Perhaps someone previously agreed to serve as the personal representative or executor of someone’s estate. Maybe they never had a discussion about estate planning, but they are the closest living family member of a deceased individual.
Sometimes, individuals with a close relationship to someone who died or an expectation that they will inherit from their estate will need to take action to notify the probate courts about the death and the need for estate administration. Starting this process can feel overwhelming. For example, many people understandably wonder “Where does someone in Maricopa County even need to go to initiate the probate process?”
They head to the Clerk of the Superior Court
Maricopa County is the most populous county in the state of Arizona, with more than three times the population of the second-place Pima County. Therefore, it sees quite a few court cases. There is actually more than one accessible Superior Court Clerk Office where an individual can file the paperwork to begin the probate process in person. There are two offices in Phoenix, one in Mesa and one in Surprise. Those who are unable to make it to the Clerk’s office during business hours have the option of leaving necessary paperwork in external secure boxes installed to facilitate the safe delivery of paperwork to the courts.
Personal representatives who bring in professional support by hiring a probate attorney may not need to go in person at all, as the lawyer can handle most of the in-person requirements on behalf of the representative.
Filing the paperwork is only the beginning
Probate can take months or even longer than a year to fully resolve. Estate administration can easily become a complex process when there are questions about the documents or complex assets. Many people who agree to serve as the executor or representative of an estate will benefit from having legal support throughout the process.
Before someone can communicate with creditors or start handing out assets to beneficiaries, they will first need to assume their role and begin the probate process. Taking the first step and notifying the courts of the recent death and the need for estate administration can help those who are responsible for the legacy of a loved one.