Probate Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

What Happens If My Elderly Parent Didn’t Make a Will

Probate Lawyer Phoenix, AZMany times, children do not learn that their elderly parent didn’t make a Will until after the parent has already passed away. If an elderly parent passes without a Will, dealing with their estate can quickly become expensive and complicated. A probate law firm Phoenix, AZ can confide in will be the first to tell you that you need to hire an attorney.

When an Elderly Parent Forgets a Will

Traditionally, probate is the court-supervised process of proving the validity of a Will. When someone dies and they leave a Will behind, the court must determine the Will is valid. Once it is verified, the desires and the instructions of the deceased may be carried out by an appointed Executor.

If an elderly parent forgets to create a will before passing away, then their estate will have to go through intestate probate. Because there was no Will, the family and friends of the deceased will have to petition the court to appoint an executor, and have the court clarify the succession of heirs. Each state has a different “intestate succession” laws, but usually the order of heirs to an estate is as follows:

spouse à children à parents à parent’s descendants (siblings)à grandparentsà the state

In this example, the deceased elderly parent has no control over who manages their estate nor who receives assets from it.

Probate can be an expensive lengthy process, lasting anywhere from six months to a few years, depending on the complexity of the estate and the court it is filed in. As a result, an experienced probate law firm Phoenix, AZ trusts becomes an invaluable asset to the family. Probate is also not a private process. The act of filing documents with the court makes the case and all associated filings public record. The thought of “airing dirty laundry” might be daunting to some families.

Where to Probate an Estate

What happens if your parent died in another state? Say they moved to the warm deserts of Arizona for retirement while the rest of the family stayed behind in Illinois. Where should you hire a probate lawyer? Consider the questions below to determine in which state to hire a probate lawyer:

  • Where are the Assets?

The first question you’ll be asked is: where did your parent hold title to their assets? Think large, title-based assets, like real property and motor vehicles. If they owned a home or a car in Arizona, then their Estate will most likely need to be probated in Arizona, since that is where the assets are located.

  • Can the Assets Pass Outside of Probate?

If you don’t immediately know the answer to this question, make sure to get a probate law firm Phoenix, AZ recommends involved. The answer will usually depend on whether the deceased set up probate-avoidance for assets before they passed. Assets that were held jointly, with rights of survivorship, or have named beneficiaries can often go straight to their new owners, bypassing probate court all together. But, if after a person dies, the assets are left with no clear owner, they will need to be a part of the probate process, which can require court filings, appraisals, distributions, etc.

  • Is there a Business Involved?

If so, then the estate may need to go through probate in the state where the business is set up. Probate can be complicated enough when the estate only owns homes, cars, and bank accounts. Throw a business into the mix, and things can become very messy very fast. Dealing with a business as an estate asset is a job for a professional probate lawyer. Best to let a probate law firm Phoenix, AZ has faith in handle that one.

  • Is There a Probate Elsewhere?

If your parent owned multiple assets in multiple states, then there is a chance that a probate might have already been filed in another state. If so, an “ancillary” or “foreign” probate might be required to make sure all the different assets from different states can be properly distributed. If you’re dealing with an “ancillary” or “foreign” probate, seek out a probate law firm Phoenix, AZ endorses.

Why an Elderly Parent Needs a Will

As children find themselves taking on the responsibility of caring for aging parents, the topic of estate planning often comes up. If you’ve found at that your elderly parent does not have a Will, it is a good idea to encourage them to create one. Reach out to a probate law firm Phoenix, AZ relies on to get the job done right. There are many benefits to creating a Will, such as:

  • Executor. If your parent makes a Will, they can appoint the person who will be responsible for carrying out their wishes and obeying the laws of the state. If they don’t make a Will, then the court will appoint someone
  • Beneficiaries. A Will lets your parents determine who receives what from their estate. It also allows your parents to determine who will NOT receive assets from the estate. Without a Will, state law will decide who inherits the estate.
  • Legal Fees & Frustration. Creating a Will minimizes the amount of legal and financial fees and frustrations the family will have to deal with during their time of grief.
  • Healthcare. A probate law firm Phoenix, AZ can count on will often offer estate planning packages that include not just a Will, but also Healthcare documents. This might include a Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPPA authorization. As your parent ages, healthcare planning is just as important as financial planning.
Hire an Experienced Attorney

Whether you are looking to help a parent set up a Will, or need help probating the estate of a deceased parent, consider meeting with a probate lawyer Phoenix, AZ recommends. At Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, our experienced probate attorney can help guide you through the probate process and help set your family up for the future.