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Why Probate a Will?

Last Will and Testament. Why probate a will?

Are you asking yourself, “Why probate a will?” Probating a will is the process of legally validating a deceased person’s final wishes. It’s important for making sure that the wishes laid out in the will are carried out according to applicable state laws. With a thorough understanding of why probate is necessary, you can ensure that your loved one’s last wishes are honored.

Why probate a will?

Probate is the legal process by which a court validates the will of a deceased person and oversees the distribution of their assets to their beneficiaries. The probate process ensures that the decedent’s debts and taxes are paid, and their assets are distributed according to their wishes.

Probate is necessary to ensure that the will is genuine and that it reflects the decedent’s wishes. It also provides an opportunity for any disputes or challenges to the will to be addressed and resolved by a court.

During the probate process, the court will appoint an executor or personal representative to oversee the administration of the estate. The executor is responsible for collecting the decedent’s assets, paying their debts and taxes, and distributing their assets to their beneficiaries in accordance with the will.

Why probate a will in Arizona?

If the value of personal property is less than $75,000 or the value of real property is less than $100,000, then Arizona does not require a deceased person’s will to be probated. See A.R.S. Section 14-3971. Otherwise, A.R.S. Section 14-3102 provides:

[T]o be effective to prove the transfer of any property or to nominate an executor, a will must be declared to be valid by a statement of informal probate by the registrar, or an adjudication of probate by the court, except that a duly executed and unrevoked will which has not been probated may be admitted as evidence of a devise if both:

1. No court proceeding concerning the succession or administration of the estate has occurred.

2. Either the devisee or his successors and assigns possessed the property devised in accordance with the provisions of the will, or the property devised was not possessed or claimed by anyone by virtue of the decedent’s title during the time period for testacy proceedings.

Appointing a Personal Representative

Probate is necessary in order to appoint a personal representative to carry out the duties set forth in the deceased’s will. The appointed personal representative has the responsibility of managing and distributing the assets of the estate, ensuring that all debts are paid and that any remaining assets are distributed according to the wishes laid out in the will.

Authenticating the Validity of a Will

One of the most important reasons to probate a will is to authenticate its validity. In order for a judge to grant probate, the personal representative must first submit the original copy of the will to the court. The court will then review the document and verify that the deceased had legally executed it according to state law. This step helps ensure that all inheritances are distributed according to their rightful heirs in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.

Establishing Legitimate Heirs

Another important reason to probate a will is to establish legitimate heirs. If more than one person claims to be the beneficiary of an inheritance from the deceased, a probate court can determine the rightful heirs according to the provisions listed in the will. This ensures that all inheritances are distributed fairly and properly according to state law.

Settling Debts and Taxes

Probating a will is also important for discharging any remaining debts or taxes left by the deceased. This ensures that any pending debt is paid off before anything is distributed to the heirs, and this must be done before anything can be fully inherited from the estate. The court can also determine if there are any unpaid taxes due, such as inheritance or death taxes, with the probate process.

Clarity of the Disposition of Assets

A probated will is a clear and binding document that states how each of the decedent’s assets should be handled after their death. This process helps to protect their final wishes, ensuring that all assets, such as property or investments, are distributed according to the instructions laid out in the will. Additionally, it helps to avoid family disputes or miscommunication between heirs regarding the deceased’s wishes by providing clear direction and preventing any misunderstandings.

Risks of Trying To Probate a Will Without an Attorney.

Probating a will without an attorney can be risky for several reasons:

Lack of legal knowledge:

Probate laws can be complex and vary from state to state. Without an attorney’s knowledge and experience, you may not understand all the legal requirements that must be followed in order to properly probate the will.

Errors in documentation:

The probate process requires the filing of various documents and forms with the court. These documents must be completed accurately and submitted in a timely manner. Failure to file the correct documents or errors in the documentation could lead to delays or even the invalidation of the will.

Disputes and litigation:

Disputes may arise during the probate process, such as challenges to the validity of the will or disagreements among beneficiaries. An attorney can provide guidance on how to handle these disputes and minimize the risk of litigation.

Liability:

As the executor of an estate, you have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. If you make mistakes or act improperly, you could be held personally liable for any resulting losses or damages.

Delays and additional costs:

Probating a will without an attorney can be time-consuming and may result in additional costs if mistakes are made or disputes arise. An attorney can help streamline the process and minimize costs by ensuring that everything is done correctly the first time.

In summary, while it is possible to probate a will without an attorney, doing so can be risky and may result in costly mistakes or delays. An experienced probate attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the probate process.

Let us help you probate your loved one’s will.

Why probate a will without an attorney? Don’t risk it. Get us on your side. We have decades of experience helping others just like you. And if a dispute arises, we can use our extensive litigation experience to get you though it. Call us today at 602-443-4888. We’re here to help.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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