My father passed away 2 weeks ago, I found a letter that he had written that said he left everything to me. The note was dated 5 days before he passed away, but was not notarized. My father didnt have much just the home that we lived in together and his vehicles. No extra ins. policies or savings accounts. I do have 2 step sisters and they both have told me they are not going to contest the letter. So I want to know if I have to go through probate? And what is the next step to start getting his affairs handled?
Arizona recognizes holographic wills. My only concern is that you said the letter appoints you as power of attorney. That is generally a term for life time control of assets. The letter needs to be looked at by a probate attorney to confirm it qualifies as a Will. If so, you can probate the Will to have title to your dad's property to pass to you. You need to consult with an Arizona probate attorney.
A will that does not comply with section 14-2502 is valid as a holographic will, whether or not witnessed, if the signature and the material provisions are in the handwriting of the testator.
Arizona Requirements for a Will - RS, Section 14-2503
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Family Law Attorney
I am sorry for your loss. The document that your father left is recognized as a holographic will and is valid. If the value of the home is under $75,000 (value meaning cash value per the assessor minus any liens and encumbrances against the property), the property can be transferred by Affidavit. Similarly, if the personal property is valued under $50,000, it also can be transferred to you by an Affidavit. I do not know if Tucson has a self-service center, but you can go to the online self-service center for Maricopa County Superior Court and look up the forms and instructions for Probate-Small Estate, to see how you can handle the matter yourself.
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Estate Planning Attorney
Sounds as though it may qualify as a holographic will and per the other attorney who answered AZ recognizes such wills. I would contact the local office to see if they can assist and you can determine if you need an attorney.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
2 lawyers agree
I agree with my colleagues. You have received good advice, thus far. You will need a probate attorney to assist you with the probate process, however. Probate IS needed, in order to get title to the home transferred from your father's estate to you.
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