Across the state Arizonans are continuing the debate about reforming Arizona probate law. Concerned citizens, members of the media, and legislators have all engaged in the dialogue, and we have fostered an environment that has given birth to many creative ideas. Among these ideas is a proposition to implement an extrajudicial committee, also known as a legislative-review panel, to which citizens can file complaints about Arizona probate judges. This idea has gathered so much support, in fact, that it is included in the House’s leading AZ probate law reform bill, House Bill 2424.
The proposed panel serves two primary purposes. First, it would take complaints from citizens about judges who fail to adequately protect wards. Supporters of the panel maintain that this extra accountability would help to maintain the integrity of AZ probate law. Detractors of the panel, on the other hand, argue that this type of arrangement would dilute judges’ authority and infuse the judicial system with politics.
Secondly, the panel would submit an annual report to the governor’s office. The report would include details about the complaints, and might inform the governor about the happenings in Arizona probate law. Again, supporters of the panel maintain that this arrangement would add synchronicity to the judicial system, while its opponents, including may Arizona probate lawyers, argue that this arrangement would simply politicize the judicial process.
This debate is far from over, and each side has valid points. How you come down on the issue will depend on your personal and political beliefs. Particularly in this era of evolution for the Arizona Probate Code, those dealing with the probate process should seek the counsel of a qualified Arizona probate lawyer.