After the death of a loved one, family members and others are left with the responsibility of closing the affairs of the deceased and finalizing other matters associated with the estate. A major aspect of closing many Arizona estates is probate, which is the legal process of validating a will and taking other steps that will allow the estate to be formally settled and closed. Probate can be lengthy and complicated, and it is helpful to have an understanding of what it requires.
Steps to finalizing affairs of the deceased
The goal of probate is to finalize the affairs of someone who has passed away, and eventually distribute his or her assets to designated heirs. Each estate is unique, but probate often requires some or all of the following steps:
- Filing a death certificate with the probate court, as well as the decedent’s will
- Location, valuation and securing of estate assets
- Notification of creditors and beneficiaries of the estate
- Payment of outstanding debts and filing final tax returns
- Distribution of estate assets according to the will of the deceased
The probate process is overseen by the probate court, as well as a specifically designated individual who will act as the executor. The court may appoint the executor, or the decedent could make this designation in his or her will.
Assistance with probate
Probate can be a complex and overwhelming process. Those with an interest in an Arizona estate, including the executor, beneficiary and a potential beneficiary, may benefit from seeking legal guidance at every step. This assistance may prevent complications and other issues that could add difficulty to the probate process.