Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Arizona

we've been through the 4 months of probate, so i get this letter from the lawyer that is handling the estate saying that now the assets have to go through the court process. is this true?

also there was some money released from life insurance policies and put in my deceased mom's account which my sister is the 2nd signer on the account. me and my sister have equal powers(poa,co-trustees) from the court. how can i check the history of my mom's account? the bank won't let me look at them.

thanks for your anwser........

Asked on 9/15/10, 7:19 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Donald Scher Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.

Probate is the process whereby estates are administered under court supervision and it is the responsibility of the court to see that the expenses, claims and taxes owed are paid, before the distribution of the assets of the estate is made according to the Will (if there is one) or according to state law.

You state that you and your sister have "equal powers (poa, co-trustees)" but this does not make any sense. POAs cease to be of any force or effect at the instant that the principal dies.

Trustees act under the authority of a trust agreement, and outside of the purview of the probate court. The Court appoints a person or persons to act as Personal Representative of the estate and that is the person who has the legal authority and obligation to deal with the assets, liabilities, expenses and income of the estate. Proceeds of life insurance policies should have been paid to the designated beneficiaries. If no beneficiary is named or the named beneficiary is the estate of the deceased, then the proceeds are an asset of the estate and subject to probate administration.

4 months is the time allowed for creditors and others to make claims against the estate and no probate can proceed before the time period has run.

If you have issues or questions, you should retain an attorney to consult with and learn what your rights, duties and obligations are during the probate of this estate.

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Answered on 9/20/10, 7:57 am

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