Who Can Serve As Personal Representative Of an Arizona Estate?

The basic requirements for serving as a personal representative of an Arizona estate are that the personal representative is:

  • At least 18 years old; and,
  • Of sound mind.

AZ Rev. Stat. § 14-3203.

Who Cannot Serve as Personal Representative Of an Arizona Estate?

A person is not qualified to serve as personal representative of an Arizona estate if they are under 18, not of sound mind, a foreign corporation, or, in formal proceedings, “a person whom the court finds unsuitable.”  AZ Rev. Stat. § 14-3203.

If the qualifications of the personal representative are challenged, then the court will hold a hearing to determine who is entitled to appointment. All interested persons must be sent notice of the hearing.  AZ Rev. Stat. § 14-3414.

What Is the Definition Of Personal Representative In Arizona?

Under Arizona law, a personal representative includes an executor, an administrator, a successor personal representative, a special administrator and persons who perform substantially the same function under the law governing their status.  A general personal representative excludes a special administrator.  AZ Rev Stat § 14-1201(47).

The term “personal representative” is basically a catch-all term used to refer to an estate fiduciary.

Who Has Priority To Serve As Personal Representative In Arizona?

Whether the proceedings are formal or informal, persons who are not disqualified have priority for appointment as personal representative in the following order:

  1. The person with priority as determined by a probated will including a person nominated by a power conferred in a will.
  2. The surviving spouse of the decedent who is a devisee of the decedent.
  3. Other devisees of the decedent.
  4. The surviving spouse of the decedent.
  5. Other heirs of the decedent.
  6. If the decedent was a veteran or the spouse or child of a veteran, the department of veterans’ services.
  7. Forty-five days after the death of the decedent, any creditor, except a funeral director or funeral establishment owner who has control of the decedent’s remains.
  8. The public fiduciary.

AZ Rev Stat § 14-3203

In sum, if the decedent died testate (with a valid will), the person nominated in the will to serve as personal representative has priority to serve.  Of course, they must be qualified to do so.  If they do not serve, or if the decedent died intestate, then the remaining persons set forth in the statute have priority to serve in the order listed.

Arizona Probate and Trust Information