Does a Will Avoid Probate?

Not in all circumstances.  In Arizona, probate is necessary if a person dies with real property titled in his or her name that exceeds $100,000 in equity value, personal property that exceeds $75,000 in net value or unpaid wages of more than $5,000 after death.  The need for probate is not determined by whether or not the decedent had a Will.  It is determined by the type of property the decedent owned at the time of death and how that property was held.  Probate is not necessary for assets held as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship,” paid on death, beneficiary deed, or assets governed by a contractual designation of beneficiary such as life insurance or 401(k) plan.  Small estates may be handled by means of a special affidavit.