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Arizona Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: If "Conflict Resolution" terms in a Trust are defined (arbitration) can the Trustee retain counsel and not adhere?

The beneficiaries (I am one) are disputing the final Accounting provided by the Trustee for various reasons. The Trustee has retained counsel to push our hand, but in reviewing the Trust, there is a section regarding "Conflict Resolution" that specifically states thar arbitration should... Read more »

Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
answered on Sep 28, 2022

Thank you for your question. Getting to arbitration is a process, which generally requires a law suit to be filed. The language seems clear but it is not. The language is saying that a lawsuit which is governed by arbitration is generally less expensive than a full blown law suit. Both choices... Read more »

0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: How long do I have to file for probate court?

My spouse, father of our child, passed away and his mother kicked me out called DCS on me and took everything from us. She stole my children's birth certificates and many other valuable items. This is also none of my spouce's wishes at all.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Arizona on
Q: Im trying to take over my father's land it was sign over to him long ago I was wondering if I can get it

Im just trying to do what I can he past away in 2018 and my own family hasn't done a thing I'll pay almost anything

Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
answered on Sep 12, 2022

Thank you for your question. It is important that you know that transferring real estate under circumstances like this can be very complicated. I recommend that you work in stages. The first thing your must do is find out if your father is still the legal owner of the property. Contact a real... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Arizona on
Q: AZ Beneficiary Deed… can I include a life estate and also specify that property must be held rights of survivorship
Gregory Christopher Poulos
Gregory Christopher Poulos
answered on Aug 17, 2022

This sounds like you are attempting to use a beneficiary deed instead of a proper estate plan.

Beneficiary deeds are intended to be used for simple transfers of real property after a person's death. While what you are suggesting can be inserted in the deed, it is highly likely that...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law and Health Care Law for Arizona on
Q: Boyfriend signed me as Emergency contact in ER registration, but son was defaulted as medical poa. Pneumonia, Now what?

In Arizona, we live together for 8 years. Trust has no Medical POA. Only a will. We moved 3 mos. ago to mfg home in my name. Boyfriends IRA (I am beneficiary) and healthy checking. Balance. Revocable Trust dated 2017, attorney disbarred in 2018. No e-file.

Mike Branum
Mike Branum
answered on Jul 21, 2022

"Now what?" is a really vague question, but I am answering with the presumption that your question is "how do I make my boyfriend my medical POA?" You need to execute a medical POA and provide the hospital a copy.

You can find the form for the State of Arizona here:...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for Arizona on
Q: How do I claim my grandma's house without a will?

It's a complicated story. I've lived with my grandma since I was 10 days old, she claimed guardianship of me because her daughter was deemed unfit. My grandma passed in 12/2019 and I've still stayed here as I have nowhere else to go. I don't have friends and most of the family... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
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Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jul 15, 2022

Hire a competent AZ lawyer to determine Heirship. If you are an Heir, then record an Affidavit of Heirship and file suit for Partition against the other owners.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Child Custody, Probate and Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: What’s your opinion of the probate process?Under what conditions do you recommend a Living Trust?

How do I protect my children from abusive relatives if something happens to me?

How long will it take to set up my Trust?

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jul 11, 2022

Probate is expensive, time-consuming, difficult and public. I am not a fan. I do try to design plans for my clients that avoid probate.

You can help protect your children from abusive relatives if you put their inheritance in a trust with a professional fiduciary in charge. That way an...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Insurance Bad Faith, Divorce, Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: My dad was staying in a hotel that his insurance company paid for while his house was being repaired but he just died.

Me and my sister are his heirs but my mom(divorced) is telling me that since the insurance company is rebuilding part of the house to keep it up to code, that they're actually going to charge for the repairs. Is that really true and what are mine and my sisters options? And does my mom have... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
answered on Jul 18, 2022

An Arizona attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. I'm very sorry about the loss of your father. Your question is a little bit complex and straddles a number of categories; I can only address the insurance-related ones. The insurance company's decision... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: can an executor of a trust be removed if he has failed to inform the beneficiary when it became irrevocable 2 1/2 yrs

my uncle has yet to tell me anything about a trust my mother left me when she passed away almost 3 years ago I only know a little because of my brother telling me .I've asked my uncle about it and still nothing .I think he is trying to cause a hardship that way I would be inclined to sell my... Read more »

Gregory Christopher Poulos
Gregory Christopher Poulos
answered on Jun 17, 2022

When a person has a trust, it becomes irrevocable upon their death. The successor trustee of has a fiduciary and legal obligation to report to the beneficiaries of a trust.

At a minimum, assuming you are a beneficiary, you should have been provided with, at a minimum, a copy of the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Family Law for Arizona on
Q: My husband and I are residents of Arizona. What happens to our house during a divorce?

He solely purchased the house in 2007. We met in 2014. I had our oldest child in 2016. We married in 2017. He refinanced the house in 2018 or 2019 but didn't want to put me on the home loan even though my credit score is consistently in the upper 830s - 840s. Our youngest was born in 2018.... Read more »

Stephen M Vincent
Stephen M Vincent
answered on Jun 13, 2022

The house belongs to him. A.R.S. 25-213(A) reads, "A spouse's real and personal property that is owned by that spouse before marriage ... and the increase, rents, issues and profits of that property, is the separate property of that spouse." As he owned before the marriage and never... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Arizona on
Q: Revocable living trust, dad past. Can she not read the will to the boys now, time limit on filing to make it irrevocabl.

Plus he has a special clause for if one of the boys get disabled the trust is to help him and he does not get his 20%. Pays for other items medicare does not pay.

David Gerszewski
David Gerszewski
answered on Jun 2, 2022

I would recommend you talk to an attorney review the Trust. Trusts with special needs considerations are usually more complex than a regular trust. It is very likely the trust may only became irrevocable after the spouse passes away, not after the first person passes away. An attorney will need to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Tax Law for Arizona on
Q: Can a Trust decide its distributions aren’t community property even when taxed as non passive K1 income & filed jointly?

In the case of divorce - Trust 1, which has a clause that names the beneficiary as spouse A & states distributions are not community property, owns an S corp (an LLC). The S corp paid distributions to spouse A, which were claimed jointly as non passive income in a community property state (AZ).... Read more »

Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
answered on May 25, 2022

Unfortunately, you are asking a very difficult question. The answers hinge on the documents currently in place as well as the status of the divorce. The attorney will need to see if there is premarital agreement in place. If so, that agreement may control. We also need to look at the S... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: A decedent passed in September 2021. Their life partner is not allowing and desendants on the property for willed items.

My father passed away September 2021. He left several items in his will to me, and left many items unresolved in his estate. He lived on property owned by his 10 year long life partner (unmarried). The partner is not allowing anyone on site nor is she answering any requests for specific heavily... Read more »

Gregory Christopher Poulos
Gregory Christopher Poulos
answered on May 15, 2022

Unfortunately this happens too often. The life partner probably feels some entitlement and does not want to deal with the fact that she (or he) has no legal right to your father's property. It is concerning that this has been allowed to linger since September, but I your recommend drafting a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: how long does a lawyer or the firm retain copies of family trust documents
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Apr 27, 2022

Retention periods vary from firm to firm. You would have to ask the particular firm what their retention period is.

retention periods vary from firm to firm. You would havr to

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: Can you get an EIN for a Revocable Living Trust prior to the Trustee's death.

I am the Successor Trustee for a relative's Revocable Living Trust. Can I get either a Tax ID Number (TIN) or Employer ID Number (EIN) for the Trust prior to the Trustor's death? The purpose being to smooth things out a little after the Trustor's passing and not for taxes prior to... Read more »

Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
answered on Apr 21, 2022

Thank you for your question. EIN and TIN are the same and are applied for on the same application.

The answer is you CAN get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) or TIN (Tax Identification Number) for a Trust, but it generally is not a good idea. When the Trustor is alive, the Trust...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: In Arizona, does creating a new General Durable Power of Attorney (PoA) cause previous PoAs to be revoked or invalid?

I need to make changes to my Arizona General Durable Power of Attorney (PoA). I believe I need to create a whole new PoA rather than trying to amend the original PoA.

When I create the new PoA, does the original PoA automatically become revoked & invalid? Or, do I need to also to... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Apr 19, 2022

You can state in the new power of attorney that it revoked all previous power of attorney. But you will also need to provide notice of revocation along with the new power of attorney to everyone who has the old one. If you have recorded the old power of attorney then you will need to either record... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: Mom & husband were married. Their house was in a trust. He passed away. Mom lived there a couple more years alone.

Trust stated that upon sale of house, she receive 50% of the proceeds and 4 adult kids (2 from his previous marriage and 2 from hers) receive the other 50% of the proceeds divided evenly. She sold the house and is still living. Is this considered inheritance for the kids?

Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
answered on Apr 4, 2022

Based upon the information you provided, the distribution is an inheritance to all parties.

However, there is more information you need to know. Even though the asset is an inheritance, there may be capital gains tax which must be paid upon the sale of the house. The house got a new...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: What happens if the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary failed at locating proper next of kin or an honorable discharge?

My husband was found dead from suicide in 2005 and was handed over to the public fiduciary office as an "indigent" but they failed to figure out that he was a veteran with an honorable discharge or to locate me in the same county, or his father who was listed in the phone book in AZ!... Read more »

Andre L. Pennington
PREMIUM
Andre L. Pennington
answered on Mar 26, 2022

In short, it depends on the steps taken by the fiduciary. I recommend contacting an experienced probate attorney to discuss.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: My mom had executor/probate powers over her mother's estate, my mom died before finishing it. Am I responsible for it?

My grandmother passed away, leaving behind my mother and her sister. My mother is/was the executor/probate/representative for grandmother. My mother passed away in January and I am now her executor/responsible person. Am I in charge of my grandmother's estate now too, or does that fall to my... Read more »

Andre L. Pennington
PREMIUM
Andre L. Pennington
answered on Mar 25, 2022

Sorry for your losses ... it will go by the order in the Will or if there is no will it sounds like your Aunt will need to petition the court to replace your mother as personal representative. It may be helpful to contact an experienced probate attorney to help guide through the process. Good... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Arizona on
Q: I filed TOD deed, but now want to transfer the property into my trust. Does quitclaiming into the trust cancel the TOD?

I am in Arizona. I am the sole owner of the property. Do I need to file a deed revocation, revoking the beneficiary deed first, or will the quitclaim deed be sufficient to maintain chain of title?

Gregory Christopher Poulos
Gregory Christopher Poulos
answered on Mar 17, 2022

The proper way to do this is to record a revocation of the beneficiary deed and then record a deed from you to the trust. Quitclaim deeds are an invitation to potential disasters.

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