Arizona's Allowances and Exempt Property: Protections Against Disinheritance

By Donald Loose

An allowance is a sum of money payable to a deceased person’s spouse and children, before payment of any of the decedent’s debts. Allowances operate as a protection against disinheritance by the testator (person who executes a will), because these are rights conferred by statute. They also protect the family against creditors because the allowances take precedence over all creditors’ claims except the expenses of administration. The allowances apply to the estates of decedents who were domiciled in Arizona at the time of their death.

Under Arizona law, the decedent’s surviving spouse and/or children are entitled to:
(1) a homestead allowance in the amount of $18,000,
(2) an exempt property allowance of not more than $7,000, and  
(3) a reasonable allowance for maintenance during the period of administration, known as a family allowance.  

Additional information regarding Arizona’s homestead, exempt property, and family allowances may be found in Estate Planning in Arizona: What You Need to Know, by Donald Loose (Wheatmark 2008, 2014).