Arizona Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Arizona

Note: This summary is not intended to be all-inclusive of the law of Arizona wills law, but does contain basic and other content.

Who may make a will:

A person who is eighteen years of age or older and who is of sound mind may make a will.

14-2501.

Execution; witnessed wills:

A will shall be:

1. In writing.

2. Signed by the testator or in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction.

3. Signed by at least two people, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after that person witnessed either the signing of the will as described in paragraph 2 or the testator’s acknowledgment of that signature or acknowledgment of the will. 14-2502.

However, requirement in this section, that a witness to a will sign the document within a reasonable time, permits a witness to sign the will after the testator’s death, provided the signing occurs within a reasonable time after witnessing the testator’s signature or acknowledgment of the will. Jung v. Jung (In re Jung), 210 Ariz. 202, 448 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 20, 109 P.3d 97, 2005 Ariz. App. LEXIS 48 (Ct. App. 2005).

Self-proved wills:

A self-proving affidavit as provided by statute may be used at the time of the executiuon of the will to substantiate the vaildity of the execution of the will. 14-2504.

Witnesses; requirements:

A person who is generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will. The signing of a will by an interested witness does not invalidate the will or any provision of it. 14-2505.

Revocation of will; requirements:

A testator may revoke a will in whole or in part:

  1. By executing a subsequent will that revokes the previous will or part expressly or by inconsistency.
  2. By performing a revocatory act on the will if the testator performs the act with this intent or if another person performs the act in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction. For purposes of this paragraph, “revocatory act on the will” includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating or destroying the will or any part of it. A burning, tearing or canceling is a revocatory act on the will whether or not the burn, tear or cancellation touched any of the words on the will.
  3. If a subsequent will does not expressly revoke a previous will, the execution of the subsequent will wholly revokes the previous will by inconsistency if the testator intended the subsequent will to replace rather than supplement the previous will.
  4. The testator is presumed to have intended a subsequent will to replace rather than supplement a previous will if the subsequent will makes a complete disposition of the testator’s estate. If this presumption arises and is not rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, the previous will is revoked and only the subsequent will is operative on the testator’s death.
  5. The testator is presumed to have intended a subsequent will to supplement rather than replace a previous will if the subsequent will does not make a complete disposition of the testator’s estate. If this presumption arises and is not rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, the subsequent will revokes the previous will only to the extent the subsequent will is inconsistent with the previous will and each will is fully operative on the testator’s death to the extent they are not inconsistent.14-2507.

However, Destruction of codicil by testator revoked only the codicil, not the will.  In re Estate of Ivancovich, 151 Ariz. 442, 728 P.2d 661 (Ct. App. 1986).

Incorporating outside document into a will; requirements:

A testator may incorporate a written document into the testator’s will by reference if the following requirements are met:

1. The document exists at the time the testator executes the will.

2. The will’s language manifests the testator’s intent to incorporate this document.

3. The will’s language describes the document with enough specificity to allow its identification. 14-2510.

References to separate lists; requirements:

A will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property other than money and not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will.

To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing shall either be in the testator’s handwriting or be signed by the testator and shall describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty.

The writing may be:

1. Referred to as one to be in existence at the time of the testator’s death.

2. Prepared before or after the execution of the will.

3. Altered by the testator after its preparation.

4. A writing that has no significance apart from its effect on the dispositions made by the will.

14-2513.

The provisions of this section give a testator the ability to dispose of all his or her personal property by separate list or statement except for that property expressly excluded. Burkett v. Mott, 152 Ariz. 476, 733 P.2d 673 (Ct. App. 1986).

Contracts regarding wills; requirements; effect:

A. After December 31, 1994, a person may enter into a contract to make a will or devise or not to revoke a will or devise or to die intestate only by:

1. Provisions of a will that state the material provisions of the contract.

2. An express reference in a will to a contract and extrinsic evidence proving the terms of the contract.

3. A writing signed by the decedent evidencing the contract.

B. The execution of a joint will or mutual wills does not create a presumption of a contract not to revoke the will or wills. 14-2514.

Custodian of will; duties; liability

A. After the death of a testator and on request of an interested person, a person having custody of a will of the testator shall deliver it with reasonable promptness to a person able to secure its probate or, if none is known, to an appropriate court.

B. A person who wilfully fails to deliver a will as required by this section is liable to any person aggrieved for any damages caused by this failure.

C. A person who wilfully refuses or fails to deliver a will after being ordered by the court in a proceeding brought for the purpose of compelling delivery is subject to penalty for contempt of court. 14-2516

Penalty clause for contest; restriction:

A provision in a will purporting to penalize an interested person for contesting the will or instituting other proceedings relating to the estate is unenforceable if probable cause exists for that action. 14-2517


Inside Arizona Last Will and Testament Law