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Arizona Court of Appeals Orders Review of Fees in Guardianship

DECEMBER 13, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 38 Arizona’s probate court system — and particularly the guardianship and conservatorship arenas — have been embroiled in public controversy for the past year. A series of essays by a prominent Phoenix newspaper columnist has taken the entire system to task over allegations of excessive fees being paid to …

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Can my brother's special needs trust pay his taxes

Can My Brother’s Special Needs Trust Pay His Property Taxes?

DECEMBER 6, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 37 A client’s question: My brother has a special needs trust, and I am the trustee. He lives in his condo and gets services from AHCCCS and ALTCS. Can the trust pay his property taxes? Interesting question. The answer isn’t as easy or straightforward as it ought to be. …

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Despite the Lawyers’ Best Efforts Heirs May Contest Estate Plan

NOVEMBER 22, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 36 Our clients usually have similar goals in their estate planning. They want to take care of their children. They may want to leave something to charity. They usually want to minimize taxes that they, their estate or their beneficiaries might have to pay. And they often tell us …

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Joint Tenancy Does Not Always Mean Equal Ownership

NOVEMBER 8, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 35 Elder law attorneys often see some version of the same story. Parents put child’s name on the deed to their home “just in case.” Dispute between parents and child breaks out when child asserts ownership interest. Sometimes litigation ensues. Child claims that joint ownership of the home means …

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Wife’s Opinion Regarding Divorce Controls Despite Her Incapacity

NOVEMBER 1, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 34 It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. An elderly couple, with one spouse slipping mentally, contemplates divorce. Perhaps the well spouse is simply unable to cope. Perhaps both are compromised mentally and/or medically. Perhaps there are long-term care issues involved. Perhaps the spouse with mental failings has …

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“Vest Pocket” Deed Is Valid to Transfer Family Farmland

OCTOBER 25, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 33 It has been a while since we wrote about “vest pocket” deeds. That reflects the reality that they are more common in fiction and mythology than in the real world of legal proceedings, but they occasionally do crop up. The problems of validity and effect can involve lawyers …

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Agents Under Power of Attorney Justify $20 Million in Expenditures

OCTOBER 11, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 32 Imagine this: you have a long-standing history of philanthropy and community involvement. You have substantial assets and you feel that you should use some of them to enrich the community where you live, where you made your fortune, and where your children were raised. Your spouse agrees with …

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