My late mother had a couple of IRA accounts. Unfortunately, we can’t distribute them because she neglected to update the beneficiaries. I’m told that I need a ‘Letter of Testamentary’ in order to do that, and you get that by going through probate. That’s for California. Mom and her husband were residents of, and died in, Arizona. The financial advisor I spoke with this morning said we would ‘probably’ have to go through probate in Arizona, and she didn’t know if Arizona has a ‘Letter of Testamentary’ or, if it does, what it’s called.
[ul][li]Mom’s death certificate;[/li][li]Her husband’s death certificate;[/li][li]Mom’s will;[/li][li]Her husband’s will;[/li][li]A copy (of a copy) of the Trust;[/li][li]An Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property (Arizona)[/ul][/li]
The wills and Trust specify that my sister and I are the only beneficiaries, and that we are the executors of the estate. These accounts comprise approximately $21,000 or $22,000, combined.
How do I get an attorney in Arizona? (I’m in Washington.) How can I determine if a given attorney is reputable? (Recommendations from Arizona Dopers would be appreciated.) Do I have to go to Arizona? How much does it cost to go through probate and get the documentation that says yes, I and my sister are the sole beneficiaries; and yes, we are authorised to distribute the estate? (I don’t want to spend $30,000 to get $22,000.)