Arizona Personal Representative Lawyer
If you have recently been appointed as a personal representative of an Arizona estate, it is in your best interests to retain an attorney. Notably there are many different questions that could have and you’ll want to ensure that your checklists, tasks and responsibilities lines up with what the state and the beneficiaries expected of you. One of the easiest ways to approach this is to retain a personal representative lawyer in Arizona immediately. As a personal representative attorney in Arizona can tell you, there are many different facets to closing out a loved one’s probated estate and you may decide that it’s not the right fit for you, at which point you can decline the role.
What Is a Personal Representative?
In many states this role is known as executor but is called personal representative in Arizona. This is the entity or individual appointed by the court to administer the asset and estates of someone who passed away. The personal representative has the responsibility to ensure that the affairs of the deceased are properly taken care of after their death in accordance with the deceased’s will or in accordance with intestate succession laws if this person passed away with no will.
Understanding Personal Representative Duties
You’ll need to be clear in your duties immediately after being appointed or named in this role, as they will begin almost immediately and several action steps need to be taken as soon as possible. The personal representative’s core duties include;
- Collecting the assets of the decedent
- Paying any outstanding creditors or bills associated with the decedent.
- Distributing remaining decedent assets to whoever is supposed to receive them.
There are so many issues a personal representative needs to handle immediately after being appointed that many people who are appointed in this role realize that it is more complicated than they expect and retain the services of a personal representative attorney in Arizona to assist them.
Who Has the Right to Serve as Personal Representative?
Not just anyone can serve as a personal representative. In fact, states have rules over priority order. Who has the right to serve as personal representative depends on whether or not the decedent left a will with instructions. If the decedent died with a will in place at the time of their passing, the will is used. If no personal representative was named or if no will exists, then the court will be looking to appoint a person for this responsibility immediately thereafter. If more than one person is interested in serving as the personal representative, this can create issues.
If the decedent did die without a valid will per Arizona ARS 14-3203, this determines who has the right to serve as personal representative. The usual first priority goes to the surviving spouse and then other persons who will inherit the property of the decedent under intestate statutes. One of the first steps that the personal representative in Arizona will need to take is identifying whether or not probate is needed. If the value of all personal property owned by the decedent at the time of their death, including jewelry, vehicles, and cash in their bank account is less than $75,000 and the net equity and real property is less than $100,000, involvement from the courts can be avoided completely, meaning that a simple affidavit process can be used to administer the estate quickly and inexpensively.
Deciding whether or not to accept the role is an honor since the decedent likely held you in high regard. Acting as personal representative, however, does involve considerable responsibility and you could be held personally liable by the decedent’s heirs if you make a mistake in the process.