachary Mushkatel on March 27, 2013
If you pass away with a valid will in Arizona, the probate court will handle tasks like appointing your chosen personal representative and overseeing the administration of your estate as your personal representative follows the instructions in your will.
The probate court handles the assets that your will distributes, but not all of your assets have to go through your will and thus through probate. Arizona law recognizes several different types of “non-probate” assets, which can transfer to another person or organization after your death without first going through the probate process.
Some of the most common types of non-probate assets include:
- Jointly-owned assets: Bank accounts and other assets owned jointly by you and another person may transfer to that person’s ownership automatically on your death, and vice versa. It’s important, however, to ensure that any assets you own jointly fall into this category.
- Beneficiary designations: Many assets, like bank accounts, life insurance policies, and some retirement plans, designate a “beneficiary” to receive the assets outright when the owner passes away. Often, these assets do not have to go through probate for the beneficiary to receive them.
- Trusts: A trust holds property for the benefit of one or more other people or organizations. Trusts are another way to transfer property that may not require the intervention of a court.
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, an experienced Phoenix estate planning lawyer can help you prepare an estate plan that fulfills your wishes and takes care of those you love most. For a confidential consultation, call us today at (623) 889-0691.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.