By GNGF on September 3rd, 2022 in
What Assets Do Not Require Probate Under AZ Law? Certain assets do not need to go through the Arizona probate process. To determine whether a particular asset requires probate, you will need to consider various factors, such as how the asset is titled. Suppose the asset has been registered as a joint asset, meaning it is owned by more than one person. In that case, it typically transfers to the co-owner when one of the owners dies. That is called “with right of survivorship.”
However, if the asset is owned by a single individual, it will likely have to go through probate. Here are additional examples of assets that do not need probate under Arizona laws.
Bank Accounts With Rights of Survivorship
If the decedent had a joint bank or brokerage account with another individual, the bank account would not need to go through probate if it had rights of survivorship. Instead, the bank account will be passed on to the surviving joint owner. In Arizona, joint accounts are also called multi-party accounts. Unless the account owners designate otherwise, multi-party accounts are owned by the survivor when a joint owner dies.
Also known as a POD account or a Totten trust, this account directs the bank permission to transfer the account to a particular beneficiary when the original owner dies. As a result, there will be no need for probate to initiate the transfer.
Similar to a POD account, the assets in this account are automatically transferred to a named beneficiary when the original account holder dies.
These include but are not limited to IRAs and 401ks. Because these accounts have beneficiaries designated by the owner, they are not subject to probate. Instead, the IRA or 401k will be bequeathed to the named beneficiary when you die.
Life Insurance Policies
When you sign up for life insurance, you need to name your beneficiaries who will inherit your life insurance benefits when you die. As a result, such an account is not subject to probate because the beneficiary is already known.
A living trust is a trust you create when you are still alive. So, when you die, the beneficiaries you named in the trust will inherit the property allocated to them by the trust. The assets governed by the trust must be transferred to and titled in the name of the trustee of the trust. Otherwise, you may need to open probate in order to distribute the estate. The estate then may or may not go to the living trust depending on the terms of the person’s will.
Are There Other Exceptions to Arizona Probate Requirements?
In Arizona, estates with personal property valued at $75,000 or less and real property up to $100,000 are considered small estates. If the estate meets those and other requirements, when the owner dies, the family may file an affidavit to transfer the estate, instead of opening probate.
A few important notes. If you need to and do not file for probate in Arizona within two years of the decedent’s death, a few special rules may apply:
- If probate is required, the heirs and beneficiaries will be required to use the formal probate procedure. That procedure is more time-consuming and expensive than informal procedures that may be available if it has been less than two years.
- Creditor’s claims are barred and may not be presented against the estate after two years.
- The personal representative or executor has limited authority, mainly to transfer the assets of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries.
The probate process can be exhausting, confusing, and time-consuming in Arizona. For this reason, it is important that you work with an experienced Arizona probate attorney.
Here is how such an attorney may help:
Experienced probate attorneys understand complex laws and how to navigate them. Probate can be frustrating. The last thing you want is to learn by trial and error, jeopardizing your inheritance or disrupting the probate administration. An experienced probate lawyer in Arizona can usually help complete the probate process faster and with fewer complications.
Hiring a probate attorney is a smart way to free yourself from the time, effort and hassle of dealing with creditors, beneficiaries and other issues.
These lawyers also try to help minimize disputes that are common during probate. The last thing you want is to break ties with people you love and respect due to disagreements over the probate process. An experienced probate lawyer will help try to avoid conflict and disputes, allowing the prompt and efficient administration and settlement of the estate.
Contact an Arizona Probate Attorney from Berk Law Group
At Berk Law Group, we understand the complex Arizona probate process. We have helped hundreds of people through a variety of probate, trust and estate disputes and contests. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult enough. If you have questions or you are unsure where to start with the probate process, our attorneys can save you the headache by doing the heavy lifting for you. Call us today at 480-907-0078 to speak with one of our staff or drop us a message online.