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Rettelle Law PLC is proud to offer the following general information:


Handling the financial affairs of a deceased loved one can be both difficult and confusing.  Rettelle Law PLC can assist you in maneuvering through the probate court system as well as inform you of circumstances when probate can be avoided.  Rettelle Law PLC is also able to advise clients on how to administer both trust and probate estates.  A lot of misinformation circulates about this subject and it is often portrayed as a sinister and scary subject.  While it can be confusing at below are a few things to understand about the probate process.

Probate is a court proceeding by which a Will is proved to be valid or invalid.  In Arizona the Superior Court monitors all legal proceedings related to a deceased person’s (decedent) estate, including ensuring that the decedent’s liabilities and bills (debts) are paid and their assets are distributed in accordance with both the law and their wishes.

A person who dies “testate” is one who has a valid Will in place when they die and their Estate passes to their divisees (people who they have designated to inherit).  To die “intestate” means that no such valid document exists and in that case a person’s heirs (those legally entitled to inherit) are the beneficiaries of the Estate.  In Arizona, both testate and intestate probates are handled by the Superior Court.  It is also possible for a decedent to leave a Will behind, but for various reasons the document does not meet the necessary qualifications to be a valid Will, and therefore they will be deemed to have died intestate.

In addition to knowing whether a probate action is testate or intestate, Rettelle Law PLC can help you determine whether the probate is a “formal” one or an “informal” one.  The vast majority of probate matters in Arizona are informal.  This means that there is a valid Will and there are currently no contested matters.  A “registrar” (a Judge, clerk of the court or a court commissioner) of the Probate Court will oversee the administration of an informal probate, however, that usually is limited to verifying that all necessary documents and forms are filed and providing to the Personal Representative (formerly known as the Executor) a certified letter from the Court granting them the authoritiy to act on behalf of the Estate.  A Formal probate is one where there is some dispute or decision that needs to be made by a Judge related to the administration of the decedent’s estate.  This can range from a simple question of who is the properly names Personal Representative to whether the Will is valid or invalid. 

Rettelle Law PLC can help you determine whether a loved one had a valid Will under Arizona law and file all the appropriate documents with the Court as well as represent you at any formal hearing. Rettelle Law PLC can also advise Personal Representatives on their duties and obligations such as notification and payment to creditors of the Estate, distribution of assets, the filing of the proper state and federal tax notification forms as well as dealing with hiers and beneficiaries of the Estate.

Rettelle Law PLC can also help you determine whether an Estate can be managed or assets collected without the need for a Probate proceeding.  Arizona law allows that if a decedent’s Estate is of a small enough value that the assets may be collected and distributed by using a Small Estate Affidavit or a Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property.  The use of suxh affidavits is much more economical and does not require any court filings or hearings.  If the decedent’s Estate meets the necessary criteria, Rettelle Law PLC can draft the necessary affidavits and give advice on how they may be used.

Many people now use Trusts in conjunction with Wills to manage their Estates.  A Trustee is the person named in a Trust document to administer the Trust upon the death of the decedent.  A Trustee, just like Personal Representative, has certain duties and obligations related to the administration of the Trust.  Rettelle Law PLC can provide assistance and counsel to Trustees to better understand their obligations and duties in administering a Trust Estate. 

Rettelle Law PLC also provides litigation assistance in the areas of Adult Guardianships, Conservatorships.  A Guardianship and Conservatrship is necessary in one of two situation.  The first is when a previously handicapped minor child reaches the age of 18 and will need to have someone appointed to continue to make financial and personal decisions on their behalf.  The Second is when a previously able bodied adult suffers some sort of medical, physical or psychological event which makes them unable to make decisions that are in their best interest or could put themselves at risk and they have no previously executed Powers of Attorney designating someone to act on their behalf in such a circumstance.   

Rettelle Law PLC has represented trustees administrators, personal representatives, beneficiaries and others who are involved in controversies related to the administration of both trust and probate estate. 

At Rettelle Law PLC, the goal is to provide comprehensive assistance to personal representatives, trustees and/or beneficiaries in dealing with the issues that arise while administering the probate or trust estate in an efficient and sensitive manner.



In a perfect world everyone would have planned for their future and would have made arrangements for their care in the event they become incapacitated.  They would have executed powers of attorney for both their financial and medical care and they would have completed a living will and spoken to their family members about their wishes.  Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and far too many people put off this type of planning until it is too late.  Rettelle Law PLC can help in just such a situation.

If a loved one is no longer able to care for themselves or make decisions that are in their best interest it is time for someone to step in and assume that role.  Without executed powers of attorney, the only way to obtain the necessary authority to care for another person is through a guardianship and/or conservatorship proceeding through the court. 

However, not every case requires both a guardianship and a conservatorship.  The attorney at Rettelle Law can help you determine what degree of care and assistance the incapacitated person requires and what level of independence they can maintain.  It may be that they only need help managing their financing,  making sure that their bills are paid on time and ensuring that no one takes financial advantage of them.  Or it may be that they are no longer able to live independently because of physical limitations, but they can still make major decisions regarding the level of medical care they desire.  Every case is different.

While admitting a loved one to an Alzheimer’s unit of a hospital or a nursing facility does not require special powers beyond those of a Guardianship or Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney, Arizona law does require special authority in order for a Guardian to admit an incapacitated person to a level one mental health facility.  Rettelle Law can help you determine whether such authority is necessary to provide a safe and secure environment for the incapacitated person or to allow for the establishment or modification of a medication regime.

Making the decision to take over some or all of the care for a loved one is often the most heart-rending and sometimes heart breaking decision one has to make.  While Rettelle Law  PLC cannot eliminate the emotional impact of this decision, Judie can help you through the legal process so you can stay focused on providing the loving care.


Rettelle Law PLC also represents clients in all areas of Family Law matters ranging from legal separation, divorce, child support, modifications of parenting plans, domestic violence or any issues that impact your family.  

Rettelle Law PLC understands that family law matters can be especially difficult and emotional and does everything possible to help minimize the trauma and drama during this disputes.  Our goal is to represent your interests while at the same time taking care not to increase the level of acomony between the parties.  Rettelle Law PLC understands that often times the end of a marriage does not mean the end of interaction between the parties, especially when there are children that will need to be co-parented for years to come.


Call to set up an initial consultation!

Rettelle Law PLC
5045 E. Broadway Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 325-1288

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