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Arizona Superior Court in Pima County
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Terms and Definitions

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Probate terms and definitions
  A 5

Acceptance

A written promise of a person to serve as guardian, carry out the duties of  a guardian, and obey the laws that apply to a guardian.

Accounting

A detailed written explanation of everything that has been received and paid out by a conservator, personal representative, or trustee.

Affidavit

A written statement on any subject that is signed and sworn to before a notary public or other official authorized by law to administer oaths.

Affirm

To state that everything contained in a statement is true, and that if it is not the person making the statement may be punished for the crime of  perjury or making a false affidavit.

Allowance for Exempt Property

The amount of property that a surviving husband or wife, or, if there is none, a dependent child may receive in place of personal property items such as furniture, cars, jewelry, etc.

Allowance in lieu of Homestead

The amount of property that a surviving husband or wife, or, if there is none, a dependent child may receive as a matter of right. Although homestead suggests the idea of land, land may not be involved.

Appointee

A person named by a court to act as conservator, guardian, personal representative, or trustee.

Appointment

The action of a court that names a person to act as a conservator, guardian personal representative, or trustee.

Assessment Rolls

The list of pieces of real property (land) maintained by the county assessor for use in connection with property taxes.

Asset

Any kind of property that can be owned and has value.

Attorney-in-fact

A person who is given the right to deal with another person's property or  to make medical decisions for that person by a written document called a  power of attorney.

  B 5

Beneficiary

A person entitled to receive income or other property that belonged to a person who has died, that is part of a trust, or is paid by an insurance company.

Bequest

A gift made by the will of a person who has died.

Bond

As used here, a bond is a kind of insurance that is purchased by a guardian or conservator to insure that the property of a person that is being managed by the guardian or conservator will be replaced if the guardian or conservator does something wrong that causes it to be lost.

  C 5

Certified Copy

A copy of a court document stamped by the clerk of the court to show that it is a true and complete copy of the original document in the court's file.

Chose in Action

A type of legal right.

Comfort Care Services

Treatment given to attempt to protect and enhance the quality of life without artificially prolonging life.

Consent

A written statement that the person signing it does not object to a judge's signing an order that something can be done.

Conservatorship

A legal arrangement ordered by a court to protect property of a person under 18 years of age or an adult who lacks the ability to take care of his own property.

Custodial Parent

The parent who has been given the right by a court to have the person's child live with him and not the child's other parent.

  D 5

Decedent

A person who has died.

Declaration

A statement that may be oral or written. As used here, it is a written statement.

Delinquency

As used here, this term means that something is not done when it is supposed to be done.

Designated

To be named by a court or in a written document.

Devise

As used here, "devise" means to give something to someone else in a will when it is used as a verb. When it is used as a noun, "devise" means the gift that a person receives from a decedent in a will.

Devisee

A person who receives a gift from a decedent in a will.

Discharge

As used here, "discharge" means one of two things: (1) to carry out the duties given to a guardian or conservator, or (2) to be relieved of liability for acting as a guardian or conservator.

Distributed

Paid out of an estate.

Domicile

The one place that a person chooses as home and has the intention of returning to if this person ever leaves.

  E 5

Elder Abuse Registry

A list maintained by the Arizona Attorney General listing the names of individuals and businesses that have been accused of abusing, neglecting, or exploiting incapacitated or vulnerable adults.

Encumbrances

Claims against property such as deeds of trust or mortgages on land or houses.

Enterprise

A business.

Estate

All of the property that belongs to a person, whether living or dead.

Execution of Power of Attorney

The signing of a written document (power of attorney) that gives another person the right to deal with the signer's property or make medical decisions for the signer.

Exemption

To be excused from having to meet a particular requirement.

Exhibit

A document attached to another document that explains or illustrates something in the main document.

Expenditures

Payments of money.

  F 5

Family Allowance

The amount of property that a surviving husband or wife, or, if there is none, a dependent child may receive for support from a decedent's estate. In most cases, the amount is established by Arizona Law and is currently set at $12,000 paid in a lump sum or 12 monthly payments of $1,000 each.

Felony

A serious crime. Sometimes this is defined as a serious crime that may be punished by a sentence of more than one year in prison up to death.

Fiduciary

A person who has a position of trust and is responsible for the property of others. Such a person is said to have fiduciary duties to the owners of the property or the right to receive it.

Financial Institution

A bank, savings and loan association, or credit union.

  G 5

GA/AFDC

General Assistance or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

Guardian

A person who is responsible for the care of another. Children who do not have parents must have guardians to make decisions for them. Adults who become unable to make important decisions with respect to medical treatment or where they live need guardians to make those decisions.

  H 5
  I 5

Interest

A legal right to some aspect of the ownership of property. The term may also refer to what is best for a person in general.

Intestate Succession

The way in which property of a person who dies passes to his heirs, as determined by the state law where he or she died.

  J 5

Jurisdiction

This may relate to the territory covered by a court's authority. It may also refer to the scope of authority given to a court by a state's constitution and laws.

  K 5
  L 5

Letters of Guardianship

The document issued to a guardian by the court that shows other people that the guardian has the right to make decisions for the ward (the person for whom guardianship was granted).

Liens

Rights that become part of the public record that the person holding the lien has a right to recover a debt out of the property the lien relates to. Examples are a mortgage on property, a lien to pay income taxes, or a lien to pay property taxes.

  M 5

Minor

In Arizona, a minor is any person under the age of 18 (the age of majority).

  N 5

Notice

A document given or mailed to a person who has an interest in a matter that tells about a hearing in court and what is going to be considered at the hearing.

  O 5
  P 5

Parental Rights of Custody

Either parent's right to decide where the child resides and to make decisions with regard to where the child lives, medical treatment for the child, and how the child should be educated.

Personal Property

Property like cash, stocks, bonds, automobiles, furniture, jewelry, and other kinds of legal rights.

Personal Representative

A person named by a court to administer a dead person's property under a will or a state's intestate succession laws.

Petition

The legal document used to start any formal proceeding arising under the court's probate jurisdiction. The document contains statements regarding the interest of the person preparing it, facts required to be included by law, and a request that the court take some action.

Petitioner

A person who files a petition.

Power of Attorney

A written document used by one person (the principal) to give another person (the attorney-in-fact or agent) authority to make financial or other decisions for the principal.

Principal Balance

The unpaid balance of a debt, not including any interest that is due but is not paid.

Private Fiduciary

A person or corporation that acts as personal representative, guardian, conservator, or trustee for a living or dead person to whom the fiduciary is not related and who does so for a fee.

Probate

Literally to prove a will to be authentic before a court. In practice, this term includes probate of a will, administration under the laws of intestate succession, guardianship, conservatorship, and trusts.

Proceedings

All stages of a legal action.

Proof of Restricted Account

A written document in which a bank, brokerage, or other financial institution confirms that a deposit has been made by a fiduciary and that no withdrawals will be allowed by the institution without a prior written order from the court that appointed the fiduciary.

Public Fiduciary

A government officer designated by statute to act as guardian, conservator, personal representative, or designated payee (of government benefits) when no one else is willing and able to act.

Pursuant

In agreement with something. (Usually followed by "to," as in "pursuant to law").

  Q 5
  R 5

Real Property

Land and buildings or structures permanently attached to land.

Relationship

How one thing is connected to another.

Removed

Deprived of an appointment (such as a guardian who is "removed" because of failure to carry out responsibilities).

Reside

To live at a place.

Restricted Account

An account at a bank, brokerage, or other financial institution that is created by a court order which does not permit any withdrawals to be made without a prior written order from the court that authorized its creation.

  S 5

Security

The protection derived from a borrower's pledging land or other kinds of property to assure repayment of a debt. Such a debt is said to be "secured."

Subscribed

Signed, usually at the end of a document, to show approval of the contents of the document.

Succession

The transmission of property from one person to another.

Swear

To take an oath. An affirmation may be substituted.

  T 5

Trustee

A person who holds legal title to property and administers it for the benefit of persons named in a will, trust agreement, trust declaration, or deed.

  U 5

Undersigned

The person whose signature appears at the end of the document or at the next place in a document where there is a place to sign.

  V 5
  W 5

Waiver

A document used by a person who is fully informed about the consequences of signing it to give up a legal right.

  X 5
  Y 5
  Z 5

Kenneth Lee (Div. 3)

Presiding Judge

(520) 724-8531


Danelle Liwski (Div. 6)

Judge

(520) 724-3686


Sandra Bensley (Div. 66/Q)

Commissioner

(520) 724-4416


Julia Connors (Div. 64/O)

Commissioner

(520) 724-4512


Other Probate Contacts


Superior Court Probate Clerk’s Office
110 West Congress Street
1st Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
(520) 724-3230 


Scott Petersen
Superior Court Probate Registrar
110 West Congress Street
1st Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
(520) 724-3247


Lorenzo Garza
Probate Accountant
110 West Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701
(520) 724-3230


Peter Santini
Pima County Public Fiduciary
32 North Stone Avenue
4th Floor
Tucson, AZ 85701
(520) 724-5454


Elder Law Legal Assistance
(520) 790-7262


Southern Arizona Legal Aid
(520) 623-9461


Lawyers Referral
(520) 623-4625


Pima County Bar Association
(520) 623-8258