Not all estates require probate. In some cases, estates are simple and small enough to be managed outside the court. However, when it comes to larger and more complex estates, the probate process becomes critical to the distribution of assets among beneficiaries. For probate proceedings to advance smoothly, executors must meet deadlines set by the court.
What is the deadline for delivering a will to the superior court?
If you are the custodian of the will in question, you must deliver the will to the superior court within 30 days of learning of the death. If an executor is named in the will, you must provide said executor with a copy of the will at the same time. According to the California Probate Code, if you fail to share these documents in a timely manner, you become liable for “all damages sustained by any person injured by the failure.”
There are three common varieties of the probate process in Arizona, and each has specific requirements prior to administration. In general, Arizona requires initiation of probate within two years of the decedent’s passing.
The first, and often the simplest, process in Arizona is Informal Probate. Informal Probate is available in situations involving uncontested wills and is generally a lower-cost, efficient process.
The second process is Formal Probate. Formal Probate is required when contesting the validity of a presented will. If you are a prospective heir or beneficiary, you have four months from your receipt of documents indicating the admission of the will, along with a copy of the will, to initiate Formal Probate proceedings. Formal Probate is often time-consuming and can quickly get expensive. However, Formal Probate is the only avenue to raise a claim that the deceased’s intentions are not being carried out.
The third and final process is Supervised Probate. Supervised Probate requires the personal representative to get permission from the Court to take any proposed action. This is generally utilized to preserve the rights of creditors and beneficiaries alike.
What is the deadline for filing a Petition for Probate?
If you are the named executor of the will, you must file a Petition of Will and for Letters Testamentary within 30 days of learning of the death. If you fail to do so, you risk waiving your right to be appointed by the court as the estate’s executor. If the will does not name an executor, you will file a Petition of Will and for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed. If there is no will, you file the Petition for Letters of Administration. Any person named in the will, as well as anyone entitled to inherit as heirs by intestate succession, are entitled to receive notification of the Petition for Probate within 15 days prior to the hearing.
What is the timeline for publishing the Notice of Petition to Administer Estate?
The estate’s executor must publish a copy of the Notice of Petition to Administer Estate three times in the legal notice section of the decedent’s local newspaper to notify creditors and other interested parties of the probate proceedings. The first publication of the notice must be at least 15 days before the initial hearing with at least a five-day span between the first and last publication, not including the publication dates. Once the publication has been completed, you must file an Affidavit of Publication with the court to attest that you have followed the law.
What is the deadline for filing the inventory?
Once the Letters Testamentary have been issued, the executor has four months to file an inventory and appraisal of the deceased’s estate with the court. In some cases, this timeline may be extended.
If you’re the executor of an estate that feels like more than you can handle, schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman today.
Attorney Jeffrey Lohman is admitted to practice law in Arizona, not CA. For a list of attorneys licensed in California, please visit our team page.
Arizona law requires the Personal Representative to send specific information to the heirs and devisees under a will or by way of intestate succession within thirty days following their appointment. Failure to do so is a breach of the Personal Representative’s duty to the listed persons and could lead to liability.