Collection of Personal Property After Death

When a loved one has died, there are avenues to pursue in order to collect their property and monies owed to them without having to go through a long probate process.  Of course, in order to do so, one must meet certain requirements.  Pursuant to ARS § 14-3971, a person is able to collect a small estate of a person upon the drafting of an Affidavit for Collection of All Personal Property or Affidavit for Transfer of Title of Real Property.

For personal property, such as money owed, the property sought, wherever located, cannot exceed $50,000.00 after deducting all liens and encumbrances.  Additionally at least 30 days need to have passed since the loved ones death.  You must show that you are the person who has a legal right to submit an affidavit claiming the property  because you were named in the will as to receive the property or the person did not have a will and you are their heir.  Heir can receive in the following order: first is the surviving spouse, next is the child if no surviving spouse or there is a spouse but they are not your parent and your parent had property which is outside the purview of their joint community property, third is a parent if no surviving spouse or child, or lastly a brother or sister if no surviving spouse or child or parent.  If there are people who are above you in that order, they must have assigned all of their interest in that property to you which can be proven by a tangible document.  You will have to avow that to the best of your knowledge that on one has filed an Application or Petition for Appointment of a Personal Representative and no Application or Petition has been granted in any state or that if an application has been granted that the Personal Representative has been discharged or more than one year has elapsed since a closing statement has been filed and the amount does not exceed $50,000.00.  You will have to describe each pierce of property you are claiming, the value, and the location of the property.  Or, if the property is monies owed, you must describe the debt, the amount owed, and the name of the person who owes the debt.  Additionally, spouses can use this affidavit to collect up to $5,000.00 in wages owed to the deceased.

For real property, such as a house, located in Arizona, cannot exceed $75,000.00 after deducting all liens and encumbrances.  Additionally, at least 6 months need to have passed since the loved ones death.  You will have to state whether the person who died was living in Maricopa County, Arizona at the time of death or where they were city and state that they were living in at the time of death and that they owned real property that is located in Maricopa County, Arizona.  You will have to state what your relationship to the deceased was and give a legal description of the property as written on the deed of title for the property.  Additionally, you will have to show what interest the person who died had in the property, thus proving how the title was held.  You will have to avow that to the best of your knowledge that on one has filed an Application or Petition for Appointment of a Personal Representative and no Application or Petition has been granted in any state or that if an application has been granted that the Personal Representative has been discharged or more than one year has elapsed since a closing statement has been filed and the amount does not exceed $75,000.00.  You will also have to attest to the fact that funeral expenses, expenses of last illness, and all unsecured debts of the person who died have been paid.  Then you will have to show why you are entitled to the property, i.e. you are the heir lawfully entitled to take the property as detailed in the personal property section above.  Lastly, state that no other person has a right to the interest of the deceased in described property and that there are no federal or Arizona estate tax due on the person who died.

In order to collect personal property, all you need to do is take the affidavit to the person who has the personal property.  If you are claiming title to a vehicle, the MVD will transfer title to you upon payment of any required fees.  It is not necessary to file any papers or pay any fees to the Court to use the affidavit.

In order to collect real property, you must take the affidavit, original will if one exists or certified copy of the will from the court record, a certified death certificate and a copy of the closing statement if there was a probate in a county other than Maricopa County to the Probate Registrar at any of the Superior Court locations.  There will be a fee to file for this process.  If the Probate Registrar determines that your affidavit is complete, they will issue a certified copy of the affidavit, at which time then you must record the certified copy with the county recorder in the county where the real property is located.

Many of the required documents and assistance can be found using the Superior Courts website and the Self-Service Center: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/index.asp

This blog is meant to be informative and does not constitute legal advice, and while I do encourage others to post and discuss this topic, I can not and will not respond to any questions as it can create a conflict of interest and possible ethical violations.

 

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