When a loved one passes away, a probate may be required to transfer that person’s assets and to pay their final obligations. Probate is the legal process that is required to administer a person’s estate upon their death unless they have a trust or have made other arrangements to transfer the assets. The probate process is complex and requires that the person administering the estate fulfill several obligations. Willman Law Firm can assist you in administering the estate and ensuring that you do so in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
If a loved one becomes incapacitated and is unable to make decisions regarding their personal care or their finances and they have not prepared a Power of Attorney, a guardianship and/or a conservatorship may be necessary. A guardian is an individual who is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person similar to the decisions made by a parent for a child. The conservator is an individual appointed to manage the finances of the incapacitated person and to ensure that their money is spent for the incapacitated person’s care. The appointment process requires a hearing and an attorney and court investigator will be appointed for the alleged incapacitated person. Because the appointment involves court hearings and communication with attorneys and investigators, as well as a detailed process, it is recommended, but not required, that an individual looking to be appointed as a guardian or conservator hire an attorney.
Willman Law Firm is very experienced in the areas of probate, guardianship and conservatorship and can guide you through the process to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out and that they are properly cared for.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are handwritten Wills valid?
Yes. Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 14-2503 a handwritten will is valid even if it is not witnessed if the signature and the material provisions are in the handwriting of the testator.
2. Do Wills expire?
No. Wills do not expire but it is important to review your wills on a regular basis (every two to three years) to make sure that you don’t want to change the personal representative of your estate and that you still want your assets distributed the way it is described in the current will.
3. Who can act as the guardian or conservator for someone else?
Anyone over the age of 18 can serve as a guardian or conservator if they meet the other requirements of the Statutes and are appointed by the Court to serve as guardian or conservator.
4. Once appointed, what are my duties as guardian?
The powers, rights, and duties of a guardian with respect to the person they are serving as guardian for, are the same as those of a parent with a minor child with some exceptions.
5. Once appointed, what are my duties as a conservator?
Your duties as a conservator are to preserve and protect the assets of the protected person while using that person’s assets to take care of their needs.
6. What if the person I have named as personal representative in my Will dies before me?
Because such things are unpredictable, we always suggest naming at least two, but preferably three, people to serve as personal representative of your estate so that if one dies the next person can serve. If you have named just one personal representative and that person has died, Arizona law will determine who should be appointed to serve as your personal representative and the Court will have to decide whether that person is appropriate or not.