Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today


Military and Veterans Discount


Free AARP E-Books

Protecting Yourself Online for Dummies

Here's the mini guide you need to steer through the hazards with confidence.

Learn More


AARP Games - Play Now!


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

News & Politics Forums

Share your opinions on news and current events that matter most to you.

Join the discussion »

AARP Auto Buying Program




After Abuses, Probate Reform Looms

Judicial Council to consider recommendations at public hearing Oct. 28

The proposals include:

  • Requiring "good faith" cost estimates for services and expenses, budgets and monthly statements to avoid any sticker shock at the end of a year.
  • Setting fee guidelines for probate lawyers and fiduciaries.
  • Creating a first-in-the-nation sustainability review by the courts to determine whether a person's assets would be sufficient to cover expenses during his or her normal lifespan. Future decisions on expenditures would be made accordingly.
  • Instituting a follow-up system by the courts to ensure that individuals are being treated properly.
  • Implementing training programs for those involved in probate cases. The cost of the proposals has not been determined

Sylvia Stevens, a retired private fiduciary and member of the AARP Arizona steering committee who served on the commission, said the panel's recommendations are a "commonsense approach" to attacking deficiencies throughout the current system.

"We think it's a giant step forward with the transparency, education and post-appointment follow-up being recommended," said Stevens, 83. "Those are trailblazing things."

Mason said the panel's work represents some progress, but she wants even more accountability built into the system.

"These things won't help my grandmother; it's too late for her," Mason said. "I want to make sure I'm protected and other people are. That's what's really important."

Also of interest: Two states where probate gets pricey: California and Florida. >>

David Schwartz is a freelance writer living in Gilbert, Ariz.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

membership benefit financial college aarp

Advice on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points