Transfer of Property After Death Without a Will

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Exploring The Transfer of Property After Death Without a Will

Losing a loved one is a trying time that comes with a wealth of challenges. Amidst this emotionally-charged experience, there is a practical aspect that calls for your attention – the transfer of property from the deceased to the heirs. While it may seem simple, the transfer of property after death without a will is far more straining than if the deceased had a will or trust in place.

AZ Statewide Paralegal is here to guide you through the ins and outs of probate and the transfer of property after death without a will to help you determine the best course of action for you and your family’s future.

Understanding Probate

Before unveiling the importance of a will and/or trust, it’s essential to understand the probate process. Probate is a legal process that serves for the transfer of property from the deceased to their heirs. When a will is in place, the judicial process verifies and accepts the outlined transfer or property in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. When there is no will in place, then the property distribution will be handled in accordance with the laws of intestate succession.

How To Avoid Probate Court

With or without a will, the transfer of property after death requires going to probate court. However, this can be bypassed entirely if the deceased has a valid trust in effect. A living trust is a legally binding document created for the purpose of transferring the ownership of property from the proprietor to the trust upon passing. The creator of the trust (trustee) chooses a successor trustee who then gains the legal right to take on the responsibility of transferring property to the selected beneficiaries upon the passing of the trustee. As a result, the trustee’s loved ones can avoid probate.

The Probate Process

The probate process can be simple or drawn-out and complex, depending on whether the deceased had an estate plan in place. The probate process is as follows:

  • Open Probate and Filing of the Will: The will is filed with the court to begin the probate process. However, if there is no will in place, the court will follow the laws of interstate succession when distributing assets.
  • Identification and Appraisal of Assets: The Personal Representative will identify and inventory the assets of the deceased and determine fair market value.
  • Debts and Taxes: If the deceased has outstanding debts and/or taxes, they will be settled through the estate prior to distributing the remainder of property.
  • Property Distribution: Upon settling debts and taxes, the property is distributed to the heirs in accordance with the will or laws of interstate succession.
  • Closing the Estate: Four months from the date the notice to creditors was published, closing documents may be signed if the Personal Representative has paid all expenses and distributed the assets to the beneficiaries. If your loved one had a will that assigned you as the personal representative you will receive the signed Certificate of Registrar that releases you from your role, one year from the date the Closing Statement was filed.

How Estate Planning Benefits The Process

When considering estate planning vs non-estate planning, you may be wondering how and why a living trust or last will and testament can be beneficial. Estate planning is in essence, a roadmap created by you, while you’re still driving, meaning it allows you full control of the distribution of your property, ensuring your wishes are adhered to upon your passing. Some of the benefits include:

  • Streamlined Property Transfer: With an estate plan in place, the transfer of property is smoother and more efficient. With details of your wishes outlined in your estate plan, your loved ones and the court have clear instructions on how to proceed, mitigating conflict and drawn out probate issues.
  • Bypass Probate: If you opt for a living trust, you give your loved ones the advantage of bypassing probate entirely, sparing your family and friends the time and hassle of potential legal complexities.
  • You remain in control: While you are living, having a living trust still provides you complete control over your assets and property. Allowing you to make changes to your estate plan and buy and sell property as you wish.
  • Mitigate Growing Costs: The transfer of property after death without a will can result in a time-consuming and expensive legal process. Intricate probate cases can take years to finalize, allowing for legal fees to continue to add up.

How AZ Statewide Paralegal Can Help

Navigating estate planning does not have to be expensive or complicated when you choose AZ Statewide Paralegal. Our dedicated Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparers provide complete case management legal document preparation services for living trusts, wills, and probate. Our legal services to you are similar to the paralegal services that paralegals provide to an Attorney.  No matter what part of the journey you’re on, we’re here to extend our compassion and efficiency to help you achieve prompt a resolution.

Secure Dedicated Legal Services Today

Mitigate the overwhelming ordeal of the transfer of property after death without a will by looking to AZ Statewide Paralegal. Our certified legal document preparers are here to guide you through estate planning and probate with our cost-effective and comprehensive legal document preparation services in Tucson and Phoenix, AZ. Contact us today for clarity and support with your living trust, will, or probate matters.

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