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How to Distribute some Property without Probate Court
In Arizona, probate court may not be necessary to pass on property of a person who died, whether or not there is
a will. Property that can be transferred without court involvement includes:
- property held in joint tenancy that passes to the surviving joint tenants;
- property that is payable to a named beneficiary upon death, like life insurance;
- community property that goes to the surviving spouse;
- property held in trust that goes according to the trust terms.
Even if property was not passed on in one of these 4 ways, you may not need to go to probate court for the
- Salary and Wages: At any time after death, the surviving spouse may collect salary or wages up to $5000 that
was due to the person who died by completing an affidavit and giving it to the employer.
- Personal Property: If the total value of the personal property is under $30,000, the legal heirs can complete
a document called "Affidavit of Successor to Personal Property" to change title to the property, such as bank
accounts and vehicles. Take the affidavit to whoever has control of the legal title, like the bank or the motor
vehicle department. This may be done no sooner than 30 days after death.
- Real Property: If the total of the dead person's equity in real property is not more than $50,000 and the
property is not held in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, title to the real property may be transferred
by Affidavit. To do this, the legal heir, or the person who gets the property under the will, must file in court
no sooner than 6 months after death an "Affidavit of Successor to Real Property." A certified copy must also be
recorded with the County Recorder's office.