Arizona Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: Forclosure auction on property that is in a Trust, my 5% inheritance is in jeopardy. Estate Rep is doing nothing.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Arizona on
Answered on Dec 5, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
If the house is auctioned for more than is owed, then the excess proceeds should be turned over to the trust. You would still receive your share from those excessive proceeds. The downside is that houses usually sell for less than at auction than they would in a private sale.

Q: I have a home that my wife is on the deed but not on the mortgage. What happens if i die and what document do i need

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Dec 3, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
Having her on the deed is a good step. If the deed states that you own it jointly with rights of survivorship, then she will become the sole owner upon your death. This, however, does not remove or invalidate the mortgage in any way. The debt will still need to be paid.

Q: I wrote a will in California and since moved to Arizona. Are estate planning laws any different?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Nov 2, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
The estate planning laws are different. However, Arizona will generally recognize a will that is validly executed in another state. You may still want to consult an attorney about your estate plan and documents.

Q: Will the surviving spouse automatically be given the house where we live & own free & clear?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Oct 22, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
If you are both on the deed with rights of survivorship, then upon the death of the first spouse, the survivor will automatically become the sole owner. However, this done eliminate liens or mortgages that may be against the property. Those will still apply.

Q: Is a will or trust preferable to set up when you have assets in excess of $100,000?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Oct 20, 2018
Marcus N. Seiter's answer
This all depends on many factors such as your family makeup/dynamics, the types of assets you have, your health, expected longevity, and who you want to inherit those assets.

A will-based plan can be adequate for some people with even a few hundred thousand in assets depending on circumstances, while a person with even less may find a trust-based plan to be more suitable.

I suggest that you speak to some Estate Planning attorneys in your area about these questions. Many offer...

Q: How does Arizona view self-made wills? I got mine notarized. Does that change anything?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Oct 8, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
Self-made wills can be valid just like ones done by attorneys. If it is type-written, it must be signed by the testator or in the testator's name by some other individual in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction and signed by at least two people, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after that person witnessed either the signing of the will or the testator's acknowledgment of that signature or acknowledgment of the will. Notarization is actually not...

Q: What should be included in a final will and testament?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 23, 2018
T. J. Jesky's answer
All of your personal and real property, and your instructions, who and how the property is to be distributed to your heirs.

It is for this reason, you should find a local attorney who can help you properly prepare your final will and testament.

Q: Is this a criminal or probate matter?

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 20, 2018
Gary Kollin's answer
Talk to the estate lawyer

Q: My grandfather died without a will. He owned two small plots of property. What happens now?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 10, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
Depending on the value of the properties, the heirs could use a small estate affidavit to transfer the properties to themselves without the need for a full probate. The court probably has the forms on its website, depending on what county they are in.

Q: Are beneficiaries of an estate able to "buy" assets of the estate with no cash? Can I offset future proceeds by IOU?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Sep 5, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
A personal representative can make in-kind distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. These distributions, of course, count toward their total share of the estate.

Q: What rights does a residuary beneficiary have in AZ to see all information re: estate debts, expenses, property, assets?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Answered on Aug 27, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
The amount of information you are entitled to depends on whether the assets are held in an estate or trust. If it is an estate, the personal representative must give you an initial inventory from the date of death and an income and expense report (i.e. accounting) from then until final distributions. If it is a trust, the trustee must provide similar information from time that the trustee is appointed, which is usually the date of death, but it may not be. See ARS Title 14, Chapter 3, Articles...

Q: I am residuary beneficiary in my dad's estate. Trustee is joint on 1 property and beneficiary on another.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Answered on Aug 26, 2018
Peter H. Westby's answer
This depends upon the instructions given to the Trustee in the Trust. It may be appropriate. If the Trust is unclear or if you believe that the Trustee is acting improperly, an action can be filed with the Court to address these issues. Where a Trustee is abusing his/her authority, the Trustee can be removed by the Court and a new Trustee appointed. I recommend that you review the facts of this matter with an Attorney. Once your attorney has reviewed the trust document and learned all of...

Q: My brother died in Feb. Will we ever be able to get a clear titles on his vehicles to sell them? (34K owed on them)

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Aug 20, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
Because the estate is proceeding under NM law, you will need to ask NM attorney for sure. Frankly, the estate will probably need to sell the vehicles to clear title and pay off the lienholders.

Q: Father/grandma joint owned an AZ property. They live in CO. Father died after neglecting it. How can I take possession?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Arizona on
Answered on Aug 10, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
If you grandma is still alive, then she would be the owner. If both of them are now deceased, then you may need to open a probate to transfer the deed to the property to the heirs.

Q: In a small estate affidavit in Arizona, who would have equal or greater rights than a surviving spouse?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Aug 8, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
If there is no will, then his kids may have equal rights if the kids are also not your kids. Otherwise, the surviving spouse it top of the list.

Q: How do you change personal representative in a will? Wife is currently rep, but is ill and we want to change to another

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Jul 30, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
You can do a new will that revokes the previous one and names a new personal representative. Alternatively, you can draft a codicil (i.e. will amendment) and name a new personal representative.

Q: Hello, do I have to make a "Letter of Appointment of Executor", for my dads estate if a will has been made?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Jul 23, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
The Letters of Appointment or Letters of Personal Representative, as they are called in AZ, are issued by the court when the will is submitted to probate. This is done only after the death of the person. Having a will naming you as personal representative and gifting the assets to you is the first step. When you father passes, you may have to file for probate to get the Letters. There are other methods if your dad's estate is deemed to be a small estate at the time he passes.

Q: Is an executor able to pay people what they get in the will before she pays the debts?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Jul 13, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
The executor can make early distributions to the heirs before paying all the debts. However, if the debts exceed the assets retained, then the executor could be personally liable for the difference, or the heirs could be required to return the early distributions to pay the debts.

Q: My aunt died without a will and I can't locate her only child. What will happen to her estate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Answered on Jul 9, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
Another heir, such as yourself, can still open probate and continue the search for the child. The estate could then hire an investigator to assist in the search. If the child cannot be found in that process, Arizona has laws that may allow the child to be declared deceased if appropriate, then the Estate will be paid to other surviving heirs. Otherwise, the estate will be turned over to Arizona's unclaimed property division, and it will eventually go to the State if it remains unclaimed.

Q: Any requirement to update owner status prior to recording Beneficiary Deed?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Arizona on
Answered on Jun 18, 2018
Ryan K Hodges' answer
Recording an affidavit of death or the death certificate before recording the beneficiary deed is a good idea, but not required. You could record the beneficiary deed without doing this first, and it would still be valid.

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