The Arizona probate court does not always supervise the probate process. In fact, supervised administration is much less common than unsupervised administration. Unsupervised administration is the usual way that probate estates are administered, so unless the will or the Arizona probate court says otherwise, every estate goes through probate without supervision. Nevertheless, even in an unsupervised administration, any interested person can petition the court for supervised administration to protect his or her interest in the estate.
Supervised administration is where the Arizona probate court formally supervises the estate’s administration. Under a supervised administration, the court can order inventories, appraisals, and accountings at any time, to which the personal representative has to submit. Further, if the administration is supervised, personal representatives cannot make any distribution without first obtaining the court’s permission. Because it is expensive and it requires heavy involvement from the court, supervised administration is quite rare, but the court can decide to supervise a theretofore unsupervised administration upon the petition of an interested party.
Generally speaking, interested parties will request a formal testacy proceeding before they will request fully supervised administration. Formal testacy proceedings are commonly used for will contests and disputes between personal representatives and creditors. With formal testacy proceedings, the Arizona probate court supervises only the matter at hand, and then the proceeding returns to unsupervised administration. Where the formal testacy proceeding does not resolve the matter, however, or if the interested party continues to have issues, then the court can decide to supervise the administration.
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