Arizona statutes provide for a simplified affidavit process for small estates with real property or personal property valued below specific amounts. An heir or devisee of property may be able to use the affidavit procedure to claim estate assets without going through the probate process. However, the affidavit process has specific requirements and limitations. Even if you think your inheritance qualifies for the process, it is important to talk with an experienced Arizona probate attorney before proceeding.
At Peterson Law Offices in the East Valley, we assist clients with all aspects of estate administration and probate, including the affidavit process. Your first consultation is always free of charge. We welcome you to contact us to schedule an appointment.
For the affidavit process to be available for real estate, the value of all Arizona real property in the estate must have a value of $100,000 or less at the date of death. All taxes and debts on the property must be paid.
The affidavit option is not available if the estate has a personal representative or it is less than a year since discharge of the personal representative. For property that qualifies, the heir or devisee (person inheriting under a will) of the property may file an affidavit for real property to claim the real estate after a waiting period of six months following the date of death.
For purposes of the affidavit procedure, the value of the real estate is the full cash value as shown on the assessment rolls for the year of the decedent’s death, unless there is a debt secured by a lien on the property. In the latter case, the value is the unpaid principal balance due on the date of death.
The person (or persons) entitled to the real property by reason of the allowance in lieu of homestead, family allowance or exempt property, intestate succession, or devise under a valid will prepares and files the affidavit. The document contains a statement regarding entitlement, as well as a statement that no other person has a right to an interest in the real estate. The affidavit also states that all taxes and unsecured debts, as well as expenses of the decedent’s last illness and funeral, are paid.
The contents of the affidavit are very specific. It is a sworn statement, in which the affiant attests under oath to the inheritance right and certain other facts relating to the estate.
The heir or devise files the affidavit with the probate court registrar in the county where the real estate is located. After determining completeness of the affidavit, the registrar issues a certified copy as proof of filing. A certified copy of the affidavit must be recorded in the same county.
If the value of all personal property in an estate does not exceed $75,000, a person claiming the right to personal property may submit an affidavit 30 days or more after the date of death. The dollar limitation applies to the value of all personal property of the decedent, regardless of the location of the property. As with a real property affidavit, the process is not available if the estate has a personal representative or less than a year has passed since discharge of the personal representative.
The affidavit must state a number sworn facts, including the affiant’s entitlement to payment or delivery of the property. The affidavit also attests that all expenses of the decedent’s last illness and funeral are paid.
The law provides that any person with possession of the property or evidence of a debt must make payment or transfer property to the successor in interest if presented with the affidavit. The affidavit also authorizes transfer of motor vehicles and securities, as well as transfer of other property of the decedent.
There is no requirement for filing a personal property affidavit. The claimant presents a copy of the executed affidavit to the person or financial institution in possession of the personal property, or, in the case of a vehicle, to the MVD office.
If you inherit real or personal property that may be eligible for the affidavit process, the best way to proceed is to talk with a knowledgeable estate and probate administration attorney. The Arizona statutory eligibility requirements for the process are very specific. A clearly defined procedure must be followed to complete the process in compliance with the legal requirements.
For real estate, certain criteria must be met, and the value of the property must be established. It’s important to ascertain whether there are any liens or debts outstanding on the property. For a personal property affidavit, it’s also necessary to establish a value for all the personal property in the estate, to ensure the total is below the statutory threshold for eligibility.
When you submit an affidavit, you make a sworn statement that the facts in the affidavit are true, so it’s important to verify all the required facts before submitting the affidavit. Your lawyer ensures that all the requirements of the statute are met and that the proper procedures are followed, including the filing requirements for real property affidavits.
At Peterson Law Offices, we assist clients with all aspects of estate administration and probate, including the small estate affidavit process for real property and personal property. Attorney Shane Peterson’s real estate experience is particularly beneficial for estates that include real property.
We take pride in offering top-quality, affordable legal services and exceptional client service. Your first consultation is always free of charge. We welcome inquiries from clients throughout the East Valley, including Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling 480-878-5998 or using our online contact form.
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