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Arizona Statutory Allowances

Arizona's statutory laws, i.e. laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governenor, provide three (3) allowances, totalling $37,000 as of July 2014, against the claims of creditors of a decedent:

  • Homestead Allowance: ;$18,000 (A.R.S. § 14-2402)
  • Exempt Property Allowance: $7,000 (A.R.S. § 14-2403)
  • Family Allowance: $12,000 (A.R.S. § 14-2404)

These allowances are applicable to decedents who are domiciled in Arizona. A.R.S. § 14-2401.

Homestead Allowance: $18,000 (A.R.S. § 14-2402)

A. A decedent's surviving spouse is entitled to a homestead allowance of eighteen thousand dollars. If there is no surviving spouse each minor child and each dependent child of the decedent are entitled to a homestead allowance of eighteen thousand dollars divided by the number of minor and dependent children of the decedent.

B. The homestead allowance is exempt from and has priority over all claims against the estate, except expenses of administration.

C. The homestead allowance is chargeable against any benefit or share that passes to the surviving spouse or minor or dependent child by the decedent's will, by nonprobate transfer pursuant to section 14-6102 or by intestate succession, unless it is otherwise provided by the decedent's will or by the governing instrument for a nonprobate transfer. To determine the homestead allowance under this section, a survivorship interest in a joint tenancy of real estate is considered a nonprobate transfer pursuant to section 14-6102.

Exempt Property Allowance: $7,000 (A.R.S. § 14-2403)

A. In addition to the homestead allowance, the decedent's surviving spouse is entitled from the estate to a value that is not more than seven thousand dollars in excess of any security interests in that estate in the following:

  1. Household furniture.
  2. Automobiles.
  3. Furnishings.
  4. Appliances.
  5. Personal effects.

B. If there is no surviving spouse the decedent's minor and dependent children are entitled jointly to the same value as prescribed in subsection A of this section.

C. If encumbered chattels are selected and the value in excess of security interests and that of other exempt property is less than seven thousand dollars or if there is not seven thousand dollars worth of exempt property in the estate, the spouse or minor or dependent children are entitled to any other assets of the estate to the extent necessary to make up the seven thousand dollar value.

D. Rights to exempt property and assets needed to make up a deficiency of exempt property have priority over all claims against the estate except expenses of administration. The right to any assets to make up a deficiency of exempt property abates as necessary to permit earlier payment of the homestead allowance and family allowance. These rights are chargeable against any benefit or share passing to the surviving spouse or minor or dependent children by the decedent's will by a nonprobate transfer pursuant to section 14-6102 or by intestate succession, unless otherwise provided by the decedent's will or by the governing instrument for a nonprobate transfer.

Family Allowance: $12,000 (A.R.S. § 14-2404)

A. The decedent's surviving spouse and minor children whom the decedent was obligated to support and children who were in fact being supported by the decedent are entitled to a reasonable allowance in money out of the estate for their maintenance during the period of administration. This allowance shall not continue for longer than one year if the estate is inadequate to discharge allowed claims. The allowance may be paid as a lump sum or in periodic installments. It is payable to the surviving spouse, if living, for the use of the surviving spouse and minor and dependent children. Otherwise this allowance is payable to the children or to persons who have the care and custody of these children. If a minor child or a dependent child is not living with the surviving spouse, the allowance may be made partially to the child or the child's guardian or other person who has the care and custody of the child and partially to the spouse, as their needs may appear.

B. The family allowance is exempt from and has priority over all claims except expenses of administration and except the homestead allowance.

C. The family allowance is chargeable against any benefit or share passing to the surviving spouse or children by the decedent's will, by a nonprobate transfer pursuant to section 14-6102 or by intestate succession unless otherwise provided by the decedent's will or by the governing instrument for a nonprobate transfer.

D. The death of a person entitled to the family allowance terminates the right to allowances not yet paid.

This brief overview of some important considerations associated with Arizona's statutory allowances is by no means comprehensive. Always seek the advice of a competent professional when making important financial and legal decisions.

Steve Cook is an attorney at Cook & Cook. Although his office is located in Mesa, Arizona, he represents clients throughout the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan area including the following east valley cities: Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Chandler, & Gilbert.

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