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My father passed away,only wrote and signed a letter that stated I was to be POA, Do I have to go through probate?

Tucson, AZ |

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?

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Attorney answers 4


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.

Holographic Will
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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It basically said , I (my dads name) am leaving my daughter (my name) with my possessions and to handle all of my matters. signed and dated

Charles Adam Shultz

Charles Adam Shultz


That is a close call. It sounds like he was leaving you in charge of his property while he was ill. It could be interpreted as leaving everything to you, but its not dead bang a winner in my personal opinion. That said, your step sisters are not heirs. I assume your step mother is dead. If so, intestacy would yield the same result. Talk to a local probate attorney (not Family Law) an attorney whose main practice is probate. Good luck.


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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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.

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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.

James Frederick

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