The Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust: Avoiding Probate

In short, a revocable trust will help you avoid probate altogether.  Probate is a process by which the Court proves the validity of an individual’s will.  A trust will bypass this entire process by taking the remaining estate and placing it in the trust, thus avoiding probate and its lengthy process.

By statute in Arizona, probate has certain time limits, most importantly being the four-month period following publication of Notice to Creditors.  There is a three-week span that notice of the individual’s death must be published.  Typically, probate can take six months at minimum.

There are, however, factors that may affect the length of time.  The biggest unknown factor is the amount of creditor claims that the decedent had at the time of their death.  Oftentimes, knowing the existence of these creditors and the debts they hold will make the process easier.  Not knowing their existence, however, is why there is a requirement to publish notice to see if any creditors surface.  Similarly, the next factor is whether there is anyone who may choose to contest the will.  This may include an individual who was “promised” something from the decedent’s estate, or a family member who believes they are entitled to more than they are bequeathed.

The next factor is the time that the attorney administering the probate for the estate is able to give to this process.  If the attorney is quite busy with a heavy load of estate planning and/or probate services, while they may be diligent under the letter of the law, the fact of the matter is that they would not be able to focus solely on your probate in order to get it taken care of quickly as humanly possible.  Along those lines, the last factor is whether the executor (or personal representative) of the decedent’s will has experience performing these duties or their efficiency in completing each step required by law in Arizona.  If someone has done these types of things before, they may know how to better navigate this process and thus be able to do each thing rather quickly.

The size of one’s estate will also be a key guiding factor in determining how long a probate process may last.  If the decedent’s estate is rather large and valuable, more digging into the intricacies into Arizona’s estate tax language may be required, thus lengthening the time that will elapse in this process.  Thus, at Dana Law Group, we always tell you that a probate administration may take upwards of six months, and have been known to last up to 18 months depending upon the aforementioned factors.

By establishing a revocable trust, your assets will flow directly into the trust upon your death with the pourover provision that Dana Law Group drafts into your Last Will and Testament.  This revocable trust will allow your heirs to bypass most of the time that a probate administration can eat up before your heirs may inherit your estate.