Birmingham, AL asked in Probate for Arizona

Q: Father who was married when he expired had no will. What rights does the children have when it comes to his assets?

His assets include a condo, vehicles, and personal items.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Andre L. Pennington
Andre L. Pennington
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Surprise, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Here is the applicable law:

14-2102. Intestate share of surviving spouse

The following part of the intestate estate, as to both separate property and the one-half of community property that belongs to the decedent, passes to the surviving spouse:

1. If there is no surviving issue or if there are surviving issue all of whom are issue of the surviving spouse also, the entire intestate estate.

2. If there are surviving issue one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate separate property and no interest in the one-half of the community property that belonged to the decedent.

Ryan K Hodges
Ryan K Hodges
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Under Arizona law, when a married person dies without a will and has children from a previous marriage, the children from the previous marriage are entitled to one-half of all property that belonged solely to the person who died and half of the deceased's half of the community property. What happens with the property will depend on how items were titled. If both of them were on the deed to the house and your stepmother had right to survivorship, she will own the house clear of probate. Financial accounts in both their names will also go to her and she will receive any life insurance for which she is the designated beneficiary.

In other words, you have some investigating to do before you will be able to determine which aspects of your father's estate are divisible and which your stepmother automatically received exclusive ownership of at the time of your father's death.

Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: I am so sorry for your loss. Although the laws of intestacy say you have rights, the key is how the assets are titled on your father's death. If everything is titled jointly with his wife, the wife will get everything immediately upon his death. There would be nothing remaining to give to you and your siblings.

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