Managing a Trust or Probate Administration While Living Outside the State of Arizona.
As Arizona probate administration attorneys we receive many calls from individuals who do not live in Arizona, but have been nominated to serve as either a Trustee or Personal Representative. We live in an ever-increasingly mobile society. Because of this trend, many children do not live in the same state where they grew up or where their parents currently reside. Typical questions are whether they can serve in such a role living outside Arizona and whether they should. The answer to both of these questions is absolutely yes.
Many of our clients have chosen a child or other trustworthy person to become successor Trustee of their living trust or executor of their Last Will and Testament, even though such person does not reside in Arizona.
However, we strongly advise such a person to hire a qualified probate and trust attorney to help them with the administration they have been tasked to complete.
Arizona probate administration may take the form of being :
- a formal probate administration, which may require you to attend hearings in Arizona. For most hearings however you may petition the court to attend telephonically, with your local attorney attending physically;
- informal probate administration, which is the most common type of probate administration conducted in the State of Arizona. With a competent attorney on your side, you should be able to handle most administration tasks and duties living outside of Arizona; or
- small estate administrations, which are only available if you meet certain statutory requirements and even then it may be better to go through an informal probate administration, depending on the circumstances.
A qualified probate and trust attorney can explain all the details regarding these three Arizona probate administration options to you.
A trust administration is very similar to a probate administration in Arizona, except it is private without any court involvement. The rare exception is if an interested person wishes to bring the trust administration into court through some type contested proceeding.
Similar to an informal probate administration, most trust administration tasks can be performed, while the Trustee is living outside of Arizona, especially if they are represented by a competent, local attorney.
Our firm focuses on family-based estate planning, and therefore, we encourage our client’s to choose a successor Trustee or Personal Representative who is the best overall person to treat all beneficiaries fairly and with respect, a person who is honest, trustworthy and does not create unnecessary contention or polarization within a family, and a person who is willing and able to seek professional guidance from qualified advisors such as CPAs, financial advisors and attorneys during an administration process.
These criteria sometimes dictate that a parent not choose a child or loved one who lives close by or in the same city or even state. It also means that the person chosen may not be the oldest child, or the most educated child, and that is all ok. It’s more important to choose the right person rather than the person who lives the closest to you when picking a trustee or personal representative.
So, if you have been chosen to serve as a successor Trustee or Executor of a loved one’s estate and you don’t live in our great State of Arizona, congratulations! With proper legal representation, your service should go fairly smoothly and not disrupt your life outside Arizona too much.
If you have any questions regarding Arizona probate administration or Arizona trust administration or any other legal issues, please call the attorneys at Rowley, Chapman & Barney, Ltd. at (480) 833-1113. Kenneth C. Barney is a partner and probate administration attorney with the law firm of Rowley, Chapman & Barney Ltd.