The death of a loved one is often a complex and emotional time for an Arizona family. In addition to the grief that a family could experience, there is also the necessity of dealing with his or her estate, including finding the will and distributing assets according to his or her wishes. One of the most critical aspects of settling the estate of a loved one is probate. This is the court-supervised process of verifying the will and meeting other legal requirements before the estate can be closed.
The probate process can be lengthy and complicated, and it is helpful for a family to know what to expect before moving forward. If you are the executor of an estate, an interested party or the executor of the estate, being prepared for the probate process is helpful. Probate is often necessary regardless of whether the decedent had a will or died intestate.
Steps to completing the probate process
The person who is appointed to act as the executor of the estate, either by the decedent in the will or by the probate court, will initiate the probate process by filing the will with the appropriate court. After this, the executor will oversee the process of securing estate assets, assigning them an appropriate value and notifying creditors. Probate also requires the payment of remaining debts and filing a final tax return before distributing estate assets as directed in the will.
If the decedent dies without a will, this is called dying intestate. The distribution of assets will be determined by state laws. The probate court will appoint someone to act as the administrator of the estate, and he or she will be tasked with locating any heirs or beneficiaries of the estate, which could include children, spouses and others. The court will make the final decision regarding which assets to distribute and to whom.
Assistance for every step of the probate process
It is beneficial to have assistance as you navigate the probate process. Even in seemingly straight forward cases, probate can be complex, and unexpected issues could arise. As you prepare to take the first steps, you may find it helpful to seek guidance regarding the best way to protect your interests while still respecting the final wishes of your loved one.