Can probate be reopened? Usually yes, the probate process can sometimes be reopened or amended. In certain cases, this may be necessary to undo mistakes, answer unresolved questions, and access previously unavailable resources. Here’s what you need to know about when, why and how probate can be reopened.
What is the Reopening of Probate?
Reopening a probate case involves filing for the necessary paperwork and following the applicable application procedures. These vary from one state to another and you should discuss the process with a probate lawyer before proceeding. The attorney involved in the original case usually handles the matter when it is reopened.
Reasons and Circumstances that Prompt the Reopening of a Probate Case
There are several reasons and circumstances that can prompt the reopening of a probate case. Some common reasons why probate may be reopened include:
1. Discovery of new assets.
If someone discovers assets after the probate process has been completed, it may be necessary to reopen probate to ensure that they are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes or state law.
2. Disputes among beneficiaries.
If there is a dispute among beneficiaries about the distribution of assets, probate may be reopened to address these issues.
3. Errors in the original probate proceedings.
If there were errors or omissions in the original probate proceedings, probate may need to be reopened to correct these errors. For example, maybe there was a failure to notify all interested parties or a mistake in the distribution of assets. Also, we have occasionally had a situation where someone found the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament after everyone had assumed there wasn’t one.
Other reasons for reopening a probate include:
- The discovery of a new beneficiary or beneficiary-in-waiting,
- Discrepancies in the previously dispersed assets and wealth,
- Changes to applicable laws,
- Fraud allegations against executors or administrators.
- Additionally, filing for a deceased person’s taxes may require that the probate case be reopened.
How to File for the Reopening of a Probate Case
In order to file for the reopening of a probate case, you must petition the court in which the original case was heard. This petition should indicate the reason the requesting party wants to reopen the case. The petition should also contain any other relevant evidence that highlights why reopening the case is pertinent under current circumstances.
Here is what A.R.S.§ 14-3938 says:
“If other property of the estate is discovered after an estate has been settled and the personal representative has been discharged or after one year after a closing statement has been filed, the registrar, if the original application was or could have been brought under article 3 of this chapter, or the court, if the original petition was required to have been brought under article 4 or 5 of this chapter, on the application or petition of any interested person and on notice as provided in this chapter, may appoint the same or a successor personal representative to administer the subsequently discovered estate. If a new appointment is made, unless the court orders otherwise, the provisions of this title apply as appropriate, but a claim previously barred may not be asserted in the subsequent administration.”
The Cons of Reopening a Probate Case
One significant downside of reopening a probate case is that there are often legal costs associated with the process. The requesting party will likely have to retain an attorney to assist in navigating the process. What’s more, any assets or property involved in the case may not be released until a ruling has been made, creating financial stress and backlog issues that can interfere with estate distributions.
Other Questions People Ask About Reopening Probate
While probate is a common process used when you die, it can also be complex and confusing. In addition to asking “Can probate be reopened?” there are other questions that people commonly ask about the process, including how long does it take to reopen a probate case, who can reopen a probate case, and can a beneficiary file for the reopening of a probate case. Also, you might be wondering when a probate lawyer gets paid.
If you are wondering “can probate be reopened,” give us a call at 602-443-4888.
Conclusion: Can Probate Be Reopened?
It is important to note that the rules and procedures for reopening probate can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. If you believe that probate needs to be reopened in your situation, it is best to consult with an experienced probate lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Let Us Help You.
If you believe that the probate process was not handled correctly or you have recently discovered new information that may impact the distribution of assets in an estate, it may be possible to reopen probate. Our team of experienced probate lawyers is here to help you navigate this complex process and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
With years of experience handling probate cases, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you reopen probate and achieve a fair resolution. We understand that this can be a stressful and emotional time, and we are committed to providing you with compassionate and effective legal representation.
If you believe that you may need to reopen probate, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 602-443-4888 to schedule a consultation. Our team is here to help you understand your legal options and take the necessary steps to achieve a just outcome.