Figuring Out What Court Has Jurisdiction Over a Trust

AUGUST 24, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 31 One of the best things about establishing a living trust is that you are helping to minimize the likelihood that any court will ever be involved in the administration of your estate. That can save costs, avoid conflicts and give you peace of mind. But sometimes courts do […]

Estate Planning in Second-Marriage Situations Can Be Tricky

AUGUST 17, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 30 We frequently see clients in second (or even third or fourth) marriages, with children from prior relationships. When we discuss how their assets should be distributed, they can usually give us a quick summary. Their plans vary, but they often fit into one of these models: Maybe the […]

Conservator Properly Appointed for Missing Homeless Man

AUGUST 10, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 29 Late in 2012, Mark West was driving a car that struck and injured Don Barnes (both names have been changed) in the Phoenix area. Barnes hired an attorney to sue West, but because the attorney was unsure of Barnes’ ability to understand the proceedings, he sought appointment of […]

Debit Card for Special Needs Trust Creates Eligibility Problem

AUGUST 3, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 28 As part of Pennsylvanian Sharon Edwards’ (not her real name) divorce settlement, she and her husband agreed to establishment of a special needs trust to hold some of the marital property she would receive. With the trust in place, Sharon would continue to qualify for Supplemental Security Income […]

The “Spendthrift” Trust Explained

JULY 27, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 27 Lawyers love to name and categorize everything they deal with. It’s a useful way to group similar concepts, but it can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. That’s particularly true when a legal concept is non-exclusive — in other words, when one instrument can go by a number of […]

Getting Ready for Your Appointment With the Lawyer

JULY 20, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 26 It was really hard to find the right estate planning attorney, but you’re confident you’ve made a good choice (and we’re glad it’s us). You’ve made the first appointment — it’s set for two weeks from today. You’ve gotten the questionnaire from the lawyer’s office, and it looks […]

How to Get in Trouble for Your Handling of Your Child’s Money

JULY 6, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 25 Management of a trust can be difficult, and the responsibilities imposed on a trustee can be considerable. Sometimes that last part is not obvious, since trusts are often unsupervised — that is, no court is involved in the handling of most trusts, and there is no “trust cop” […]

Exercise of a Power of Appointment Should Follow the Document

JUNE 29, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 24 Clients are often unfamiliar with the concept of a “power of appointment.” If they don’t know what it is, they can be excused for not knowing whether they have one, or how to use it. Suppose Thomas leaves $10,000 to charities in his trust, but gives his brother Richard […]

Attorney Representing Incapacitated Adult Ordered to Refund Fees

JUNE 22, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 23 How much does it cost to establish a guardianship or conservatorship? Is there any limit on the possible legal costs? These are questions that we deal with on a regular basis. The short answer, at least in Arizona, is that the attorneys and other professionals in a guardianship/conservatorship […]

The Myth of the Simple Will

JUNE 15, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 22 “I don’t want anything complicated,” said our new client. “I just want a simple will.” For almost four decades, we’ve been waiting for the client who wants a complicated will. We’re still waiting. We hear the “I only want a simple will” request often. What clients really mean, […]

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