Last time we discussed SB 1499, the Senate’s proposed legislation to update Arizona probate law. In this post, we will devote our attention to the House’s proposed legislation, HB 2424. Like SB 1499, HB 2424 proposes several changes to AZ probate law, although the focus of these changes is quite a bit different from the focus of the Senate’s proposed changes.
HB 2424 strives to heighten fiduciary accountability under the Arizona Probate Code, but instead of increasing judicial oversight, the House Bill gives wards and their families more authority to protect themselves. For instance, HB 2424 creates an extra-judicial committee that families can report to when they perceive problems with the judicial system itself. The bill also creates civil penalties for judges who fail to adequately protect the rights of wards. Also, the bill allows wards to discharge a fiduciary at least one time per year, even without cause.
The idea behind HB 2424 is that wards and their families need greater access to protections, and that they should have extra-judicial support to obtain these protections if necessary. It strives to rein in costs, and provides wards with tools outside the judicial system to help them keep costs down. Supporters of HB 2424 include community activists who argue that this legislation is the only way to improve AZ probate law. Of course, opponents to the bill also have valid arguments, so it is as of yet unclear which way the legislature will eventually come down on the issue.