Thursday, February 11, 2010

Arizona Homestead Allowance, Exempt Property Allowance, and Family Allowance

Under Arizona law, if the decedent was domiciled in Arizona, the surviving spouse can claim a Homestead Allowance in the amount of $18,000. If there is no surviving spouse, each minor child and each dependent child is entitled to an equal share of the $18,000. The surviving spouse is also entitled to an Exempt Property Allowance in the amount of $7,000. If there is no surviving spouse, each minor child and each dependent child are entitled jointly to the $7,000. Finally, a surviving spouse, as well as minor and dependent children, are entitled to a Family Allowance, which is a "reasonable allowance" for maintenance during the period of administration. Similar to owning a share in community property, this protects against disinheritance by the testator since they are rights conferred by statute. In addition, because these allowances take precedence over creditors' claims except expenses of administration, they can protect the family of the deceased against creditors.

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