Articles Tagged with inheritance

Proceedings in the Superior Court to contest a will or trust are relatively uncommon. This is very good because these proceedings can be hotly and emotionally contested. The damage done can alienate family members for decades. In some cases, the damage can never be repaired.

Sometimes Will or Trust contests arise when the Will or Trust document is claimed to be defective in some way. The Court must determine if the document is legally sufficient and, if so, what it’s terms are.   Many times, however, the Will or Trust does comply with legal requirements but it is claimed that the document does not accurately reflect the decedent’s wishes due to the decedent’s lack of capacity or due to undue influence exerted over the decedent by another person. These cases are often more difficult. A few of the circumstances that might lead to a contest of a decedent’s estate plan are:

  1. Where heirs who normally would inherit have been omitted.

Clients sometimes express a concern that the State of Arizona not end up with their property after they die. This can sometimes happen but it is unusual. ARS §14-2105 provides that the State of Arizona takes only where no other person is qualified to claim an estate.   More frequently, however, the State of Arizona determines who gets your property and who takes care of you—without consultation with you or consideration of your wishes. This can happen in several ways:

  1. If you do not have a Will. Where there is no Will or other estate plan document such as a Living Trust, Arizona law decides who gets your property and who will handle the probate of your estate. Arizona’s Intestate Succession statutes are found at ARS§ 14-2101 et. seq. These statutes determine who gets the property of a decedent if there is no Will or other estate planning document.
  2. If you enter into a marriage. A marriage can partially revoke an estate plan entered into prior to marriage so that a new spouse is not unintentionally disinherited. ARS§ 14-2301