After a loved one dies, the settling of the estate may be smooth and easy transition, a rocky, expensive road, or something in between. Whatever your situation, we are able to assist you with Probate Scottsdale.
Probate Scottsdale is a court proceeding to allow someone to transfer the assets of a deceased person’s estate. Many people assume that probate is only needed to settle the estate of someone who has no Will. However, a person that has a Will may also end up in probate court. That’s because a Will does not transfer a person’s assets to his or her heirs automatically – it only states who should receive those assets.
There are different levels of probate in Arizona. A small estate may be settled without filing anything with the court. This is the case if the assets are personal property, which includes vehicles and bank or investment accounts, and the total amount is $70,000 or less. In that case, you may be able to prepare a small estate affidavit and present it to the bank to obtain the money. Instructions and a form are available on the Maricopa County Superior Court website: http://tinyurl.com/omqmkda
The Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles has its own form for the transfer of vehicles. http://tinyurl.com/q8g2xlx
Larger estates will require the filing of an informal probate. The cost for such a probate will vary depending on the size of the estate, the types of assets in the estate, the number of heirs and the division of work between our office and the personal representative or executor of the estate.
Here is a list of some of the demands of an informal probate:
1. Locate the current Will. If you can only find a copy, the procedure is going to be much more difficult.
2. Take the online training required of a personal representative.
3. File the paperwork to apply to the Court to be appointed as personal representative of the estate and give notice to the other heirs. There are 7 different documents that must be filed just to start the probate.
4. Obtain permission from the Court to pay a support allowance to the family (if needed).
5. Prepare an inventory and obtain appraisals of estate assets including brokerage and bank accounts, realty, mobile homes, automobiles and other vehicles, furniture, jewelry and other possessions.
6. Send a Notice to Creditors to known creditors and publish the Notice in a newspaper acceptable to the Court.
7. Review any claims filed and approve them; Oppose claims that are invalid or incorrect.
8. Petition the Court for approval to sell real property or perform other duties if necessary.
9. Prepare detailed final accounting which is acceptable to the Court, sending copies to the beneficiaries.
10. File the plan of distribution with the Court.
11. Prepare the Report of Final Distribution.
12. Petition the Court for discharge of the personal representative.
If you own property in other states, a similar probate case must be filed in those other states as well.
Obviously, even a “simple” probate proceeding is time consuming and burdensome. That is why we highly recommend that most people establish a Revocable Living Trust. With an RLT, at your death, your successor trustee steps into your shoes as trustee and can settle your estate without going through the entire probate process and with minimal expense for attorneys and other professionals.
For a Revocable Living Trust plan, the transition may be much smoother. For one thing, no court proceeding is necessary as long as all of the deceased person’s property is titled in the trust.
For trust with no tax issues, I often only need to spend a few hours with the successor trustee going over the terms of the trust and the next steps. The trustee can proceed with just that little bit of advice and the assistance of a CPA or accountant.
More complicated or wealthier estates may require additional work to appraise property and file the appropriate tax returns for federal estate taxes.