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, […]

Conservator Not Required to Unwind Protected Person’s Estate Plan

JUNE 8, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 21 When an aging parent begins to fail, and a scheming caretaker appears to take advantage, what should concerned children do to respond? Should they consider a report to Adult Protective Services (in Arizona, 1-877-SOS-ADULT, or 1-877-767-2385), or file a court proceeding, or take some other action? The short […]

Trust-Owned Property Is Not Proper Subject of Arizona Beneficiary Deed

JUNE 1, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 20 Arizona is one of about a dozen states permitting “beneficiary” deeds. Some states have the same concept but use a different term, like the inelegant “revocable transfer on death” deeds. The basic idea: you can sign a deed to your real property which acts like a beneficiary designation […]

Is Dispute Inevitable When Two Children are Named as Co-Trustees?

MAY 18, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 19 So often our clients assure us that their children are different from other children. Our clients know that their children will fundamentally get along. They are sure that there will be no big problems when they die, and that the children will communicate and cooperate. Fortunately, that turns […]

Savings and Income at Death Indicate Retirement Shortfall

MAY 11, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 18 You’ve probably read and/or heard about concerns that Americans do not save enough money to get through their retirement. A recent report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows just how stark the situation is — by focusing on the actual savings held by people who died over […]

The Patient Self Determination Act and Trends in Advance Directives

MAY 4, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 17 Last month the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a short report on the use of advance directives in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. The report, requested by members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, addressed the experience with health care powers of […]

Why You Aren’t Really Limited to $14,000 in Gifts Each Year

APRIL 27, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 16 There is so much misinformation (and misunderstanding) around gift taxes, that we thought we would take a few moments and try to straighten out the confusion. Let’s start at the end: if you live in Arizona, and are not fabulously wealthy, you probably don’t actually care very much […]

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