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Probate Lawyer

What is Probate?

Understanding the probate process will probably motivate you to try to avoid it. Probate is the court’s way to validate a will, pay all taxes and debts on the estate, and distribute it among the beneficiaries. The executor, who can be named in the will, bears much of the responsibility for moving the estate through each step of the probate process.

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Disgruntled family members can dispute the will, which will drag out the process. There will also be court fees and attorney’s fees to pay, so the longer an estate spends in probate, the more expensive it will be. Probate will usually take at least 6 months to complete, but it can take far longer to complete for larger, more complex estates with several disputes. Probate matters are public record, so many people who plan their estates do so to maintain their privacy.

Arizona Estate Planning Tips to Avoid Probate

Avoiding Probate in Arizona. Our AZ Estate Planning Attorney can help. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

No matter your age or current health, it’s probably a good idea to create an estate plan if you haven’t already. This is your opportunity to leave treasured possessions and financial support for the people that you love. You can also use your estate plan to endow charitable organizations, name a legal guardian for your minor children, and more. Proper planning can also help reduce the amount deducted from your estate due to taxes, fees, etc. Another advantage estate planning offers is the chance to reduce the time the estate spends in probate, or eliminate the need for probate altogether. Read on to learn more about how you can strategically plan your estate to avoid probate in Arizona.

How Much Does an Estate Have to be Worth to Go Through Probate in Arizona?

In Arizona, certain estates can bypass the probate process using a small estate affidavit. The court will excuse small estates from probate based on the value of real property, or real estate, and personal property, which is just about everything else. To qualify for a small estate affidavit, the estate must have less than $100,000 in real property and $75,000 in personal property. Estates that exceed these limits will need to be executed with the probate court’s supervision.

Validating your will and making sure your estate is distributed per its terms is one of the functions of the probate court. Whether you require using probate doesn’t depend on the existence of your will, but your estate’s size. You may want to consider using other instruments, such as trusts, to reduce your estate’s size so that your estate will meet Arizona’s small estate requirements.

Best Probate Attorneys Near You in Arizona

Arizona’s Leading Probate and Estate Planning Law Firm

At My Arizona Lawyers, PLLC, our Arizona Will Attorneys and AZ Estate Planning Lawyers understand that you have worked hard for your property and assets.  Regardless of how big or small your estate, it is important to you and your family and should be protected.  You deserve effective Estate Planning solutions.  Therefore, contact our Arizona Will Attorneys for personalized support and guidance on all aspects of estate planning.  From creating a will to probate needs, our experienced AZ Estate Planning Attorneys provide affordable and effective solutions.

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AVOIDING PROBATE IN ARIZONA

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Clearly, if you want to avoid probate while planning your estate, there are several potential options available to you. But without detailed information about your financial situation, it’s impossible to say which exact combination of methods will be the most strategic for you. You and your loved ones deserve the peace of mind that comes with a carefully crafted estate plan.
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  • LIVING TRUSTS

In Arizona, you can create a living trust to avoid probate.  This is applicable for virtually any of your assets.
  • JOINT OWNERSHIP ON ASSETS

Right of survivorship allows you to own property with someone else.  It is as it states, the surviving owner automatically owns the property when the other owner dies.  Using joint ownership is a good way to avoid probate in Arizona.  Right of survivorship on your assets allows you to avoid probate in Arizona.

  • TRANSFER-ON-DEATH REGISTRATION FOR VEHICLES

Another way of avoiding probate in Arizona when it comes to your vehicles would be to register your vehicles with a “Transfer on Death” registration on your Arizona registered vehicles. Using this method, no probate proceedings will be necessary in the event of your death.  The beneficiary of a Transfer-on-death vehicle will automatically inherit your vehicle after your death.

  • PAYABLE -ON-DEATH DESIGNATIONS FOR BANK ACCOUNTS

A payable-on-death designation on your bank accounts, the beneficiary can claim the money from the bank upon your death.  This also is a way of avoiding probate in Arizona.  You still control all the money in your account and can spend it all if you wish.  The designator does not have access to your monies using a payable-on-death designation for your bank accounts.

Common Strategies to Avoid Probate
You have more options than simply listing everything you own in your will, leaving it vulnerable to probate disputes and extra taxation. Much of probate avoidance involves reducing your estate’s value to meet Arizona’s small estate requirements. Before using any of the following strategies to plan your estate, you should speak with an experienced Arizona estate planning lawyer. Call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation with our Arizona Estate Planning law firm today.

Give gifts while you’re still alive

If you already know you want to give certain assets to certain people, you may want to consider giving them away before you pass. Through gift giving, you may be able to reduce the total value of your estate so that it falls within Arizona’s small estate limitations. Of course, you should keep enough of your estate to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. You may also want to avoid giving gifts valuable enough to trigger tax liability. Arizona is one of many states that doesn’t have a gift tax, but your gift could still be subject to federal taxation. You can gift up to $15,000 to each recipient per year without paying federal gift taxes. So if you have three children, you can gift each of them up to $15,000 per year without paying taxes.

Hold your property in a joint tenancy

If your property is titled as a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, it will transfer to that beneficiary automatically when you pass away. This means that it will avoid the probate process, and the property’s value won’t count towards your estate’s value for small estate affidavit purposes. You can use this method on not just your house, but your car, motorcycle, bank accounts, and more. Keep in mind that the beneficiary will have the right to take or sell the property during your lifetime, so you should only use this method with someone who is trustworthy and understands the game plan.

Contribute to charitable organizations

If you’re planning on leaving some of your estate to charity when you pass away anyway, you might as well start before that happens. You can donate and give gifts, or you can create a charitable trust. Not only can this help your estate avoid probate, but you may also be able to use contributions towards an income tax deduction.

Create a POD, or payable on death, account

You can create a new payable on death account, or many types of accounts can be amended to be payable on death. You will choose a beneficiary, and if desired, an alternate beneficiary for the account. The beneficiary won’t have access to the account until you pass away.

Use a transfer on death, or TOD, account

This tool is similar to a payable on death account. Unlike several states, Arizona allows for the use of TOD accounts. This is more commonly used for stocks and bonds rather than bank accounts.

Use a family LLC or LP

Creating a family limited liability company or limited partnership is a creative and complex way to avoid probate. This method involves transferring ownership shares of the company to younger family members. While assets transferred this way still have to go through probate, it can help you avoid estate and gift taxes. This also allows you to maintain control over the asset until you pass away. However, this method can be more complicated to use due to its complexity, and your beneficiaries may be left dealing with the company after your death.

Place money or assets in a living trust

This is one of the most popular ways to avoid probate. You can use either a revocable or irrevocable living trust. Property that is in a trust doesn’t belong to the estate, but the trust itself. This can make it easier for your estate to fall within Arizona’s small estate limitations. A revocable trust is one that can be canceled while the grantor is still alive and of sound mind. An irrevocable trust can’t be canceled after valid execution. A trustee will control the asset until your death, when it is transferred to the beneficiary. You can serve as the trustee of a revocable trust, but not an irrevocable trust.

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To speak to an experienced Arizona estate planning lawyer today, call (602) 609-7000 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation. Our AZ Estate Lawyer and staff make the process easy and convenient for you. We build a customized, comprehensive estate plan to fit the needs of you and your wishes. We go the extra mile to make sure that your goals are met.

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Contact an experienced Arizona Estate Planning Attorney to handle your future estate legal matters. Our legal team will help you to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who can answer questions and provide assistance and guidance in your specific estate planning case.

Work Directly With An Attorney

The role of our Estate Planning law firm is to provide clients in Arizona seeking assistance withWills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Planning. Our attorneys work with clients to assure that every aspect of an estate plan is not only legally sound, but that every aspect of your future is protected according to your wishes.

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Having a well-defined estate plan means working with an attorney who will provide the necessary legal documents involved in estate planning. These documents, for example, include a Last Will and Testament, a document granting Power of Attorney, and Advance Medical Directive, and a Revocable Living Trust.

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Our Arizona Will Attorneys know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Arizona Estate Planning matters.  When you work with our experienced AZ Estate Planning Team you should expect highly personalized legal services executed in a timely and cost-efficient manner.  Our “Client First Approach” is evident from your initial free consultation all the way through to final sign off.  Contact our trusted attorneys today.



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