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Leary and Wence, PC - Attorneys at Law

Small Estates

Small Estates can be handled by both summary administration and by Affidavit if the value of estate is under $100,000 (for real estate) or under $75,000 (personal property).

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Arizona.

Small Estates are dealt with in a different manner than larger estates.

Result: Assets are distributed to heirs more easily and quickly if they don't exceed $100,000 (real property) or $75,000 (personal property). Arizona provides some probate shortcuts for "small estates" which make it easier for heirs to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer money or property using simplified probate procedures if the estate's value is under $100,000.00 (real estate) or $75,0000 (personal property), without any probate court proceedings at all -- by using an affidavit prepared by our office. And that saves time, money, and fees.

Arizona provides some probate shortcuts for "small estates" which make it easier for heirs to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer money or property using simplified probate procedures if the estate's value is under $100,000 (real estate) or $75,0000 (personal property), without any probate court proceedings at all -- by using an affidavit prepared by our office.  And that saves time, money, and fees.

Here are the ways you can avoid, or expedite probate.

(If the affidavit procedure is used, there's no need to use the simplified probate procedure.)

Claiming Property With a Simple Affidavit

Arizona has a procedure that allows heirs (or those who inherit) to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than a certain amount. All an heir has to do is sign a short document, stating that he/she is entitled to money or a certain asset. An affidavit can be executed for this purpose. This affidavit can be prepared by Leary & Wence. When the person or institution holding the property -- e.g., a bank where the deceased person had an account -- is presented with the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate, it releases the asset.

The out-of-court affidavit procedure is available in Arizona if:

  • PERSONAL PROPERTY

    • The value of all personal property in the estate, less liens and encumbrances, is $75,000 or less. There is a 30-day waiting period. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-3971.B.

    REAL ESTATE

    • The value of all Arizona real estate in the estate, less liens and encumbrances, is $100,000 or less at the date of death, and all debts and taxes have been paid. There is a 6-month waiting period. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-3971.E.

Summary Administration of Small Estates

A Summary Administration is a shortened form of probate that is available for small estates, and may be most appropriate in the case of a surviving spouse or dependent children. The entire amount of the estate cannot exceed $37,000 (which is a combined total of the homestead allowance, exempt property and family allowance). Probate is opened, a Personal Representative is appointed, and an Inventory is filed. If the inventory shows that assets do not exceed $37,000, then publication of notice to creditors is not required. The PR can pay the costs and expenses of administration, expenses of last illness and funeral expenses and then immediately distribute the estate. The PR can then close the estate by merely filing the special closing statement with the court as described at A.R.S. § 14-3974.

This should really be supervised by an attorney, in order to make sure it has been done properly. The statute pertaining to this type of administration of an estate:

A.R.S. §14-3973. Small estates; summary administrative procedure
If it appears from the inventory and appraisal that the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed allowance in lieu of homestead, exempt property, family allowance, costs and expenses of administration, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent, the personal representative, without giving notice to creditors, may immediately disburse and distribute the estate to the persons entitled thereto and file a closing statement as provided in section 14-3974.

For More Information

For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, please contact us!

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