Getting Assistance

Questions & Answers

Question: What steps must be taken to obtain a Judicial Determination of Heirs in Arizona?

Answer:

The determination of heirs happens during the estate probate process. In Arizona, the Superior Court has the authority to probate estates. Typically, estates where the personal property is less than $50,000 and the home equity is less than $75,000 do not require any probate, although one can be filed. Estates where an original will is located and where no objection is filed, can be probated informally. General forms for this process can be found at the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, Self Service Center online .

Petitions for probate of a will or for a determination that the decedent (person who died) did not leave a valid will (and therefore died “intestate” ) must be made to the Superior Court. If one is objecting to the informal probate of the estate, an objection against the estate must be filed in Superior Court. Forms for filing an objection can also be found at the Self Service Center. There are self service centers in each Superior Court in Arizona, and all of the forms needed are available at these centers. Note: Court personnel cannot provide legal advice.

Basically, the steps are as follows: 1. File the objection immediately after receiving the document or notice that is the cause of the objection; and 2. Tell the court as simply as possible what is the cause for the objection, writing neatly and giving enough detail for the court to understand your objection; and make sure to send a copy of the objection to anyone who is interested in the outcome of the probate; and 3. Ask for a formal hearing and give proper notice to everyone who is also interested in the outcome about the hearing date, time, and place. A.R.S. § 14-3401, et seq. The Probate Court Administration can help with any questions about this process (602-452-3300 - General Number for the Court System).

November 05, 2006