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Frequently Asked Questions: Probate

Answers from a Scottsdale Probate Attorney

Have questions about the probate process? Obtain high-quality legal counsel from Grant N. McKeehan, PLC. The firm's goal is to reduce your stress when facing complex probate issues and to inform you of the proper steps to complete the probate of a decedent's estate. Call the office to speak with Attorney McKeehan or review answers to commonly asked questions below.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of proving a will to the court. Probate is also the legal proceeding in which a decedent's estate is administered. The personal representative of the decedent must accomplish many tasks required by Arizona law, including, but not limited to, marshaling the assets of the estate, notifying creditors, paying creditors and transferring the remaining assets to heirs or devisees named under the will.

How do I make my will valid in Arizona?

For a will to be legally recognized by Arizona courts according to Arizona Revised Statute § 14-2502, the will must be

  • In writing
  • Signed by the decedent or by the decedent's direction
  • Signed by two witnesses

What is informal probate?

For estates that are uncontested and meet certain requirements, informal probate is available. The court has minimal involvement and a registrar oversees the process, rather than a judge. Informal probate can reduce the cost and length of the probate process. Cases that do not qualify for informal probate will go through formal probate.

How long does probate take in Arizona?

Since each estate is different, there is not set length of time that the probate process will take. Under Arizona law, upon appointment, the Personal Representative is required to mail a Notice to Creditors to all known creditors, and to publish a Notice to Creditors in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. Generally speaking, creditors have four months from the date of the first publication of the Notice to Creditors to present a Claim Against the Estate to the Personal Representative, otherwise the claim is barred. Therefore, nearly all probates are open for at least four months.

Does a personal representative get paid?

According to A.R.S. § 14-3719, a personal representative is "entitled to reasonable compensation". The will may specifically state payment or leave it up to the state. Additionally, a decedent could leave the personal representative a specific bequest from their property.

If the decedent did not specify an amount or leave anything to the personal representative in their will, then the courts will factor in the following issues to determine payment amount:

  • Time and skill required
  • Fees for similar services
  • Value of assets
  • Amount of responsibilities
  • Personal representative's experience and ability

Schedule an Appointment with Grant N. McKeehan, PLC

If you would like to discuss an estate with an experienced Scottsdale probate attorney, please contact Grant N. McKeehan, PLC. Attorney McKeehan has over a decade of experience in probate law that he will utilize for your benefit. Call now to get started!

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Grant N. McKeehan, PLC - Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney
Located at 4300 North Miller Road, Suite 220 Scottsdale, AZ 85251. View Map
Phone: (888) 913-8943 | Local Phone: (602) 791-6174.