AZ Statute of Limitations for Contesting a Will

By Beverly Bird

Arizona offers three types of probate proceedings: informal, formal and supervised. Supervised probate is rare and involves continuous court intervention under special circumstances. Most wills are submitted for informal probate, a shorter and usually less expensive process. Probate should be opened within two years of the testator’s death, and objections to the will should also be filed within two years, though there are numerous exceptions.

Before Probate

In Arizona, formal probate is a court process to determine whether or not a will is valid. If you challenge a will before it is submitted for probate, it is barred from informal probate and has to proceed as a formal probate. However, this is not your last chance to object.

During Informal Probate

After a will has been submitted for informal probate, you have four months from the time the court receives it to file an objection and force the matter to open under formal probate instead. If you don’t object during this time, an order is entered by the court to proceed with administration of the estate informally. You can also contest a will at any time while it is in the informal probate process, forcing a formal probate hearing. If you do this, informal probate is essentially frozen until your objection can be heard by a judge and jury. The executor is not permitted to take any further action until the issue is resolved.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

After Probate Closes

After informal probate closes, it is still possible to reopen the matter up to one year later, or up to two years after the testator’s date of death, whichever occurs last. Informal probate distributions to beneficiaries and payments are “conclusive” only unless superseded by an order from the court to open a formal probate or testacy proceeding during this time. However, once formal probate concludes, it is binding.

Other Exceptions

If you are objecting to actions taken by the executor, or the person appointed to probate the estate, pay the debts and make the bequests, you can do this up to three years after the testator’s death. Complaints that the executor abused his power must be filed within six months of the estate closing, however. Complaints that beneficiary distributions from the estate were not made properly can be made within a year of the date of distribution or within three years of the date of death.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Can You Contest a Will After Probate?


Related articles

When Will Heirs Receive an Inheritance After Probate?

Probate is the process by which a court authenticates an individual's will, and grants a personal representative the authority to marshal and distribute the estate's assets. Probate typically lasts many months, but when you receive your inheritance depends on many factors.

Time Limits When Contesting a Will

Estate law is not an area that lends itself well to black-and-white answers. Statutes vary from state to state. Compounding that is the desire of courts to preserve the deceased’s wishes at all reasonable costs. Judges can and do waive statutes of limitation for contesting a will if they believe there is good cause, and most state legislatures have layers built into their rules to account for every possible circumstance.

When Does Last Will & Testament Have to Be Filed in Probate?

When someone dies, leaving a will, it must be filed in the appropriate probate court to be legally effective. The court must verify that it is, indeed, the decedent's will and that it has been property executed under state law. The personal representative, or executor, named in the will cannot begin estate administration until probate has been opened.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Contest a Will in Utah

Wills in Utah pass through the probate process in one of two ways: either formally or informally. The distinction is a ...

How to Contest a Fraudulent Last Will

The probate process is designed to ensure that only valid, accurate wills are enforced by court orders and as such, ...

How to Contest a Last Will & Testament in Arizona

If you're the beneficiary of a deceased person's will or believe you are entitled to inherit, you may contest the will ...

How Long Does One Have to Probate a Will?

Probating a will involves court procedures to supervise the distribution of estate assets to the beneficiaries as ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED