By GNGF on September 3rd, 2022 in
How Much Does Probate in AZ Cost? The cost of the Arizona probate process varies greatly and depends on several factors. Some of the issues that may affect the cost are:
- Whether probate is opened within two years of the decedent’s death.
- If the decedent left a will, whether the survivors have the original will or just a copy.
- The size of the probate estate.
- Whether there are any disputes, challenges or contests.
Consult with an experienced Arizona probate attorney to get a better idea of the likely costs involved in your probate matter based on your particular circumstances. In the meantime, here is a breakdown of some of the potential expenses.
Court Filing Fees
Unless probate is unnecessary, such as in a small estate, the personal representative of the testator’s estate, called the personal representative in Arizona, will need to file a request with the court, permitting them to exercise their role on behalf of the decedent. The court filing fees vary from county to county. Generally, you should expect to spend between $300 and $500 on filing fees. View examples of the specific types of fees in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court.
If you choose to hire an Arizona probate attorney, which can be a great decision in the appropriate case, the fees will depend on several factors. The complexity of the probate process usually determines the attorney’s fees. For example, it will usually be more expensive if there are disputes, challenges or contests involving the estate, whether by beneficiaries, heirs, creditors or other successors.
Most probate attorneys charge hourly. Others offer flat fee, hybrid and contingency fee options. Ask questions and discuss the options your attorney offers for your specific matter.
Personal Representative Fees
The personal representative is also typically entitled to charge a fee for the services provided. Most charge hourly fees. If you are the personal representative of an estate in Arizona, it is always advisable to keep records of your expenses, including a log of time spent working on the probate estate. Those records may be necessary if anyone disputes your fees or costs.
Of course, the personal representative can waive compensation.
Also, when there is not enough money to pay all of the decedent’s bills and debts, the costs of administration of the estate, including the personal representative’s fees, take priority over all other claims.
A probate bond is usually issued to guarantee that the personal representative will perform their tasks per Arizona state laws. A bond is basically a type of insurance policy.
For example, suppose the personal representative fails to comply with state laws or acts in a manner that violates the terms of the will. In that case, the beneficiaries, unpaid creditors or other stakeholders can file a claim against the bond. The bond company (surety) may be required to reimburse the individuals or entity that filed the claim if the Court finds that the personal representative committed misconduct.
As part of the probate process, personal representatives are required to notify the decedent’s creditors about the death and the probate process. This notice must be published in a local newspaper and be sent to all known creditors. The cost of publishing notice is another cost of the probate administration.
How Long Does the Arizona Probate Process Take?
The duration of the probate process in Arizona depends on several elements. Here are some essential timelines you need to know.
In Arizona, unless the probate is opened for some reason more than two years after the decedent’s date of death, the probate process remains open for at least four months to allow all creditors to submit their claims against the decedent’s estate.
Some Arizona probates take longer than others. This mostly happens if there is a question, dispute, challenge or contest. For instance, if the appointment of the personal representative raises some concerns among the beneficiaries, stakeholders, or other parties involved, they might file a case with the court to block or overturn the appointment. Similarly, if there is a dispute over the validity of the will, the interested parties can file a challenge with the Court. There are countless types of issues that can arise.
If there are no disputes or challenges, it will usually take at least 6 months to complete the probate process. But it can take much longer, even years, if the decedent’s affairs were not in order or there are disputes, challenges or contests. Delays in the court system caused by backlogs can also influence the length of the probate process.
Each probate is unique. If you have questions or concerns, it is always advisable to seek further guidance from an experienced Arizona probate attorney. After consulting and collecting all the required details, your attorney should be able to estimate how long the probate process should take. Oftentimes, there are unforeseen circumstances that could alter the timeline.
All in all, there is no specific answer to this question – it all depends on the details of the probate estate in question.
When You Need an Experienced Arizona Probate Attorney
By now, you probably understand why the cost and duration of the probate process vary. An experienced Arizona probate lawyer can help you understand how much you should expect to spend and how long it should take to complete this process. And, most importantly, an experienced and caring probate attorney will explore ways to complete the process efficiently and expeditiously.
If you need such an attorney in Arizona, Berk Law Group is the law firm to contact. Founded in 1996, our Scottsdale-based law firm serves clients all over the state of Arizona. We specialize in probate, estate and trust litigation. We help clients conquer complex estate, trust and probate disputes in Arizona. We understand how complex the process can be, especially when there are disputes. That is why we are here to help.
We understand that many people are usually concerned about legal fees before hiring an attorney. Some even give up on fighting for their rights because they cannot afford a good lawyer. But that should not be the case.
When you choose us to represent you, we understand that each case is different. So, we typically offer flexible attorneys’ fee options, including hourly, contingency, flat, and hybrid fees – depending on your particular matter and situation. So call us today at 480-907-0078 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our Arizona probate attorneys. We will discuss fees specific to your matter during the initial consultation.