Problems That Can Come Up During Probate of an Estate
Probate is the court process that controls distribution of the assets owned by an individual who has passed away. Although the probate process is often straightforward, particularly for simple estates, problems can arise for numerous reasons.
One type of difficulty in probate cases concerns time and distance. The reality of our modern world is that individuals frequently move throughout the country for new jobs or opportunities. As a result, children and family members increasingly find themselves living many miles away from their loved ones. This can create additional complexity for probate proceedings. When the beneficiaries of a decedent—such as sons, daughters or siblings — live far away or in different states, it can be costly and time-consuming to involve those beneficiaries in the probate process. Their signatures may be needed on documents and they may need to participate in certain aspects of the process. Even people named as executors in a will might live far from where the probate proceedings are actually happening. Similarly, when a decedent has assets in different states, such as homes or land, this may require multiple court proceedings to occur across several states. Coordinating these proceedings can take significant time and resources.
Probate can also become complicated if the decedent’s will is contested in whole or in part. Heirs and other interested parties must be given notice of the probate case so that they have an opportunity to raise challenges to the validity of the will. They may contend that it was not correctly signed or witnessed, that it was made under the improper influence of another person or that the decedent lacked the necessary mental capacity. Potential beneficiaries may come forward with other versions of a will, requiring a careful investigation by the court into which version is most recent and valid. Particularly when an estate is of significant value, or potential beneficiaries don’t get along, the probate process can be drawn out and expensive.
If your relative or loved one has recently passed away, an experienced Arizona probate attorney can advise you on the legal process to be followed. If you have been named the estate executor, an attorney can take the proper steps and respond to any challenges or other problems that may arise. With an attorney in charge, you can focus your attention on recovering from your personal loss rather than on the complexities of probate.
At Jeffrey P. Hall, PLLC in Chandler, we frequently represent spouses, family members and other beneficiaries in Arizona probate cases, guiding them through all stages of the proceedings. To set up a free initial consultation, please call 480-409-5174 or contact us online.