For some estates in Arizona, probate oversight is inevitable. The valuable property that someone leaves behind, including real estate that they may own, may necessitate oversight from a probate court as it is managed by an estate administrator. It isn’t always possible to avoid going to probate court after someone dies.
However, just because an estate must pass through probate court does not automatically mean that the process is destined to become messy and frustrating. It is possible for both the individual putting together an estate plan and the personal representative tasked with estate administration to plan for a smooth and relatively uncomplicated probate process.
During estate planning
There are many ways for a testator to reduce probate conflict and set up their loved ones for a smooth probate process. These include drafting thorough estate planning documents. Testators can minimize future conflict both by including the right clauses in their wills and other testamentary documents and by communicating effectively with their loved ones about their intentions. Those receiving an inheritance will be less likely to fight with their family members or challenge a testator’s paperwork. Trusts and even no-contest clauses could be smart estate planning inclusions for those who believe their loved ones are more prone to conflict.
During the probate process
The personal representative handling someone’s estate will usually need to present their estate planning documents to the courts and also account for the assets left behind by the deceased. They will need to pay taxes and debts before distributing property to beneficiaries. The more fastidious and thorough someone is in the early stages of gathering documentation and securing assets, the less likely they are to face challenges alleging they were incompetent or that they misappropriate estate resources. Those who maintain thorough documentation, abide by Arizona probate rules and carefully uphold the specific instructions provided by the testator can minimize the possibility of oversights or errors on their part leading to probate disruptions.
Oftentimes, having the right guidance throughout the process will be of the utmost importance to both those planning an estate and those tasked with estate administration. Being properly organized and prepared can go a long way toward reducing the risk of expensive and frustrating conflicts during the probate and estate administration processes.