Hi, I’m Kent Berk. I’m an attorney at the Scottsdale, Arizona law firm of Berk Law Group, P.C. where we handle probate, trust, estate, and other types of cases in Arizona.
So some people may wonder if someone died and they owned just one piece of real estate, do you have to open probate to transfer that piece of real estate. That seemingly simple question is a little complicated. The first thing you needed to do is look at the title to the real property as of the date that the person died. If they had a joint tendency to write a survivorship deed that’s valid, then upon the death of the first person entitled will automatically pass to the survivors. Another way to transfer property without having to open probate is by a beneficiary deed. If the person who died signed and recorded a valid beneficiary deed before they died, then upon the recording of the certified copy of their death certificate, then the property would pass to the name of the beneficiary in the beneficiary deed.
If those don’t apply, then there’s still one way to avoid probate and transfer title without opening probate and that is by small estate affidavit. Under current Arizona law, if the net value of the real estate is $100,000 or less and other requirements have been met, then title to the property may be transferred by small estate affidavit and you don’t have to open probate. You determine the net value of the property by taking the value of the property as set in the county assessors records as of the date of the death less the amount due to a liens or any encumbrances or any loans as of the date of death and if that amount is $100,000 or less and other requirements are satisfied, then you can fill out and sign and file and then record a small estate affidavit in order to transfer title to the real property without opening probate.
If you have any questions about a probate, estate, trust, or elder law matter, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Thank you.