The Ultimate Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney (2024)

The Ultimate Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney (2024)

The Ultimate Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney
(Left to Right)  Managing Partner, Nicholas Boca; Partner & Managing Estate Law Attorney, Elizabeth Estes; Founding Partner, David Cantor.

The Best Trusts and Estate Planning Law Team In Arizona

What do you look for when you are determining who’s the Best Trusts and Estate Planning Law Team in Arizona.  The first thing you look to is experience.  Elizabeth Estes, the Managing Partner of our Estate Planning Practice at Cantor Law Group, began her career as an Estate Planning Lawyer for a small firm in Phoenix, Arizona.  She then joined a prestigious five-State “Top 200” sized US law firm in Phoenix as a Partner.  She then went on to open her own practice, which specialized in Estate Planning and Probate.  After 25 years as a Lawyer in Arizona, she then joined us as the Managing Partner of the Estate Planning Practice at Cantor Law Group.

Many Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorneys will not offer legal services involving Estate Administration, or Probate and Trust Administration, because they lack legal experience in these areas of Law. Not only is Cantor Law Group’s Elizabeth Estes a Specialist in Estate Planning and Trusts, but she can also provide Legal Advice and Legal Solutions in areas involving tax planning; limited liability companies; business law and business succession planning; and Family Law issues related to estate planning needs.

Once you have ascertained the qualifications of an Estate Planning law firm’s leader, you next look to the Firm’s other Attorneys’ skill sets.  Cantor Law Group was founded over 23 years ago, and is an AV rated Law Firm (the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell).  The Firm is also listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.  Our boutique Law Firm includes 3 Board-Certified Legal Specialists, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization.  Cantor Law Group is regarded as one of the finest Law Firms in the Southwest.

Virtual Estate Planning Meetings Available

At Cantor Law Group, we can prepare an Estate Plan using a virtual format (or even just a telephone) from the initial consultation through final signing. If possible, we encourage using Zoom to ensure against future challenges regarding claims of coercion, or lack of legal capacity. After the initial consultation, we can obtain all relevant information via Zoom, e-mail, or phone. We also have a secure web portal for receiving financial documents and/or sensitive information during Trust preparation. FedEx or UPS are available options. During the review phase, questions, concerns and changes can be quickly addressed by phone, e-mail or Zoom.

For final signing, we prefer to have our clients present in our office, as we can provide a notary and a disinterested witness (or 2, for a Will signing if you are single or your spouse is not present). However, we also can arrange for remote signing by having a mobile notary   sent to you, which would potentially only require you to secure a disinterested witness.

Questions to Ask When Interviewing an Estate Planning Attorney

How many estate plans has the attorney drafted?

  • Cantor Law Group’s Elizabeth Estes serves as the firm’s Managing Partner of the Estate Planning Practice.  She has designed and drafted over 1000 estate plans in her 25-year law career. Her experience ranges from simple Wills with “pour over” trusts, to complex high level net worth plans involving LLC and Business Formation; Asset Protection structures; and tax exclusion integration.

Does the Law Firm use non-lawyer document preparers or non-lawyers CPA’s to design you Estate Plans?

  • Cantor Law Group never uses any non-lawyers to design a client’s estate plan – we only use lawyers from our Estate Planning Practice to formulate and draft your documents. In fact, some of the most flawed documents we see when a person consults us regarding their existing plan were originally drafted by a non-attorney. This is especially troubling if the flaws are discovered after a loved one’s passing.

Does the Attorney have experience with drafting Irrevocable Trusts for Tax Reduction and/or Asset Protection purposes?

  • At Cantor Law Group, we are well versed in the ever-changing Estate Tax Credit Coupon amount as it relates to reducing a person’s estate taxes upon death. Although the 2024 exemption is $13.61 million per spouse, this amount is slated to drop to only $5.49 million in 2026 (adjusted for inflation). Most mid-level net worth estates can easily exceed the lower 2026 exemption amount. This is why it is critical to have an experienced Estate Attorney draft your Irrevocable Trust to benefit your children, and have it properly funded by Life Insurance, reduced cost-basis shares in a family business, or by any other means desired by the client.  In addition, a properly drafted Irrevocable Trust can also so serve as Asset Protection from creditors or litigious individuals.

Does the Attorney have experience drafting Special Needs Trusts for Vulnerable Adults, or those individuals subject to Guardianship or Conservatorship?

  • Cantor Law Group’s Attorneys are highly experienced at drafting and filing Petitions for Guardianship and/or Conservatorship. In addition to these documents, we also recommend to have a Special Needs Trust in place to take care of your Vulnerable Child or relative after you are gone. This document can also protect your loved one’s future from a step-parent if your spouse remarries. Contact Cantor Law Group today if you care for a Special Needs child or relative.

Has the Attorney performed Trust Administration?

  • At Cantor Law Group, Elizabeth Estes has served as a Successor Trustee performing Trust Administration for numerous clients.  She is well versed with the rules involving the necessary Trust Powers Provision; Certificate of Trusts; and the requirements under the Arizona Uniform Trust Code. In addition, Cantor Law Group’s “A-B” Trusts are always designed and administered to maximize the Husband/Wife Estate Tax Coupon. Lastly, we will immediately perform the following 4 steps of Trust Administration upon a Grantor’s death: We will establish the Asset Values; Notify all Creditors properly; File the proper Tax Documents; and Promptly Distribute the Assets to the proper beneficiaries.

Does the Law Firm use Wealth Counsel Estate Planning Software in conjunction with Clio legal software?

  • Cantor Law Group uses Clio legal software – the industry leader – as the case management tool for all our cases.  In addition, our membership with Wealth Counsel allows us to access the most cutting-edge Estate Planning software currently available.  By utilizing Clio’s Client Portal, documents and records can be easily downloaded into the portal either by the client from their home, or by our staff in the office.  In addition, Clio will seamlessly integrate all information contained in your records in the Wealth Counsel’s high-level Estate Planning Templates.  Cantor Law Group not only has the very best software, but also has Attorneys who are the highest-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO, Super-Lawyers, and a host of other top-notch Attorney rating organizations!

Virtual Estate Planning Meetings Available

At Cantor Law Group, we can prepare an Estate Plan using a virtual format (or even just a telephone) from the initial consultation through final signing. If possible, we encourage using Zoom to ensure against future challenges regarding claims of coercion, or lack of legal capacity. After the initial consultation, we can obtain all relevant information via Zoom, e-mail, or phone. We also have a secure web portal for receiving financial documents and/or sensitive information during Trust preparation. FedEx or UPS are available options. During the review phase, questions, concerns and changes can be quickly addressed by phone, e-mail or Zoom.

For final signing, we prefer to have our clients present in our office, as we can provide a notary and a disinterested witness (or 2, for a Will signing if you are single or your spouse is not present). However, we also can arrange for remote signing by having a mobile notary   sent to you, which would potentially only require you to secure a disinterested witness.

Estate Planning Overview

Why Is Estate Planning Necessary?

Estate Planning in Arizona is a process that has great value both while you are alive, and after you pass away. It allows you to protect assets for the benefits of your heirs and keep them from being reached by creditors or litigious people.  For example, if you are involved in an accident that is your fault, then the other party might only be able to recover the maximum of your insurance proceeds, if you have had placed everything else inside of a Revocable Living Trust.  This could prevent you from losing everything.

Estate Planning also protects you if you become incapacitated.  If you have a lengthy illness, a bad accident, a stroke, dementia, etc., and you plan correctly, you can put your Agent/Personal Representative in charge of your health.  They can then make all the health decisions on your behalf, as contained in your Estate Planning documents.  

Estate Planning also helps you direct exactly who gets what (and when) after your death.  For example, you can leave a certain amount of money (via percentages) to your children which can be spread out as they attain certain ages (i.e., 25% at age 25, 25% at age 30, and the balance at age 35).  This allows your children time to become more mature and wiser about their spending as they age.

Also, proper Estate Planning allows you to direct your Final Wishes as to burial, cremation, etc.  It may be your wish to be buried at a specific cemetery in a specific place.  Or, you may wish to be cremated and have your ashes spread in several different locations at several different times of the year (with specifically chosen people to complete your final wishes.)

Lastly, if you die without a Will or Trust (i.e., “Intestate”), you are leaving all decisions    up to the State of Arizona in regards to who will get your assets, who will be the Guardians of your children, who will be the person to represent you in your affairs, and what will occur to your body after your passing.  This is probably the worst-case scenario, and it is known as “Intestate Succession.”

Beware: New rules have recently been passed regarding Individual Retirement Agreements (IRAs) and Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).  Because of these changes in the law, many people who have created Wills and Trusts prior to 2020 now have outdated documents.  This is why it is necessary to have a skilled Estate Planning Attorney review your documents as soon as possible.  Also, keep in mind that a Beneficiary designation on these types of accounts will normally overrule any Last Will and Testament, should there be a difference between the two.

Depending how you designate your Beneficiaries, this could have major tax consequences if done incorrectly.  One of the major benefits of a Revocable Trust is that it can be cancelled at any time by the Grantor (i.e., the maker of the trust).  The maker of the trust qualifies as both the “Grantor,” who puts the assets in the Trust), and as the “Beneficiary,” who retains ownership of the assets and receives any income from the assets.

Cantor Law Group provides comprehensive estate plans from our Glendale Estate Planning Lawyers. Our team, with years of legal experience, provides Glendale Estate Planning Attorneys to navigate everything from the probate process to complex estate planning and other estate planning documents. So, if you need AZ Lawyers for the right attorney and to guide you through the estate planning process, call Cantor Law Group today!

Wills And Related Documents

A Will is a document that specifically directs how to dispose of your property upon death, and it is the only document that specifically makes a nomination of who will be the Guardian of your children.  Although, just the fact of having a Will cannot prevent your Estate from going into Probate, it will dramatically reduce the costs of litigation should there become a dispute as to your final wishes and your Estate.  Several documents can make up your “Will,” and these consist of the following:

  • Living Will (LW).  This document is part of your Advance Healthcare Directives, and designates a “surrogate” and how decisions should be made for you when you are dying, and they can decide when to “pull the plug” as you direct regarding your palliative care.  Without the LW, the doctors may keep you alive and in pain indefinitely, which potentially is something that is worse than death.  This will also potentially eat up your wealth in useless medical care, which may go against your wishes.  You do not want to put your family in the position of initiating very expensive and complicated (and questionable) Court proceeding in deciding what you would truly want.
  • Last Will and Testament (LWT).  This document is what most people think of when they see a document with a title of “Will.”  This allows you to designate a “Personal Representative” (or “Executor”) who will handle all your affairs at death. Your Will also designates who will serve as the Guardian and Conservator for your children, and who will actually receive your property on death. Your Personal Representative will be responsible to distribute your assets per your wishes.  Without the LWT, the wrong person or persons may be appointed by the court to handle your affairs and property after you die.  In addition, the Court may appoint an inappropriate person to raise your minor children.  Lastly, without the LWT, legal fees, surety bonds and other Probate fees will be much greater.
  • Funeral and Burial Instructions (FBI).  With your specific instructions, a FBI would prevent your next of kin from quarrelling over details of your funeral, burial, or cremation.  It also serves to prevent them from stating that they are “absolutely sure of what you wanted.”  You can state what you absolutely want, per the FBI.
  • Personal Property Disposition List (PPDL).  This is a specific document, in which you specify where, and to whom, you want certain pieces of property to go.  For example, you may specify that all of your watches go to your son, and all of your art goes to your daughter.  You may designate who gets your sports cards and sports memorabilia collection, and who gets certain pieces of household furniture and antiques.  Lastly, it’s also a good idea to have a complete inventory on video of what is in your home in order to avoid any controversy about what was there when you died.

Durable Power Of Attorney And Healthcare Directives

These documents allows a Principal (you) to designate an Agent (somebody you trust implicitly) with who will share decision-making powers.  Many times this is done for the Principal’s benefit if they are going to be out of the country a lot, or if they are frequently so busy that they need a second contact for making important decisions if they are unavailable and an answer is urgently required. 

The Agent will have this power as long as you direct, and you can withdraw that Durable Power of Attorney at any point in time.  The reason it is “Durable” is that if you become incapacitated or go missing for some reason, then this Power of Attorney will continue on until you regain your faculties (such as recovering from a stroke), or you become available again.

These documents will allow your Agent to handle your finances. They will be able to pay bills, such as doctor’s bills, attorney fees, they will be able to make purchases, etc.  They will also be able to direct your care and treatment from a financial standpoint with doctors (assuming that you also have a Durable Medical and/or Mental Health Power of Attorney in place).

Your Agent has fiduciary duties to act in your “best interests” and solely for your benefit.  The Agent cannot make a profit or engage in business dealings with your finances in which they make a profit.  They must not co-mingle their assets with your own, and they must keep them separate at all times.  They also are required to have separate recordkeeping, and they are not allowed to gift money or property to others, unless specifically authored in the Power of Attorney document.

Any violation of this Fiduciary Duty could result in a Class 3 Felony Theft charge, a Class 2 Felony Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices charge, or a Class 3 Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse charge.  In addition to criminal penalties, they could also face civil liability for up to three times the value of the money or property that they improperly wasted.

  • Durable General Power of Attorney (DGPA).  This Document permits you to designate a person to sign legal documents and disbursement checks while you are disabled, missing or away.  Without a DGPA your financial matters and legal affairs will come to a grinding halt.  Deadlines can be missed, and important matters may not be handled during this time period.  It will become necessary for somebody to go to the courthouse in order to Petition for Appointment of a Legal Conservator in order to obtain this power while you are disabled, missing or away.  This can result in the expenditure of a large amount of money on attorney’s fees, doctors, and surety bonds.  It is best to have this in place before the need ever arises … just in case.

Remember: Any Durable Power of Attorney, whether it is for medical reasons, mental health reasons, or financial reasons, will automatically terminate upon your death.

  • Durable Medical Power of Attorney (DMPA).  This Document allows a person you designate to direct to the doctors how to care for you if you are in a hospital, if you are unable to do so yourself.  If you do not have a DMPA, you will have delays in your treatment.  In addition, somebody else will have to go to the local courthouse and file paperwork in order to seek an appointment as a Legal Guardian.  This document accompanies your Living Will, and is something you want to do in advance of becoming incapacitated … just in case.
  • Durable Mental Health Power of Attorney (DMHPA).  This Document will allow your “Designated Agent” to make decisions for your mental healthcare (such as potentially confining you), without the cost and embarrassment of a full Mental Health Hearing.  Without a DMHPA, you will not be able to sign yourself out of a protective institution while still mentally impaired.  This will require your family to use force to capture you and submit you to an expensive Mental Health Hearing, which can involve multiple lawyers, multiple doctors, and a highly emotionally-charged proceeding.  If you’ve made this decision in advance, your Agent will carry out your wishes.
  • HIPAA Authorization.  The HIPPA laws were created to protect the privacy of your healthcare information.  There are specific criminal and civil penalties that apply if somebody is not in compliance with HIPAA.  Doctors and hospitals are very aware of this, and they normally will not release any information unless you have signed the proper HIPAA documents.  Once these Documents have been signed by you, then physicians, medical staff and hospitals will be required to release your health information if you later have to enter a health facility and you are unable to sign the facility’s HIPAA release documents.  It is very important that your loved ones have access to all your medical records if an emergency should arise, and by pre-signing these authorization documents, this just might save your life.

Beware:  Beware of “Joint Accounts” with family members or caregivers.  Many people use this in place of a Durable Power of Attorney, and they also use it in place of a Will as a “Inheritance Tool.”  This is very dangerous because not only can they be taken advantage of by a caregiver (or even a family member), they also run the risk of not having any Asset Protection.  Asset Protection is necessary to protect money and property from creditors or legal judgments. 

It will also protect those assets in the case of divorce, tax liens, etc.  It is possible to use other tools besides a Durable Power of Attorney, such as “Pay On Death” Account for inheritance purposes, or a “Beneficiary Deeds” for Asset Protection against creditors, tax liens, etc.  Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney at Cantor Law Group in order to ascertain the best path for your situation.

Personal Representatives And Their Responsibilities

Personal Representatives have a very high standard and Duty of Loyalty which is owed to both the Beneficiary of the Estate, and to the Estate itself.  Some of these duties are as follows:

  • Duty to Avoid Conflicts of Interest:  The Personal Representative can never put their interests above that of the Beneficiary, and they may not unfairly profit from the situation.  Although they are allowed to collect a “reasonable fee” for services rendered, they cannot profit from information learned, or from transactions conducted.
  • Duty of Confidentiality:  The Personal Representative always has a Duty of Loyalty to keep all information regarding the estate Confidential. They cannot reveal this information to anybody, without prior authorization, or without a Court Order.  For example, they cannot write a tell-all book, or reveal information to the media.  This usually arises when they tell one of the Beneficiaries certain information, in which that Beneficiary then uses the information to their advantage over the interests of the other Beneficiaries.
  • Duty of Due Diligence:  Personal Representatives must always exercise Reasonable Care and Due Diligence when dealing with the property of the Estate.  In other words, they must act “Reasonably and Prudently” when dealing with the assets.  If they are simply disposing of the assets below the fair market value in order to speed up their duties, or they are selling the assets to their personal friends at a discount, this would be a violation of that Duty.
  • Duty to Protect and Preserve the Estate’s Assets:  A Personal Representative must always protect and preserve the assets involved.  This may require hiring security, storing items in a safe, having an insurance agent review and place current fair market coverage on the assets, etc.  There is also a Duty to make property “productive” within a reasonable period of time.  This may mean investing the assets in a very low-risk and secure manner, as opposed to investing the assets in a highly speculative venture.  It also may include securing, maintaining, and improving real estate assets before putting them on the market to sell.  If you have further questions regarding the duties of a personal representative, contact us at Cantor Law Group immediately.

Duty to Act Promptly with Required Affairs:  This includes filing Tax Returns in a timely manner, and other required documents.  It also includes paying Property Taxes on existing properties so they do not land in default.  This duty to act timely also includes the Duty to Communicate with all of the Beneficiaries with regard to important matter.  Many times problems arise when the Personal Representative is only communicating with one Beneficiary, with the assumption that they are relaying the correct information to the rest of the Beneficiaries.  It is always best for the Personal Representative to involve all beneficiaries in the decision-making process when it comes to the disposal and maintenance of assets.

Trusts

A Trust is a legal document which allows a person or company to manage the assets and property for the benefit of an individual or group of people (i.e., “Beneficiaries”).  The Trust is usually set up at the same time as a Will and is usually effective during a person’s lifetime.  The person (or family) that the Trust benefits is usually run by the person who created the Trust (i.e., the “Grantor”).  However, in some circumstances Trusts are created in which the Grantor who created the Trust, gives up control to a separate Trustee.

If the Trust is drafted correctly, many times a Last Will and Testament will result in the “pour over” of assets into the Trust upon a person’s death.  Even though this should help avoid Probate, there are still tax documents that need to be filed, and then the “Administration” of the Trust must take place.

Advantages of Having a Trust

  • A Trust can avoid the expensive delay of Probate proceedings.
  • Trust Administration is usually a private proceeding, and the general public will not know your assets, or who gets what.  That’s not possible with a public Probate Court proceeding.
  • A Trust provides uninterrupted control or flow of assets when a person dies, as opposed to the lengthy delay of a Probate proceeding.
  • A Trust can help avoid or reduce the tax liability upon the Grantor’s death.
  • While you are alive, a Trust will allow you have access and flexibility in managing your property.
  • Even after you die, the Trust can maintain the ownership of the property longer than a Will would allow.
  • And most importantly, if you have a serious accident, or you become incapacity, it will avoid the need for a Court-Appointed Guardian who would need to get up to speed regarding all of your assets, and who would make the decision on who gets what and when.

Types of Trusts

Revocable Living Trusts

Trusts usually are considered Revocable or Irrevocable.  A Revocable Living Trust is the most common, because it allows you as a Grantor to put items in the trust and dispose of them as you wish.  Many individuals have these Trusts for decades during the course of their lifetime, and they steadily build up their Estate by placing assets within the Trust.  These can include houses, stocks, retirement accounts, cars, art, and every other type of real property or financial instrument. 

Another benefit of a Revocable Trust is that the Grantor can designate certain people who will receive some of the assets upon the Grantor’s death.  This allows the Grantor to remove some people (i.e., “Beneficiaries”) during the course of their lifetime – especially in cases of divorce or recent marriages.

Remember: Per Arizona, law if your real estate holdings are worth over $100,000 (or your personal property is worth over $75,000), then your estate will automatically go into Probate if you do not have a Revocable Trust in place.

Spouses and A-B Trusts

Although the purpose of a Revocable Living Trust is to protect your assets after a spouse dies, creditors still will have first dibs on those assets (if applicable).  However, the main purpose of this Trust is to provide for your Surviving Spouse, and then protect those assets for the rest of the Beneficiaries in the future.  After the first spouse dies, then what is known as a Decedent’s Trust will be set up in order to shield those assets and provided for the Surviving Spouse.  After the Surviving Spouse passes way, then a Beneficiary’s Trust will have to be set up for each of the Beneficiaries. 

Remember, it is important to have a skilled Estate Planning Attorney to create these documents, and review them after an individual dies.  This is because various taxes will come into play, such as Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Taxes, and Excise Tax.

A properly drafted Trust will require that after the first spouse passes away, the Trust will be separated into two Sub-Trusts.  This is required to take full advantage of the Federal Estate Tax “Coupon.”  This dictates how much a person can leave to their heirs before triggering Estate Tax consequences.  Currently, each spouse can leave up to $13.61 million dollars to their heirs before triggering Estate Taxes.  This is as of 2024.  Because of the combined value of the spouse’s Estate Tax Coupon, is $27.22 million (as of 2024), it is important for the Estate Planning Attorney to include language in the Trust mandating that Trusts need to be separated into Sub-Trusts upon the first spouse’s death. 

This is required in order to let the Trust Administrator or Successor Trustee (selected by the Grantor/makers of the Trust) know that they have this specific duty.

Irrevocable Trusts

An Irrevocable Family Trust is one in which the Grantor forever releases any claims on certain assets (such as money, houses, cars, etc.), and the asset goes into a Trust for the benefit of another person.  This is often seen with Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts in which the premium is paid by the Grantor as “gifts” to their children, and this helps reduce the tax liability of the children and Grantor upon the Grantor’s death.  In addition, all of the proceeds from the life insurance policy will be tax-free upon the Grantor’s death.  This money can then be distributed to the children by the directions of the Trust at the hands of whoever the then-designated Trustee is.

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust is a Trust that is established for the benefit of a Vulnerable Adult.  This vulnerability can be either mental or physical, and it usually involves high-dollar life care costs.  If you have a family member or loved one who is a Vulnerable Adult, make an appointment with Cantor Law Group to speak with us on the best way to proceed.

Trust Administration

What to do if There is a Recent Death and you are Appointed as an Executor, Representative, or Successor Trustee.

Trust Administration after a Grantor (i.e., the maker of the Trust) Dies

Successor Trustees

A Successor Trustee is the person who takes over for the Original Trustee should the time come.  This can occur because the Original Trustee passes away, becomes incapacitated, or simply chooses not to manage the Trust anymore.  A Successor Trustee can be an individual you designate in your original documents, or it can be a private company or law firm (such as Cantor Law Group) that runs the Trust for you.  This is sometimes known as “Trust Administration.”

Successor Trustees Appointed by the State.  Pursuant to ARS 14-10704 of the Arizona Trust Code, a Successor Trustee will be appointed by the State when there is a “vacancy” created by one of the Trustees.  A specific order of appointment must be followed in this priority: (1) first priority is a person designated by the Trust to act as Successor Trustee; (2) next by a person who the Qualified Beneficiaries unanimously agree upon as being a Successor Trustee; and lastly (3) by a person the Court appoints.

Although it appears that only the Qualified Beneficiaries can appoint a Successor Trustee, this does not mean that the Non-Qualified Beneficiary has no say.  All Non-Qualified Beneficiaries can file a Petition with the court to remove a Trustee who is appointed by a Qualified Beneficiary, if they can show it would be in the Trust’s best interest. If you need an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney to handle your Trust Litigation or Business Litigation matter related to your Probate case, then call the highly experienced Probate Lawyers at Cantor Law Group to set you Free Consultation today! 

A Successor Trustee needs to be Empowered by the Trust documents to act on behalf of the Trust itself.

  • The first thing a Successor Trustee needs to do is review all Trust documents.  If we have designed the Trust for you, they can contact Cantor Law Group and we will help explain these documents and the duties that they require.  Once the Successor Trustee has reviewed the documents, they need to decide if they actually want to serve.  If they do agree to serve, then they have a duty to show that they are qualified to handle this role.  At your direction, we will create a “Certificate of Trust,” which will include all circumstances of how the Successor Trustee came to be nominated by you, the Grantor.  Once that information is set forth in the Certificate of Trust, then anyone who deals with the Successor Trustee in connection with your Trust, can reasonably be assured that they are dealing with the right person.

Next, inside of your Trust Agreement we shall include, a list of all Specific Powers and abilities that the Successor Trustee is allowed to undertake on the Trust’s behalf.  If this “Trust Powers Provision” is not included in the Trust document, then there is a presumption that the Successor Trustee is not allowed to act on the excluded transaction.  This can have the unintended consequence of going against the Grantor’s original intent.  This is why it’s important to speak in detail with your Cantor Law Group Estate Planning Attorney, in order to cover all potential “Specific Powers” that you wish the Successor Trustee to obtain.

Looking for a Top Glendale Trusts Lawyers with legal background and compassion to help you meet your estate plan objectives? Then schedule a free consultation with our Glendale Trusts Attorney today at Cantor Law Group and check out our law firm profile!

Click the link below to learn more about Trust Administration.

Learn More About Trust Administration

What We Do When We Represent You

Cantor Law Group’s Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney will prepare a comprehensive plan as required to your specific needs.  In addition to a Last Will and Testament, we can design a Revocable Living Trust that can protect all of your assets for your beneficiaries so that your assets go where and to whom you want, and not to creditors or opportunistic litigious individuals.  Also, this Trust will allow you to make provisions for your minor children, both if you are incapacitated while alive or after death.  They can also be designed to help eliminate or greatly reduce Estate Taxes for your heirs. 

Separate documents would include a Durable Power of Attorney, which could allow your spouse or another to handle your financial matters if you simply choose to, or if you become incapacitated or go missing.  In addition, Health Care Directives can detail your choices regarding comfort measures should you become gravely ill.  It can also dictate whether you wish to have all life-saving efforts conducted, and also what your preference is regarding “life support” decisions and duration.  Finally, we will prepare a Durable Mental Health Powers of Attorney, should you begin to have a mental decline resulting in psychiatric issues which require inpatient care or confinement. 

Once we are finished drafting all documents for you, we can provide support for “Funding your Assets,” or “Asset Migration” into your Trust.  This would include all of your Arizona real estate, along with your bank and stock accounts.  Also insurance policies, business formations, car titles, art and other assets can be migrated into your Trust as you wish.  Lastly, when all of this has been completed, we will provide you with a three-ring binder and a Thumb Drive, which will contain all documents and contact information. 

It will also include your final wishes as to burial/cremation, and memorial services.  And, because the world has become more technologically savvy, we would include all passwords to your various electronic accounts and devices.  This is especially useful to allowing permission for one of your heirs to access all of the data and photos contained on your I-phone.  At that point, it is up to you to let your most trusted heir know where you keep this Estate Planning Binder and Thumb Drive.

Many families need Estate Planning Services, yet don’t know where to start when looking for an Estate Lawyer or Probate Attorney who is also highly skilled in Trust Law. So if you need an experienced law office with Trust and Estate Counsel, then call a Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney at Cantor Law Group and set your Free Estate Planning Consultation today!

What Our Clients Say

Glendale Trust and Estate Planning FAQs

What if I become incapacitated or die during my divorce?

If you have a Durable Power of Attorney in place and you become incapacitated during your divorce, your designated agent under that Durable Power of Attorney will step into your shoes and complete the divorce process. So, if you are anticipating divorce or are in the middle of a divorce, make sure that you update your Power of Attorney to remove your spouse as your Agent. 

If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Directives, you need them. Becoming incapacitated during a divorce (or anytime) without having these documents means that a court will need to appoint a Guardian and Conservator to make medical and financial decisions for you and to handle your financial affairs. This can be very costly. 

If you die during your divorce, it is the same as dying as if you were happily married.  Death ends divorce, so unless you have taken steps to address the passing of your assets during your divorce, your spouse may end up getting everything. 

What if I become incapacitated or die after my documents are drafted, but before I sign?

Unfortunately, unsigned documents are the same as not having documents.  In Arizona, your estate plan documents must meet certain statutory requirements to be effective. One of these requirements is that the documents be signed.  

If you become incapacitated, a court will need to appoint a guardian and conservator to make medical and financial decisions for you and to handle your financial affairs. 

What if I own real estate in another state?

If you do not have trust that holds title to this real estate, your Personal Representative or Executor (the person nominated in your will or appointed by the probate court) will likely have to open an “Ancillary Probate.”  This means that after probate is opened in Arizona, another probate will be required in every other state where you own real estate.  For this reason, we always recommend a trust to hold your real estate.  Real estate from all states can be held in your Arizona trust, which avoids the need for probate in any state.   

Should I draft my own documents on LegalZoom?

No. Everyone has heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for.”  Well, nothing is more true when it comes to estate planning. At Cantor Law Group, an attorney listens to your specific needs and goals and creates a custom estate plan for you. Not only that, but we continue to answer your questions free of charge even after you have signed your documents.  We will remain your estate planning attorneys and will continue to offer our guidance and expertise. Spending time getting to know you and your needs and answering your questions enables us to provide you with the best service possible and gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your plan meets your specific needs and goals.        

Should I use a non-attorney CPA or document preparer?

No. For the same reasons you should not use LegalZoom or any other similar service, you should not use non-attorneys to prepare your estate plan. Neither document preparers nor CPAs are legally trained, and neither can give you legal advice. If they do, they are engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Moreover, while a CPA can give you tax advice, that is only part of what goes into an estate plan. At Cantor Law Group we address all of the legal intricacies necessary to prepare an estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals.         

My love one died with a will in place-now what?

Call Cantor Law Group.  We will be able to help guide you through the process of navigating probate or estate administration. Sometimes, probate is not necessary if the estate is small, there are contractual designations that bypass probate, or if there is a trust.  Even if probate is necessary, we will help you get through it.  You do not have to do it on your own.    

What if my loved one died without a will?

Call Cantor Law Group. If someone dies without a will, that person is said to have died intestate.  Arizona has intestate statutes that determine who has priority to serve as the Personal Representative or Executor of the intestate estate and determine who inherits the property of the intestate estate. With intestate probate, you must undertake a thorough search for a will and locate all potential heirs. We can help you with these tasks and get you through the probate process.     

What if my loved one died without a partially funded trust?

A trust only works of your assets are titled in or flow through the trust. The process of making sure that your assets are titled in or flow through the trust is called “funding.” When you create a trust with Cantor Law Group, we will assist you with this process and give you specific instructions to avoid partial funding. 

However, in the event that an asset was inadvertently left out of a trust, we rely on a Pour-Over Will to capture those assets and transfer them to the trust. While this requires probate, the end result will be that the trust controls the asset.  

What is a small estate affidavit?

If the value of personal property in an estate is worth $75,000 or less and/or the value of real estate, minus all encumbrances, is $100,000 or less, you may be able to collect the assets with a small estate affidavit. This does not mean that you can keep the assets unless you are the sole heir or devisee under the will, but it does mean that you can avoid probate. We can help you determine if this method will work for you.  

What are P.O.D or T.O.D accounts?

An account with a P.O.D. designation means that the account is Payable on Death to a designated person or persons.  An account with a T.O.D. designation means that the account is Transferable on Death to a designated person or persons.  Sometimes, this is referred to as “poor man’s estate planning” as it costs less but is no substitute for a full and complete estate plan that addresses all potential issues. For example, it does not take into account administration expenses, including any medical bills, funeral arrangements and final tax returns.  If you have P.O.D. and T.O.D. designations on all of your accounts, they will go to the people you designate, and no money will be left to pay for these administration expenses. This is just one reason a full estate plan should be the only option for you.   

What is a “Partition Action”?

When two or more people own real estate together as tenants in common, they all have to agree how to manage, pay for and, ultimately, dispose of the property. If they cannot agree, someone will file a partition action to force the sale of the real estate.  With a Partition Action, the court will appoint a real estate special master to list and sell the property.  All joint owners will be responsible for a share of those fees, in addition to their own legal fees. This is what can happen if you put a Beneficiary Deed on your home to avoid probate with any more than one beneficiary.  This is another reason why full estate planning is necessary.  When you pass, you want to make life easy for your loved ones while they are grieving your loss.  So, give yourself and your loved ones some peace of mind by making sure that you have an estate plan that fully addresses all of the potential issues that may arise upon your death.

Work With a Cantor Law Group Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney Today

For a free consultation at our experienced Glendale Estate Planning Firm with one of our Glendale Trusts and Estate Planning Attorneys, call us at  602-307-0808  , or click here for a free consultation and legal guidance on any estate planning cases.