Personal representatives trying to navigate AZ probate law often run into complications with out-of-state real estate. For instance, let’s say a personal representative in Arizona discovers that the decedent owned a piece of property in California. The issue here is that the Arizona Probate Code does not give the probate court authority over this property. Rather, the California probate court would have authority over the California property.
Personal representatives in this situation probably have to open up what is called an ancillary estate to resolve this issue. In other words, the personal representative would have to open probate in California in order to transfer the piece of property according to the decedent’s wishes. And, because there are strict laws that regulate where an attorney may practice, this means that the personal representative might have to retain counsel in California to assist with the process.
Those who own property outside the state can spare their families this burden with estate planning. For instance, placing out-of-state property in a trust can make sure that personal representatives later have authority to deal with the property without opening an ancillary estate. Also, this rule only applies to real estate, not personal property; so personal representatives have authority under the Arizona Probate Code to effectively deal with personal property that is physically located outside the state. As to personal representatives dealing with this issue when estate planning is no longer an option, however, the best place to start is a meeting with an Arizona probate lawyer.
To speak with an experienced Arizona probate lawyer today give us a call at (480) 818-6912.