Probate is a judicial determination by a court to determine the validity of a document and to ascertain whether or not the document is, in fact, the legal Will of the decedent. In other words, if you were to execute a Will and then pass away, the validity of your Will is not established until your Will is admitted to probate.
We have extensive experience in Probate Administration and Probate Court Proceedings. Having the proper legal representation is of utmost importance for you and your family.
The basic definition of probate is, “to admit a Will to proof,” or “to administer a decedent’s estate.” In essence, a Will must be admitted to probate to be valid, noticed, and deemed effective.
Practice Point: In Arizona there are exceptions to probate proceedings for “small estates.” Essentially, if the total value of the decedent’s estate is under the “small estate” value, no probate is necessary. In Arizona, probate proceedings are not necessary for “small estates” or those estates valued under fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) for cash assets and seventy-five thousand ($75,000.00) for real estate.
The purpose of probate is to prove the validity of a Will. For example, if you were to execute a Will in 2000, the Will you executed is a valid legal document. However, once you pass away, the Will must be admitted to probate to prove that the Will was your Last Will & Testament and that the Will validly represents your wishes for the distribution of your estate. Probate proceedings serve the vital purpose of proving to the world that your Will is valid and shall be effective; thus, administration of your estate will be conducted according to the instructions you set forth in your proved Will.
Many probate proceedings are supervised; i.e., a probate court supervises all probate proceedings and administration of the estate. However, Arizona also recognizes informal probate proceedings, in which the court involvement is limited and the court supervision is much less intrusive. An estate is subject to probate in Arizona if, at the time of the decedent’s death, he or she was domiciled in a county within Arizona, or if the decedent owned property located in Arizona.
Probate & YOU
Would YOU or YOUR estate ever have to go through probate?
Probate is necessary for the proving of your Will and the administration of any property held in your name alone at the time of your death. Furthermore, if you were to die without a Will and your estate was subject to intestate succession, your estate must be probated to determine the proper kinship of heirs, assets available for distribution, and proper distribution of the assets. Thus, probate is a legal proceeding by which all of your assets come before a probate court to be inventoried and properly distributed to the persons named in your Will. The probability of you or your estate going through probate is almost entirely dependent upon the estate plan you and your experienced estate planning attorney devise.