Arizona Personal Representative

Arizona law imposes a realtively low standard as to who may be a personal representative. In particular, as of August 2011, ARS § 14-3601 only requires:

Prior to receiving letters, a personal representative shall qualify by filing with the appointing court any required bond and a statement of acceptance of the duties of the office.

Duties of a Personal Representative

As of August 2011, ARS § 14-3703 imposes the following general duties upon a personal representative:

A. Except as provided in the will of the decedent, a personal representative is a fiduciary who shall observe the standards of care applicable to trustees as described by sections 14-10804 and 14-10806 and the duties of accounting applicable to trustees as provided in section 14-10813, subsection C. A personal representative is under a duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of any probated and effective will and this title, and as expeditiously and efficiently as is consistent with the best interests of the estate. The personal representative shall use the authority conferred by this title, the terms of the will, if any, and any order in proceedings to which the personal representative is a party for the best interests of successors to the estate.

B. A personal representative shall not be surcharged for acts of administration or distribution if the conduct in question was authorized at the time. Subject to other obligations of administration, an informally probated will is authority to administer and distribute the estate according to its terms. An order of appointment of a personal representative, whether issued in informal or formal proceedings, is authority to distribute apparently intestate assets to the heirs of the decedent if, at the time of distribution, the personal representative is not aware of a pending testacy proceeding, a proceeding to vacate an order entered in an earlier testacy proceeding, a formal proceeding questioning the personal representative's appointment or fitness to continue, or a supervised administration proceeding. Nothing in this section affects the duty of the personal representative to administer and distribute the estate in accordance with the rights of claimants, the surviving spouse, any minor children, any dependent children and any pretermitted child of the decedent as described elsewhere in this title.

C. Except as to proceedings that do not survive the death of the decedent, a personal representative of a decedent domiciled in this state at death has the same standing to sue and be sued in the courts of this state and the courts of any other jurisdiction as the decedent had immediately prior to death.

However, other duties that a personal respresentative is required to perform in Arizona are contianed in Article 7 of Title 14 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

This brief overview of some important considerations associated with personal representatives basis is by no means comprehensive. Always seek the advice of a competent professional when making important financial and legal decisions.

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