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Public Comment Sought on Probate Court Improvements

Recently, the Improving Judicial Oversight and Processing of Probate Matters Committee completed its year-long work to review judicial procedures, rules and trainings pertaining to Arizona Probate Court matters.

The committee has made recommendations to the Arizona Judicial Council for ways to improve and streamline the probate court process in our state.

The report is now available online.

The court is accepting public comment on the recommendations, many of which are ground-breaking for Arizona.

“I personally believe that AARP members represent the largest part of the caseload in Probate Court and I feel that we need to help the Probate Court give us the best service possible,” said Sylvia Stevens, AARP Arizona Volunteer and member of the committee. “These recommendations, if incorporated, would certainly go a long way to improving that service.”

AARP encourages people to view the report and submit public comment by Oct. 15.

Among the recommendations, the probate court would be more involved in approving budget expenses and setting fee guidelines for attorneys and fiduciaries. Court oversight would be expanded in regards to supervision of assets of wards of the court.

In addition, a post appointment follow-up system would be enhanced, in which the court could check up on guardians to make sure people under their charge are been appropriately cared for. Currently there is an overload of cases and few staff to oversee care follow-up. Enhancing the follow-up system would be considered ground-breaking for Arizona.

The report also recommends that judges, attorneys and investigators involved in these types of cases be required to have some training on probate matters. Often, those involved know little about how the probate system operates.

The Arizona Judicial Council will be reviewing comments at its meeting on Oct. 28.

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