TN 15 (12-14)

GN 02315.039 Arizona Small Estates

A. Policy for successor as legal representative

1. Requirements of successor in Arizona

Section 14-3971(B) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-3971(B) (2014), provides in part:

Thirty days after the death of a decedent, any person indebted to the decedent . . . shall make payment of the indebtedness . . . to a person claiming to be the successor of the decedent upon being presented an affidavit made by or on behalf of the successor and stating that all of the following are true:

  • thirty days have elapsed since the death of the decedent;

  • either:

    1. An application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is not pending and a personal representative has not been appointed in any jurisdiction and the value of all personal property in the decedent’s estate, wherever located, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) as valued as of the date of death; or

    2. The personal representative was discharged, or more than one year has elapsed since a closing statement has been filed, and the value of all personal property in the decedent’s estate (wherever located) less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed $75,000 as valued as of the date of the affidavit.

  • the claiming successor is entitled to payment or delivery of the property.

2. Arizona good acquittance

Section 14-3972(A) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-3972(A) (2014), provides in part:

“The person paying . . . personal property . . . pursuant to affidavit is discharged and released to the same extent as if he dealt with a personal representative of the decedent. He is not required to see to the application of the personal property . . . or to inquire into the truth of any statement in the affidavit.”

Payment of the underpayment to the person shown on the signed original affidavit in compliance with Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-3971 (2014), discharges SSA from further liability for such payment, thus giving SSA good acquittance.

B. Policy for public fiduciary as legal representative

In cases where no person is willing to administer a decedent’s estate, the court shall appoint a public fiduciary for the estate. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-5602 (2014).

1. Requirements

A public fiduciary may qualify as legal representative of decedent's estate. He or she may have powers and duties respecting a decedent's estate in either of two ways:

  • if the gross assets of an estate do not exceed $20,000, the public fiduciary, without the issuance of letters testamentary or letters of administration, may act as administrator of the estate upon filing with the court a statement showing the name and domicile of the decedent, the date and place of death, and the name, address and relationship of each known heir or devisee. The filing of such statement shall have the same effect as the issuance of formal letters of administration. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-5605(A) (2014). (NOTE: Obtain a court- certified copy of the required statement as proof of filing.); or

  • if the gross assets of the estate exceed $20,000, the public fiduciary may file with the court a verified petition to preserve and protect the estate property where necessary. If the court grants the petition, the public fiduciary may collect the decedent’s property located in the county, and institute an inquiry into any matter affecting the decedent’s estate. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-5606(A) (2014). (NOTE: Obtain a court-certified copy of the petition and court order approving the petition.)

2. Good acquittance for Arizona public fiduciary

Payment of the underpayment to a public fiduciary in compliance with Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 14-5605 and 14-5606 (2014) discharges SSA from further liability for such payment, thus giving SSA good acquittance for the underpayment. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 14-5605(A) and 14-5606(H) (2014).


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202315039
GN 02315.039 - Ar