Phoenix, AZ asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Arizona

Q: How can I verify that my mother's will and testament is legal and names me executor and distributor of all property?

Several months ago, my mother (who passed away last week) put together a last will and testament (based on a form from WillForms.org for the state of Arizona). It is signed, notarized, and doubly witnessed by two individuals not receiving any property under the will.

The will names me as personal representative. It also lists me as beneficiary of "all valuable assets, both physical and monetary, to retain or distribute as [I] decide". It lists my husband as back-up as both executor and beneficary.

She did this because she specifically did not want my sister making decisions on the distribution of any of the property. She does not name my sister in the will at all, as she and my sister have not always gotten along and have had legal issues in the past. However, my sister sounds like she plans to contest the will.

I'd like to confirm as soon as possible that the document I have from my mom is legal and will stand up in court. How can I do this?

2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Show it to a local probate attorney. You are going to need to hire a probate attorney anyway to help you probate your mother's estate anyway. Your mother's things do not automatically vest in you; there are steps that need to be taken, and the sooner you take those steps the better.

Peter H. Westby
Peter H. Westby
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: I recommend scheduling a consultation with a probate attorney for the review of your Mom's Will. Your probate attorney can answer your questions about the Will and can also give you recommendations for the most efficient way to handle your Mom's estate and protect her assets.

1 user found this answer helpful

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