When You Need to Talk With a Lawyer

OCTOBER 5, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 36 So often we field questions (on this website and in our practice) about whether people need to consult a lawyer. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, there is a terrific resistance to seeking legal advice. We lawyers don’t always help — our fees can be substantial, and unpredictable. We speak a language […]

Not Every Cognitively-Impaired Senior Needs a Conservator

SEPTEMBER 28, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 35 We handle a lot of guardianship and conservatorship proceedings at Fleming & Curti, PLC. We also meet with a lot of clients (or potential clients) and help them figure out how not to initiate a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding — we subscribe to the modern view that court […]

Mother’s Gifts to Children Create Dispute Over Special Needs Daughter

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 34 What plans should you make when you have a child receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid benefits? Should you create a special needs trust? Disinherit that child so their benefits won’t be affected? Leave their “share” of your estate to another child or children instead? We get […]

What Survivor Must Do When Trust Mandates Split on First Death

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 33 Once in a while we read an appellate court decision that nicely addresses a subject which isn’t the issue before the court. A recent Arizona Court of Appeals case illustrates this phenomenon nicely. The legal issue was technical and would appeal only to lawyers — and probably only […]

Attorney’s Fees in Probate Proceeding Challenged, Approved

SEPTEMBER 7, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 32 How much can an attorney charge in a probate proceeding? In Arizona, at least, the principal rule is one that is difficult to determine: attorney’s fees must be “reasonable”. But what does that actually mean? A recent Arizona Court of Appeals decision approving the fees charged by the […]

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 […]

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