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Arizona Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: Will a trust with specific recipients, keep property and funds to those individuals if I exclude spouses and ex's?

or will CA or AZ law grant 50% to spouse? This includes equity in home to be kept as family home and an account of $100000. Is there a safe way to avoid the 50%

Ryan K Hodges
Ryan K Hodges answered on Apr 23, 2020

Gifts or devises made to a married person in AZ do not automatically become community property. They are retained as separate property unless the married person does something to compromise that status like putting the money into a joint account with the spouse. This can be avoided by keeping the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: My father passed five months ago and there’s no open probate and his will has not been recorded. Is this normal?

My father and I didn’t have a lot of contact over the years, but he did tell me both that he had a will and that I was included in it. I don’t know how to find out since there appear to be no records. I believe my half-sister is living in his home and possibly intentionally concealing his will.... Read more »

Peter H. Westby
Peter H. Westby answered on Apr 16, 2020

I recommend contacting a probate attorney in the state where your father resided at the time of his death. It is not unusual that a probate has not been filed. A probate is not always needed. It depends upon the size of the estate, its asset mix and the prior planning done by your father. Your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Appeals / Appellate Law for Arizona on
Q: My husband passed away and had a business. He was the only share holder so the company is mine. Is this correct?

My stepdaughter, who got half of the business was upset because she did not get all of it. He had a tax and payroll. She has the data entry and payroll and I sold the tax part. Neither of us know tax returns. I gave her 20,000.00. I feel like I was taken advantage of. He passed Jan 2, 2020... Read more »

Andre Lee Pennington
Andre Lee Pennington answered on Apr 11, 2020

This depends on whether there was a last will and testament (or Trust that owned the business; or business documents that indicated what should happen) or not. If there was an estate plan that addressed the business, then it controls where it goes. If there was not, see below:

ARS...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Arizona on
Q: How do I find out if my dad had a will? His girlfriend was his POA when he was alive and she doesn't communicate.

I believe he created a trust for my sister and I but we don't know anything about it. Is there a way to look up that info?

Andre Lee Pennington
Andre Lee Pennington answered on Apr 8, 2020

One thing you can do is look up the home address at the Maricopa County Assessor's Office. It will tell you if the home is in the potential Trust. Here's a link: https://www.mcassessor.maricopa.gov/

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: My mom died in 2010 and how do I get my mom's property in her name?

My mom died in 2010 and my dad has been staying on the property. My half sister (my dad's daughter)wants me to put half in her name. What should I legally do? (Squatter's rights?) My dad is terminal and will be dying soon and he has a girlfriend living on the property there and may want... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 1, 2020

You are going to need to hire a probate attorney to probate your mom's estate. Probate is the process by which the property of a decedent gets retitled. Who inherits the property depends on whether or not your mother had a will and whether or not the property was her separate property or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: should my 90 plus year old grandmother who clearly is senile be able to change my grandparents will

my sister brought her to lawyer and cut everyone out except her and her new husband My grandmother was in her late nineties and didnt recognize anyone in the family so how could she be able to redirect all thier original wishes for thier estate. Is this legal or just moraly wrong,the parties in... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 25, 2020

Hire a will contest attorney to challenge the will on the basis of lack of capacity and maybe also undue influence. A will given while the testatrix lacked testamentary capacity is void, but you have to prove it. If nobody contests it when it is presented to the probate court, it will be admitted... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Divorce and Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: 1. Can a married couple file their our Will for distribution of half and half of our property?

The are specific in the Will about sealing and distributing the items and monies? Due to having started with a blended family.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 13, 2020

Wills do not get "filed" anywhere until after the testator/testatrix passes; until then they are private.

Planning for blended families can be complicated, especially if both spouses want to provide for the surviving spouse but still protect the inheritance of the children of...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: As second named trustee, can I file suit on behalf of the estate when first successor trustee chooses not to act?

I am the second named successor trustee of an irrevocable trust and the trust document’s only wording regarding succession states, “If ___ fails to act for any reason, then ____ shall act without bond”

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 17, 2020

First try to get the first named trustee to sign a resignation. Or, if a trust protector is named in the trust document, ask the trust protector to remove the first named trustee. If the foregoing doesn't work, hire a trust administration attorney to review the trust document to see what... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: The trustee of my fathers irrevocable trust breached many of her trustees duties . I hired an atty which I paid 14,000

Paid atty in order to get finacial records they would not give me because they could not interrupt the terms in the trust to determine what my interest was . I refused to sign a release of liabilities and the trustee refused to guve me an early distribution . The trustee Than charged me for the... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 10, 2020

The best source of advice for this situation is your existing attorney, who knows the facts and circumstances better than anyone else besides yourself. If you are dissatisfied with your existing attorney, it is within your power to fire him or her and hire another attorney. Be prepared, however,... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: Re: A family trust 3 children, trust is to divide equally. In the trust, property is "conveyed' to one son by parents

as his sole and separate property. 3 children are the beneficiary's.

Question: Does "divide equally" mean the son has to buy the home from the trust?

Or, does it mean son gets the home as parents wish and whatever is left in the trust is then divided equally 3 ways?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 8, 2020

It is not possible to answer your question without reviewing the trust document.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: My mother just died in California. Next of kin is her husband (my stepfather) and a total of four children.

There is no will. My sister has proclaimed herself executor of the estate. I'm in Arizona. How does her property get distributed?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 15, 2019

You need to identify which items in your mother's estate were her community property with your stepfather and which were her separate property. Under California law, your stepfather will inherit all of your mother's community property and one-third of her separate property. Your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: im about to become a 61 year old widow in arizona ami financially responsible for my deceased spouses debts
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 9, 2019

It is not possible to answer your question without more information. Most likely yes you are liable to the extent of your half of the community property but there are rare circumstances in which you would not be liable. You really need to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Elder Law for Arizona on
Q: I have a General PoA for my elder dad, but bank requires a Durable poa. How can I get one if he's not cognizant?

He is currently hospitalized, but will be returning to long term care facility, and probably shortly, Hospice. His bank is requiring me to obtain a Durable PoA, but, obviously, I won't be able to get that prior to his passing. They said there are other instruments? My brother and I are... Read more »

Ryan K Hodges
Ryan K Hodges answered on Dec 2, 2019

If you dad is in Pennsylvania, then you should probably consult an attorney there regarding options. In Arizona, most attorneys draft all POAs as durable one, but the law may be different in PA.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Arizona on
Q: I bought and am paying for a home but my aunt is on the title. What happens if she has to use ALTCS?

I bought a HUD home in Tucson, AZ for my Aunt to use. She could not afford to live on her own. Since it was HUD, she had to be on the title with me as she is the full time resident and I use it as a vacation home. I have paid all money for the home and continue to pay the mortgage. If she uses... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 22, 2019

Your question is missing important facts. Exactly how is the house titled? Tenants in common? If so, in what percentages? Or is the deed silent on that? Joint tenants with right of survivorship?

You do have a legitimate concern, plus other issues you may not have considered (such as...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: Uncle in law passed 10 yrs ago,can't find his wife after she started probate. when will family get $$. we are in AZ

Wife started probate and then disappeared. My FIL is the next living heir. This has been in the courts for almost 10 yrs. There is a notice of potential heir (my FIL) stated in the court records but nothing else has been done. Last update to the record was 01/30/19. January will mark 10 yrs... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 18, 2019

Hire a probate attorney to help you petition the court to replace the executor on the grounds that the executor is failing to perform.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: Husbands fathers Granddaughter was given medical Pos in Arizona. Hospital called her on Monday he Died on Wednesday

She took the car keys, the laptop the phone and still never called anyone she lied to the mortuary and said he was homeless with no family she cannot afford to pay for the cremation but she told us we have no rights We believe she was undue influence on him She will not show the will And just left... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 17, 2019

Powers of attorney have no effect after the principal dies. She has no authority.

Your best recourse is to hire a local probate attorney to help you probate the decedent's estate. If you don't have access the will, but you believe that she does, you can get the court to order...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Arizona on
Q: Is ARS code 14-2503 valid to cover a person putting their hand on tetatrix to sign a will while having dimentia

Will was made 10 days before mom died, my sister adds her name on to inherit the house. Can this qualify as undue influence

Peter H. Westby
Peter H. Westby answered on Aug 27, 2019

The procedure you described appears highly questionable. You may have grounds to object to this will. The will may not qualify as a valid holographic will and/or your Mom may not have had testamentary capacity. I recommend reviewing this matter with a probate attorney as soon as possible. Once... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Q: My father passed away now mother's power of attorney is taking things from my dad's company how do I stop it?

Mother's not very compressive to what's going on. And these things belong to me

Mike Branum
Mike Branum answered on Aug 27, 2019

It is impossible to provide you with a quality response because there are so many missing details and the information you have provided could be interpreted in different ways. That said, IF all of your father's possessions passed to your mother and IF the POA has the authority to handle her... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Arizona on
Q: Mother died and has a trust to be shared with 3 siblings. She also left a will to share the house and other things.

One brother wants to buy house which we agree on. Now we are told to add it to the trust by a lawyer retained by this sibling who is also the executor of the trust? Is that necessary? If so why and what are the advantages?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 15, 2019

There is no way to answer your question without reviewing your mother's trust and her will and the latest vesting deed.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Arizona on
Q: How can I verify that my mother's will and testament is legal and names me executor and distributor of all property?

Several months ago, my mother (who passed away last week) put together a last will and testament (based on a form from WillForms.org for the state of Arizona). It is signed, notarized, and doubly witnessed by two individuals not receiving any property under the will.

The will names me as... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 7, 2019

Show it to a local probate attorney. You are going to need to hire a probate attorney anyway to help you probate your mother's estate anyway. Your mother's things do not automatically vest in you; there are steps that need to be taken, and the sooner you take those steps the better.

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