Phoenix Wills & Probate Attorney
John R. Fitzpatrick, PC3101 North Central Avenue #1600
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Contact John R. Fitzpatrick, PC
Law Firm OverviewJohn R. Fitzpatrick, P.C. is located in Phoenix, AZ and serves clients in and around Youngtown, Laveen, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Maricopa, Scottsdale, Maricopa County. The firm provides exceptional legal representation in connection with a variety of matters, including probate, estate and trust disputes, guardianships and conservatorships, probate and intestate administration.
Areas of Law
Additional Areas of Law: Financial Exploitation; Guardianships & Conservatorships; Incapacity; Undue Influence and Duress; Will Interpretation; Asset Distribution Disputes; Creditor Claims; Heirship Challenges; Omitted Spouse and Child Issues; Trust Validity Issues; Breach of Trust; Intestate Administration.
Areas of Law Description
When a person passes away and leaves a will, those named or not named in the will sometimes disagree with its terms. Such disagreements can lead to a Phoenix will dispute. Although this is often a difficult process for everyone involved, the numerous reasons for pursuing a dispute includes reason to doubt the validity of the will, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud and undue influence.
- Estate and Probate Disputes
Once probate process has started, several kinds of disputes can arise. Often, estate and probate disputes, more commonly thought of as "inheritance disputes," involve a challenge to, or contest of, the will itself. There are many types of disputes, but among the most common are questions about whether the will, or a portion of it, is even valid, whether a relative left out of the will is entitled to any of the deceased person's estate, and how to interpret the meaning of ambiguous words and phrases used in a will.
- Trust Disputes
As the use of family trusts as estate planning devices has increased, so has the number of disputes arising out of these trusts. Even trusts prepared by qualified counsel can give rise to disputes, but more often, problems arise by a trust prepared without the benefit of legal counsel. Regardless of the source of the document, trustees have fiduciary duties to act in the best interest of the trust beneficiaries. Sometimes those duties are in conflict with each other, and sometimes those duties conflict with the trustee's personal desires.
- Financial Exploitation
It is an unfortunate truth that financial exploitation of elders and adults who are vulnerable because of a physical or mental condition is becoming more and more common. This is especially true in Arizona, where so many seniors choose to retire. In response to an increasing number of exploitation reports, Arizona has enacted one of the most stringent financial exploitation laws in the country.
- Guardianships & Conservatorships
John R. Fitzpatrick, his colleagues and staff are experienced in assisting clients with the administration of guardianships and conservatorships and in handling related disputes. In Arizona, A guardian is appointed by the Court to take care of a incapacitated adult or minor child (called a "ward"), make health care, education, and certain legal decisions on the person's behalf. A conservator is a person appointed to handle the estate and affairs of someone incapable of handling such affairs and finances (called a "protected person"). A conservator, for example, may sue and be sued on behalf of the protected person.
- Probate Administration
In Arizona, "probate" is a term used for a variety of things, leading to considerable confusion. Technically, one probates a will by submitting it to the Court for approval. Although that definition is quite limited, confusion arises because the Arizona Superior Court refers to such cases, as well as all those involving trusts, intestacy, guardianship and conservatorship, as "probate" matters. All such matters are given a "probate" case number, are governed by the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure, and some Arizona counties even use the term "Probate Court." It can all sound a bit overwhelming.
- Intestate Succession
When a person dies without a valid will, or if the will fails to distribute all of the property of the decedent, such person is said to have died "intestate." In these situations and with rare exceptions, the decedent's estate must still be handled through a Court process. The Court must make a determination of intestacy, appoint a personal representative, and determine who will ultimately be distributed the estate's assets. The persons to whom an intestate decedent's estate is ultimately distributed are called "heirs," and they are determined in accordance with the priorities specified by Arizona's law of intestate succession. If your loved one has passed without a will, or even if your long lost uncle has died, and there is no one handling the situation, John R. Fitzpatrick can advise you of your rights and help guide you through the process.
Mr. John R. Fitzpatrick
Estate and Trust, Probate
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