I just want to know the basics of the probate process . . . like the deadlines and what to expect ? My father passed away and a family member with first rights is opening probate and I don't trust her to follow the rules . I tried looking at the paperwork for informal probate on line , but doesn't seem to give time restraints . Can I have a basic overview on deadlines throughout the process ? I know they have 30 days to notify all heirs once initial paperwork is approved and then I believe 90 days to do the accounting of assets . I just want to make sure I'm on top of dates so nothing slips past me .
Family Law Attorney
First after probate has been opened and the personal representative has been appointed, you will receive notice and information regarding the probate process. The personal representative will have to publish a notice to creditors for three consecutive weeks in the county in which the decedent resided, and the creditors have up to four months to submit their claims. This is just one of the time frames in the probate process and there are many variable results.
So it is up to you to monitor the probate step by step and if you have concerns about a particular procedure or failure of the personal representative to act, you may then want to consult with a probate attorney for more information.
It is almost impossible to describe all the variables which might affect the time to act. If there are significant assets at stake, you might also want to hire an attorney to advise you throughout the entire process. Generally these fees are not reimbursed by the estate. They would be your responsibility.
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The easiest way to get the basics is to google "probate process in Arizona." That will get you started. Lots of law firms post such information and you might also find some courts that post general outlines. That is the first thing I look for when checking on the probate laws of another state.
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In addition to what has already been said, I would just add that you need to monitor the situation yourself. The Inventory is due in 90 days (as you mentioned). Once you receive that, if you notice major errors, then there are certain things you can do. Also, if you believe that you are not being treated fairly, there are certain things you can do. It really depends on your specific situation.
My general advice is this: Monitor the situation and see what happens. If you accumulate some evidence that the Personal Rep is not handling the estate properly, then you might have sufficient reason to have the court appoint a successor Personal Representative. But, don't jump the gun ,,, unless you believe that the estate is going to be wasted or squandered or some other irreparable damage is going to occur.
And I agree with a previous answer. If you need help, hire an attorney. This sort of thing is really hard to do on your own.