Phoenix Estate Planning Attorneys
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The Laws of Intestate Succession in Arizona

At Thies & Lihn, PLLC, we cannot stress enough the importance of having a will to protect your assets. While the thought of a loved one’s death may be difficult, having a will prepared can ensure that a loved one’s assets enter into the right hands and maintains the family’s legacy appropriately.

In Arizona, we have what is called “intestate succession” laws. This means that inheritors of a person’s estate will go to the closest relatives of the deceased. The primary reason for choosing to create a will is to prevent this and make sure that the assets will go to the desired beneficiaries.

What Assets Are Included in Intestate Succession?

If a person passes away without a will, he or she will be considered “intestate” and all of the assets will be apportioned according to the laws of intestacy succession through a court process. According to the law, those heirs are the immediate descendants—the person’s children—unless otherwise specified by a will. There are some assets, usually government-related finances, such as 401(k)’s, that allow us to designate beneficiaries without needing to fill out a will.

These are the types of assets that are not affected by intestate succession:

  • Life insurance
  • Retirement account funds
  • Property in a living trust
  • Property owned jointly
  • Bank accounts payable-on-death
  • Real estate transferred upon death
  • Vehicles to be transferred upon death

These are the assets that will pass on to the joint owner or those with a stake in ownership. For spouses, the laws provide that spouses will receive any properties or assets that were considered “community property,” or all assets shared during the marriage. For example, if a couple decides to divorce, and one of the spouses remarries and dies without a will, then half of the assets go to their children. Community property obtained during that marriage will also go to the first spouse.

Speak with a Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney!

Having a will in place is a crucial part of planning for the future and ensuring your legacy is adequately taken care of. Do not trust the courts to look after your best interests—they are only doing what is reasonably fair and appropriate in these situations. They do not have intimate knowledge about your personal wishes and desires to protect your legacy. At Thies & Lihn, PLLC, we can offer you legal counsel through the estate planning and will creation process. We have 30 years of combined experience and can use that insight to prepare for the future.

Call our firm today! (602) 900-9860.