ProbateMany people have heard the term “probate” but wonder what it actually means. Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing assets after a person has passed away. Unfortunately, it is often frustrating, time-consuming, needlessly expensive and open to the public. How long does the probate process take? It depends on the size and complexity of the estate, the schedule of the local probate court, and whether there are any disputes involving family members and/or creditors. In Arizona, most probates take about a year, but some can drag on for considerably longer.

At Cholewka Law, we have the experience and mastery of Arizona probate law to expedite the process and resolve any problems as quickly as possible. We also understand what you are going through during this difficult time, and will make the process as stress-free as we can.

Perhaps you are wondering what is involved in probating an estate? While every estate is unique, a “typical” probate requires all of the following:

  • Filing a petition with the probate court
  • Notice to heirs named in the Will or, if there is no Will, to statutory heirs
  • Petition to appoint a personal representative (if there is a Will) or an Administrator
  • Inventory and appraisal of all estate assets
  • Payment of estate debt to creditors
  • Sale of estate assets
  • Payment of estate taxes
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs

Much of our practice is dedicated to helping individuals and families avoid probate entirely. However, if you are faced with the prospect of dealing with the Arizona probate court, we can guide you through the process compassionately and efficiently.

Trust Administration

Trusts can accomplish a wide range of planning goals. Many people, however, assume that once they have created a trust, and funded it, the trust will simply go into effect automatically when the person who made the trust passes away. This is not the case. Trusts must be properly administered for them to work the way they were intended.

You should know that failing to administer a trust properly can have serious financial and legal consequences for the trustee and beneficiaries. Have you been asked to serve as a trustee? If so, we can explain the process to you, together with the potential risks for improperly administering the trust. If you want to serve as trustee, we can guide you every step of the way. If you would rather not serve in this capacity, we can help you select the ideal person or institution to do so.

Whether you need help probating an estate or administering a trust, we are here to assist you. Contact us today for a personal meeting with Becky Cholewka.