Probate Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

What You Need to Know About the Probate ProcessA person who is unfamiliar with the term probate may be confused when they are faced with dealing with this legal process. Probate is a term that is often used in the world of will legalities. But most people do not encounter the word probate until either writing such a will themselves or finding out what it means after a loved one has passed. It is normal for family members of the deceased to be perplexed and quickly turn to a Phoenix, AZ probate lawyer for help. Overall, the legal process of probate is to transfer the decedent’s assets to beneficiaries or heirs. What sounds simple can actually get a little complicated along the way.

A probate lawyer in Phoenix, AZ answers some of the most common questions many of our clients have regarding the probate process and what to do if financial assistance is needed for immediate family members.

What happens after a person passes away in regards to his or her will?
Once a person has passed, his or her will must be proven valid within the court system before wishes can be granted by the executor. The executor of the will is someone the deceased chose to handle and safeguard his or her assets. If this person passed without having written a will at all, then it is the duty of the judge to appoint an executor.

What are the duties of the will executor?
The executor must manage the decedent’s assets throughout the probate process. This is a very important role, as the process of probate is not necessarily a quick one. Probate can take anywhere from several months up to a year or longer to finish. Also, the executor may face the decision of whether or not to sell certain belongings or properties in order to pay off outstanding debts. Other duties of the will executor are listed as follows:

  • Create an inventory of debts, assets, and property
  • Obtain property appraisals as needed
  • Communicate with beneficiaries
  • Distribute assets of the decedent’s estate

What happens if a beneficiary or someone else contests the will?
If a will is contested by a beneficiary or another person who thinks they should be a beneficiary, then it must go through probate litigation. Sometimes, disgruntled family members may feel their share of the decedent’s assets is not fair and may attempt to claim a larger amount. More reasons that a will may be contested include:

  • Lack of inventory
  • Inadequate creditor disclosure
  • The will was improperly signed
  • An executor has not upheld his or her duties
  • The decedent may have been coerced

What if the surviving family members are in need of financial help?
Those who are immediate family members to the deceased can request the court to provide them with needed funds. The monetary amount granted by the court aims to assist the family until the probate process is complete. Surviving family may be struggling with money during the probate period, particularly if the deceased held the primary role of financially taking care of the family.

Contact a probate lawyer Phoenix, AZ clients recommend for more information.