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WHAT HAPPENS IF I DIE WITHOUT A WILL IN ARIZONA?

Under Arizona law, if you or your spouse dies without a will, then statutory default provisions kick in governing how the estate should be distributed.

Surviving Spouse

A.R.S. § 14-2102 governs distribution of the estate if the decedent was married at the time of their death and left no will. If there is a surviving spouse, ARS § 14-2102 provides:

The following part of the intestate estate, as to both separate property and the one-half of community property that belongs to the decedent, passes to the surviving spouse:

1. If there is no surviving issue or if there are surviving issue all of whom are issue of the surviving spouse also, the entire intestate estate.

2. If there are surviving issue one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate separate property and no interest in the one-half of the community property that belonged to the decedent.

A.R.S. § 14-2103 governs distribution of the estate if the decedent was NOT married at the time of their death and left no will. If there is no surviving spouse, ARS § 14-2103 provides:

Any part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent’s surviving spouse under § 14-2102 or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse passes in the following order to the following persons who survive the decedent:

Although Arizona has default provisions governing distribution of an estate without a will, these provisions can go against how you wish to have your estate distributed. Furthermore, dying without a will can open several doors leading to complex probate issues, resulting in great stress and expense on your loved ones. In order to ensure your final wishes are served upon your death, you are strongly encouraged to seek the services of an experienced attorney. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson will help you choose which is best for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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