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Who Are Next Of Kin In Arizona?

Under Arizona law, the term “next of kin” is generally used interchangeably with “heirs at law” for purposes of who inherits from a decedent’s estate when the decedent dies intestate (without a will).

Next of kin heirs at law in Arizona are generally the following people, in the following order:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Descendants
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents

 

 

Who Is Next Of Kin For Inheritance Under Arizona Law?

Next of kin and heirs at law that inherit under Arizona intestacy law depends on the people that survived the decedent.  The following chart shows the next of kin heirs at law that inherit in Arizona under the intestacy statutes, ARS sections 14-2102 and 2103:

Survivors of Decedent

Share of Intestate Estate

Spouse, no descendants

100% of estate and decedent’s ½ of community property to spouse

Descendants, no spouse

100% of estate to descendants

Spouse and descendants (descendants are all descendants of spouse and decedent)

100% of estate and decedent’s ½ of community property to spouse

Spouse and descendants (descendants are not all descendants of decedent with surviving spouse)

– 50% of separate property to       spouse

– 50% of separate property to children and decedent’s ½ community property

Parents, no surviving spouse or descendants

100% of estate to parents

Siblings, but no surviving spouse, descendants, or parents

100% of estate to siblings

Does An Intestate Estate Pass By Representation Under Arizona Law?

Yes, in Arizona any inheritance from an intestate estate passes by representation pursuant to ARS 14-2106.  This means that the estate is divided into as many equal shares as there are surviving descendants in the generation nearest to the decedent that contains one or more surviving descendants, and to deceased descendants in the same generation who left surviving descendants.  For example, surviving children would inherit equal shares, and surviving children of a deceased child of the decedent would split the deceased child’s share.

What Does A Next Of Kin Inherit Under Arizona Law?

A next of kin heir at law will only inherit assets that are a part of decedent’s intestate estate.  Assets that pass outside of probate, such as jointly owned property or bank accounts with pay on death designations and beneficiaries will go to the persons named to receive the property.  See the Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart for an explanation of assets that would be probate (part of the estate) and non-probate assets.

Who Is Next Of Kin For The Purpose Of Being Appointed Personal Representative Of An Estate?

For purposes of serving as the personal representative of an Arizona formal or informal estate, Arizona law provides a list of persons who have priority of appointment in ARS 14-3203:

  1. Whether the proceedings are formal or informal, persons who are not disqualified have priority for appointment in the following order:
  2. The person with priority as determined by a probated will including a person nominated by a power conferred in a will.
  3. The surviving spouse of the decedent who is a devisee of the decedent.
  4. Other devisees of the decedent.
  5. The surviving spouse of the decedent.
  6. Other heirs of the decedent.
  7. If the decedent was a veteran or the spouse or child of a veteran, the department of veterans’ services.
  8. Forty-five days after the death of the decedent, any creditor.
  9. The public fiduciary.

 

120-Hour Survivorship Requirement For Inheritance Rights Under Arizona Law

Arizona law also contains a survivorship requirement for inheritance rights of next of kin and heirs.  Pursuant to ARS 14-2104:

A person who does not survive the decedent by at least one hundred twenty hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, exempt property and intestate succession, and the decedent’s heirs are determined accordingly.

Will The State of Arizona Take A Decedent’s Estate Property?

In the very unlikely event that there are no next of kin heirs at law entitled to a decedent’s intestate estate, the estate will pass to the State of Arizona.  The state laws are designed so that this does not commonly occur.

If a decedent is survived by any relatives – a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, or cousins – someone other than the state of Arizona will inherit the decedent’s estate property.

If you have a question about your next of kin status or rights under Arizona law, an Arizona probate lawyer can help answer your questions.