Wills

questions & answers

Question: How do I find out if my mother who passed away had a will?

Answer: Wills are not filed with the court until a probate begins.  I gather you have already searched your mother's papers and any safety deposit boxes she had.  Her attorney should have a copy of her Will if she made one.  Without knowing her attorney's name or finding a will among  her papers, there is no clear cut way to know if she made a Will.  Without a Will, her estate will be distributed according to Arizona's intestate succession law.  The relevant statutes are A.R.S. Section 14-2102 and 14-2103, which describe intestate succession.  If there is a surviving spouse who is the father of your mom's children, the surviving spouse gets the entire estate.  If there is a surviving spouse who is not the parent of the surviving children, the spouse gets one half of the deceased person's own property and none of the the deceased person's share of community property.   The deceased person's share of community property and one half of the deceased person's separate property will be divided among the children.  You can find the statutes on the state legislature's website under the heading "Legislative Council."  Go to http://www.azleg.gov.

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