Probate, Guardianship & Conservatorship
Handling your loved one’s financial affairs after they die is probably one of the last issues any person or family wants to think about. We understand. Whether your loved one died with a Will (testate) or died without a Will (intestate), we are here to walk you through the probate process step by step.
There are different types of probate processes to handle your loved one’s financial affairs after they die. If you have the original Will, we will meet with you, review the Will, discuss the assets in the estate, and determine the best steps to begin the probate process.
If there was no Will, we will help you and your family determine who can and is in the best position to be appointed as the Personal Representative and guide that person through the legal process from start to finish. Because there was no Will telling you how your loved one wanted to divide his or her assets, dividing and disbursing assets will follow Arizona law.
Owens & Perkins also handles other matters that fall under Probate Law, which include being appointed as a Guardian or Conservator for someone who is not able to manage their own personal and/or financial affairs. Once you are appointed as either the Guardian or Conservator or both, you will need to file annual reports and/or accountings each year with the Court. It’s an ongoing annual process.
The experienced attorneys at Owens & Perkins are here to help you through the probate process whether it’s opening probate for a deceased person’s estate or petitioning to become a Guardian and/or Conservator.
- Annual Accounting
If you are appointed by the Court as a Conservator or Personal Representative, you must complete an Annual Accounting for the Estate. This accounting details all of the transactions that occurred over the last year. Failure to prepare the Annual Accounting can result in sanctions including, but not limited to, your removal as Conservator or Personal Representative. Click here to learn more about filing an Annual Accounting.
- Annual Report of Guardian
If you are appointed by the Court as a Guardian of a minor or incapacitated adult, you are required to file an Annual Report with the Court. It is your job to calendar and remember the annual due date; the Court will NOT do that for you. Once you have the Annual Report prepared, you are required to mail a copy of the Report to various persons including, but not limited to, the court appointed attorney for the Ward. Click here to learn more about filing your Annual Report of Guardian.
- Appointment of Personal Representative
A Personal Representative (sometimes called an Executor in other states) is the person appointed by the Court to administer the probate estate and distribute the assets after a person passes away. Click here to learn more about getting appointed as a Personal Representative or objecting to someone being appointed as the Personal Representative.
- Closing a Probate Estate
Once a Probate Estate has been fully administered, the Personal Representative is responsible for closing the Estate. The Closing process itself is quite simple; however, prior to closing the Personal Representative must make sure that everything has been done to wind up the decedent’s affairs. Click here to learn more about closing a Probate Estate.
- Contesting the Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator
Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator is both a large responsibility and a critical decision for the Court. Sometimes involved individuals may feel that the proposed Guardian or Conservator will not necessarily act in the Ward’s best interest and that someone else should be appointed. Click here to learn more about contesting (or defending against the contest) of the appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator.
- Filing and Administering a Probate Estate
After someone has passed away, their assets need to be gathered and distributed. If they did not already provide for the distribution of their assets through a Trust or a Will, the Estate may need to be resolved through Probate. Click here to learn more about filing and administrating a Probate.
- Formal and Informal Probate
Probates can be divided into two categories: formal and informal. Formal probate more closely resembles typical Court proceedings, while informal probate can largely be done without close Court supervision. Click here to learn more about the formal and informal probate processes.
- Probate Administration
Once a probate estate has been opened, a Personal Representative is appointed. The Personal Representative is responsible for administering the estate and carrying out the directives in the decedent’s Will. Click here to learn more about administering a Probate Estate.
- Probate Litigation
Litigation refers to a lawsuit, and Probate Litigation is a lawsuit contesting some element of a Probate case. It can be a challenge to an element of a Will or Trust or an objection to the administration of the Estate, or if someone has filed a lawsuit against you in a Probate that you are administering. Click here to learn more about Probate Litigation.
- Termination of a Personal Representative, Guardian and/or Conservator
A Personal Representative, Guardian and/or Conservator may be terminated for various reasons, typically inaction or misconduct. A Court must approve and order the termination of the appointment. If you would like to remove someone as a Personal Representative, Guardian and/or Conservator or someone has filed a Petition to remove you, click here to learn more about Termination.
- Testate vs. Intestate Probate
In Probate cases, the terms Testate and Intestate frequently arise. These terms describe whether or not the decedent (person who died) had a Will. Click here to learn more about Testate and Intestate Probate proceedings.
- Vulnerable Adult Protection
Elderly citizens are particularly open to abuse, whether it be physical, mental, financial, or emotional. In recognition of this fact, Arizona has enacted specific laws intended to protect vulnerable adults. Click here to learn more about Vulnerable Adult Protection and lawsuits.