In Arizona, probate gets started when the person who wants to be appointed as personal representative files the will (if any) and a petition with the probate court. The court will appoint the person named as executor (personal representative) in the will, unless there's a very good reason why that person can't or shouldn't serve. If there's no will or the will doesn't name a PR, the court turns to state law, which lists who has priority for appointment.
The court determines the validity of the will and gives the PR “letters of administration” -- an officialdocument showing the PR’s right to manage the estate.
Next, the PR notifies inheritors and creditors about the estateadministration. The PR notifies inheritors within 30 days of death, The PR publishes notice to creditors in a local newspaper for three weeks, andmails notice to all known creditors. Creditorsmust make claims within four months after the notice is published. Knowncreditors who received mailed notice can make claims within 60 days of themailed notice, even if it falls outside the four-month period.
After notice, the PR gathers all the assets of the estate. The PR inventories, manages,and protects these assets. After creditors have been paid, the PR can distribute the assetsto the beneficiaries. The PR then closes the estate by filing apetition for closing with the court.
Expect probate to take about a year here from start to finish.
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