Understanding the Probate Process in Arizona
By Zachary Mushkatel on March 25, 2013
Arizona uses a process called “probate” both to carry out the instructions in a deceased person’s will and to deal with an estate left by a person who died without a will (known as dying “intestate”). The probate process is carried out in probate court.
Probate begins when a petition to open the estate is filed in probate court. Usually, this petition is filed by the person named as “personal representative” in the will, or a person who seeks to be named personal representative. If a petition is not filed within 45 days of death, any of the deceased person’s creditors may file a petition to open the probate estate.
One of the first steps the court takes is to make sure the will is valid under Arizona law. Arizona has several specific rules to establish the validity of a will. If the will is in order, the probate court will generally appoint the personal representative and issue legal documents known as “Letters” that give the personal representative the authority to carry out the instructions in the will, pay the estate’s remaining debts, and wrap up the affairs of the estate.
Although probate can go forward without a will, the process is easier with one, and it also gives you an opportunity to specify what you want done with your property and who should be your personal representative when you are gone. At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, our skilled Arizona estate attorneys can help you create an estate plan that will fulfill your final wishes and take care of those you love. Contact us today by calling (623) 889-0691 for a free, confidential consultation.
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.