In Arizona, when a loved one dies, people will have many issues to navigate. Often, there is an estate plan that will serve as a guideline for what the person who died – the testator – wanted. That includes how their assets will be distributed, if there were stipulations that must be adhered to and how to address their debts among many other issues. Unfortunately, there might be disagreement among family members and heirs as to the estate planning documents. This can be addressed during probate and it is imperative for family members to understand the process. This is especially true with formal probate.
Understanding formal probate and when it can be used
Probate is used to name a personal representative to oversee the decedent’s affairs. In many situations, informal probate will be used. However, an example of when formal probate will be needed is if the validity of a will or its contents are being called into question. The interested person can ask for formal probate. This can be done to stop an informal probate, if there was a will that was informally probated or there are conflicting wills that were informally probated. The interested party can ask that the court name a personal representative.
While a formal probate is pending, no action can be taken with informal probate of a will or a personal representative being named informally. Once there is a request for formal probate, the personal representative who was previously named cannot distribute assets from the estate even if there was a will. The personal representative is required to follow court orders, oversee the assets, distribute them, pay the debts, pay the taxes and do as the will instructs. Formal probate puts a stop to these steps until the case is heard.
For all areas of probate, having experienced assistance may be vital
Probate and estate administration can be difficult, particularly if there is a dispute. From the perspective of the estate administrator or a person who is calling a will into question through formal probate, it is imperative to have professional guidance throughout this potentially complicated process. Even when a person is creating a will or other estate planning document, it is wise to be cognizant of the informal and formal probate procedures to avoid problems and discord. To address these issues and understand the avenues available, having professional help can be crucial.