Chandler Probate Lawyer

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The probate process is a complicated legal proceeding, and often, family members have to navigate it after losing a loved one. A deceased loved one may have left a will or no estate plan at all. Probate can be complicated and involve familial disputes in either case. It is crucial that you work with a knowledgeable Chandler probate lawyer during probate to ensure the right procedures are followed and to limit the cost and time of probate court.

Probate court can last months to more than a year. An attorney could help this process go more quickly, and enable you to take a step back to be with your loved ones during this hard time. It is crucial to find an attorney that you can rely on.

Navigating Probate Administration With CDM Law Firm

Probate can be confusing when you are unfamiliar with its legal requirements. At CDM Law Firm, we can help you determine which type of probate is available to the estate being probated and what your options are for making the process easier. If the estate is small enough to qualify for a small estate affidavit, we can help you understand its drawbacks and benefits. We can help you with every step of administration or provide you with the advice you need.

If there are disputes among family members, our team can help you defend the estate. Probate litigation and contests can be incredibly stressful and costly. An attorney understands whether an individual has the legal grounds in the state to contest, and if they have a valid claim against the will.

C. David Martinez at CDM Law Firm has practiced law for over 20 years in Arizona and understands the requirements of probate administration. Our team understands the importance of each individual’s wishes in an estate plan and can use this to interpret and follow instructions left in a will.

Whether you were named executor in a will or the probate court made you the representative of the estate, you may be unprepared for the responsibilities of the role. If you are a beneficiary or family member involved in administration, we can help.

What Is the Purpose of Probate?

Probate exists to settle the estate of a deceased person, ensuring that their assets and debts are properly managed. Probate works differently depending on whether the deceased wrote a valid will or not. If there is any will, the court will first review it to determine if it is valid.

The Process of Probate

If the will is valid, then the deceased’s wishes listed in the will are followed during the probate process. If the will is invalid, but the deceased had a prior version of their will that is valid, then probate will follow the wishes in that version of the will. The individual named as the executor in the will is responsible for administering the estate.

If the will is not valid, or the deceased had no will, then the estate will be distributed by the state’s intestate inheritance laws during probate. The probate court will also appoint an individual to be the personal representative of the estate.

The personal representative or executor must take the following steps during probate:

  1. Gather the documents relating to the estate and its assets
  2. Inventory the assets
  3. Inform known and unknown creditors of their ability to make claims on the estate
  4. Use liquid assets or liquidate assets to pay valid creditor claims, taxes on the estate, and expenses
  5. Distribute the remaining assets to their named beneficiaries or intestate heirs
  6. Formally close the estate and provide the probate court with a statement of the expenses and distribution

This process varies and can be incredibly complicated. However, it is essential to properly deal with the estate left by a deceased individual.

Typically, when an individual is named an executor in a will, they are aware of what is required of them during the process. However, it can be more complex in practice. An appointed executor may be unaware of their responsibilities in representing the estate of their loved one. An attorney is essential to ensure things are done correctly and avoid mistakes or conflicts that could stretch the process by months.

When Does an Estate Not Need Probate in Arizona?

If an estate qualifies for a small estate affidavit, it may be able to avoid probate court. In order to qualify to be a small estate, the estate must have:

  1. Real estate assets valued at $100,000 or less;
  2. Personal property valued at $75,000 or less; or
  3. Unpaid wages of $5,000 or less.

The small estate affidavit can be filled out and presented to the individual or institution holding certain assets, along with the individual’s death certificate. The assets can be transferred without probate court.

An estate can also avoid probate with effective estate planning techniques, such as the use of trusts or payable-on-death titling to transfer assets.

Types of Probate

The main types of probate include:

  1. Informal Probate: This is the fastest form of probate, which requires very limited supervision by the court, and no courthouse visits. There cannot be any disputes, objections, or contests against the will, the representative, or the representative’s actions. An individual must meet certain requirements to file for informal probate for the deceased’s estate.
  2. Formal Probate: Formal probate may be necessary if there are disputes over the representative or their actions, unique assets that require supervision, or disputes about heirs to the estate.
  3. Supervised Probate: This has the most court supervision and is necessary in complex or contentious situations. If an heir, representative, or creditor needs unique protection, this form of probate is used.

How Can a Probate Administration Attorney Help?

Probate is much easier with the help of an experienced probate attorney, although it is not required. An attorney understands the legal requirements of probate, and can use their knowledge to help you make timely and important decisions. This is especially important if the estate has significant or complex assets.

The process of administering the estate includes filing information with the court, inventorying all assets, collecting creditor claims and determining their validity, following the right timelines, paying taxes and expenses, and effectively distributing assets. This is a lot for one person to manage. An attorney can provide you with the support you need.

An attorney is also useful if disputes come up during probate. This includes disputes about how the estate is handled. During an emotionally vulnerable time, these additional frustrations and conflicts can be very difficult. It may help to have a legal professional on your side to help you defend the estate or your position as the representative.

FAQs:

Q: How Much Is a Probate Lawyer in Arizona?

A: The cost of an attorney for probate administration in Arizona depends on many different factors and can range between $2,500 to $6,000 or even more expensive. If probate administration is expected to involve disputes and litigation, this will be more expensive. Costs that you can expect during the probate process include:

  • Filing fees, between $300 and $500
  • Court costs
  • Attorney costs
  • Compensation for the executor or personal representative of the estate
  • The costs of any financial or other professionals

Each attorney will charge differently, and it is important to discuss pricing with an attorney before you hire them.

Q: Who Pays for a Probate Lawyer in Arizona?

Q: What Are the Probate Rules in Arizona?

Q: How Much Does an Estate Have to Be Worth to Go to Probate in Arizona?

Managing Probate Court in Chandler

At CDM Law Firm, we can help you navigate the administration of an estate, and any disputes that appear along the way. Contact our team today.

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