Informal And Formal Probate Proceedings
Our Phoenix probate and estate planning attorneys offer the guidance you need to understand the many steps and issues involved in the probate process, as well as the different types of legal proceedings designed to distribute an asset after a death, including:
- Affidavit for Collection of all Personal Property: In some cases, the probate process may be avoidable, with the bulk of the decedent’s assets being transferred through completion of an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property. To collect personal property through this method, the value of the related property, including bank accounts, stocks and vehicles, cannot exceed $75,000. The completed affidavit must be presented directly to the individual or agency holding the property no sooner than 30 days after the death of the estate holder.
- Affidavit for Transfer of Title to Real Property: Much like an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property, an Affidavit for Transfer of Title of Real Property is a viable legal strategy for avoiding probate proceedings in relation to small estates. After preparation, the Affidavit is presented to the current holder of the Real property in question for eventual release to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.
- Informal probate: Informal Probate proceedings do require some of the same basic steps as formal proceedings, including the appointment of a personal representative. However, during informal probate proceedings, court appearances and hearings may be avoided, with the bulk of the probate process taking place outside of the courtroom. Informal probate proceedings are available in specific situations, including those involving a well-drafted will and minimal estate assets.
- Formal probate: In the formal probate process, the appointment of an executor or an administrator is one of the first steps to take place. This individual will be responsible for a wide range of tasks, including gathering and inventorying all of the decedent’s assets and debts. Throughout the formal probate process, formal reports must be filed with the court to insure proper accounting of the estate and distribution of the probate property to the beneficiaries. The formal probate process may take anywhere from months to years, depending on the decedent’s estate plan and the scope of the estate.