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What You Need to Know About Probate Without a Will in 2024

People around casket in cemetery. Will there be a probate without a will 2023?

If someone passes away without a will, it can be difficult to navigate the process of probate. This is especially true when it comes to transferring assets, paying debts, and making sure that any interested parties are taken care of. In this article, we’ll outline the key steps involved in probate without a will.

What is Probate Without a Will?

Probate without a will is also known as intestacy. It is the legal process of settling someone’s estate and distributing the assets when they pass away without a valid will. This process occurs in court and includes identifying any assets, paying off any debts, notifying relatives and other interested parties, and ensuring that the estate is distributed according to state law.

How Does Probate Work Without a Will?

When a person passes away without a will, their estate must go through the probate process in order to be legally settled and distributed. In this case, the court will appoint an administrator (called a Personal Representative in most states) to manage the succession of assets and liabilities according to state law. This includes identifying any assets belonging to the deceased, determining which relatives are entitled to inherit them, and making sure that all creditors are paid off from these assets before distribution is complete.

Who Receives the Estate When There’s No Will?

When a person dies without a will, their estate is divided and distributed according to state law. Here in Arizona, Title 14 of the Arizona Revised Statutes sets forth the Arizona inheritance laws for a probate without a will. Generally, the laws favor close relatives such as spouses, children, or parents in these cases. If no living relative can be located or if there are no surviving relatives at all, then the estate may be transferred to the state. A court-appointed administrator works through complicated legal processes in order to verify who is entitled to assets and make sure all creditors are paid off before distribution of the estate can take place.

Click here to view a “Table of Arizona Heirship.” This shows who is entitled to receive an inheritance under Arizona law.

What is an Intestate Probate Process?

An intestate probate process is the legal process that takes place when a person dies without having written a will. During this process, a court-appointed administrator or individual called an “Personal Representative” or “executor” is responsible for working with any creditors to ensure all of their financial obligations are met before the estate is distributed. Court proceedings may be required during this process depending on existing disputes or disagreements between relatives or creditors regarding the distribution and division of assets.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Probate Without a Will?

The process of settling an estate without a will normally takes a minimum of five months, depending on its complexity. The Probate Code requires waiting four months to allow creditors to make any claims. See A.R.S. Sections 14-3802, 14-3803, and 14-3804.  In some cases, if there is a dispute over the distribution or division of assets or debts, it may take significantly longer to come to a legally binding resolution. Additionally, waiting periods imposed by the state or jurisdiction within which the estate is settled could affect how long it takes for probate without a will to be completed. It’s important to consult with an experienced probate attorney regarding these matters before proceeding.

Let Us Help you With Your Probate Without a Will.

We regularly handle probate and trust administrations. We will make the process as efficient and painless as possible. Attorney Paul Deloughery has been handling probates since 1998. Give us a call at 602-443-4888. We’re here to help.



Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.