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Arizona Law Overview

   When you utilize the services of our Phoenix Arizona estate planning attorney you will engage in all the steps you need to take to make sure that your heirs are provided for in the best possible way, including lifetime planning as well as disposition of property at death. Estate planning as crafted by our Sun City Will and Trust lawyer is carried out with legal documents such as wills and trusts; it typically involves a Peoria Arizona attorney, and may be very complicated if you have a lot of assets. A well-drafted estate plan ensures that your estate passes to those you want, when you want, and is carried out in the manner you've chosen. You can protect your family from the long, public process and costly matter of probate. The government won't be able to take what you've spent a lifetime building.

   However, every Arizona estate plan should start at the same point: decide who needs your support and how you want to protect them. As difficult as it is to sit down and plan for the day when you will no longer be here, it is essential that you adequately plan for the care and financial protection of your loved ones when you are no longer with them. Individuals who fail to make certain decisions - regarding who will take care of their children or who will settle their financial affairs - will have the court make those decisions for them. The West Valley Arizona Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, can assist you with proper estate planning, so that you do not give up your right to make your own decisions as to the care of your family as well as the disposition of your hard earned assets.

  Arizona West Valley Estate planning focuses on the orderly management and disposition of an individual’s assets during lifetime as well as upon death, with consideration of the impact of such wealth transfer on future generations. At the Glendale, Arizona Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC, we believe there is no such thing as a typical client or set of circumstances when it comes to estate planning. This Phoenix Arizona law firm’s approach to you as a client is to develop a thorough understanding of your needs, concerns and desires, and to present to you all of your options when preparing an estate plan.

   The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC takes pride in the depth of our legal expertise, and just as importantly, in our personalized service to our Arizona clients. Estate planning is not just a one shot deal; it is an ongoing process that should be continuously re-evaluated and updated as ones circumstances evolve. Mr. Kenney has an understanding of both the personal and economic significance of major life changes such as birth, marriage, death and professional transitions. Ray is dedicated to being accessible, responsive and flexible as he strives to meet each client’s estate planning objectives.
The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC encourages you to contact the firm for a review of your estate planning needs.

Steps in Arizona Estate Planning

 Basic estate planning always begins with an evaluation of the client’s family and economic situation as well as the client’s short and long term objectives. It is the belief of the Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC that no one plan is right for everyone and no attorney should offer estate planning advise until the attorney gets to know his/her client’s full family and economic situations. You as a client should feel thoroughly understood and unrushed when dealing with your attorney. You should not get the feeling from your attorney that your unique life circumstances are being pigeonholed into a prepackaged estate plan that may make it easier for your attorney to draft the documents but that those documents will not fit your specific requirements. The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC knows that the clear expression of our clients’ intent in their estate planning documents can avoid ambiguity and deter later challenges to the plan. We accomplish this by working together with our client to develop an appropriate plan, and then we prepare the necessary documentation needed to implement the client’s plan. 

ARIZONA WILLS: The centerpiece of most estate plans is a will. A will is a formal legal document stating how you want your estate distributed. It is submitted to the court after you die. A basic will contains the following information: The person's name, city, and state in which they live, appointment of the Personal Representative (executor), appointment of the guardian for minor children, statement of specific transfers (bequests), statement of who gets the balance of the estate, instructions for the executor to follow and powers granted, description of controls you want over bequests to minors, a place for the testator to sign and date the will, a declaration that the witnesses sign stating that they witnessed the signing and that the testator was of sound mind.

ARIZONA  TRUSTS:A Trust is a separate legal entity that controls the assets you place into it. The person who establishes the Trust is known as the Trustor of the trust. The Trustor determines who gets income and/or principal from the Trust. The individuals who receive the disbursements from the Trust are known as Beneficiaries. The person who administers the trust is the Trustee. The body of the trust (how long the trust should last, who gets what, and other rules the trustee has to follow) is known as the Trust Terms. The document that defines the trust is known as the Trust Agreement. Trusts can be powerful tools when used properly. An often overlooked benefit of proper planning is the avoidance of court-supervised procedures in the event of incapacity. Assets held in a revocable trust can continue to be managed by the designated successor trustee, and in many circumstances a durable general power of attorney for property can be effective for the same purpose. In addition, specific provisions can be incorporated in such powers of attorney to authorize the agent to take certain steps to carry out the incapacitated person’s estate plan. Similarly, durable powers of attorney for health care, living wills or advance health care directives not only set forth an individual’s wishes with respect to medical treatment, but can designate an agent to make medical decisions during any period of incapacity.
A Trustee acts in a fiduciary capacity in the administration of a Trust. As such, the Trustee owes certain legal duties to the beneficiaries. The Trustee’s basic duties involve the collection, management and investment of Trust assets and the accumulation and distribution of income and principal pursuant to the Trust Agreement. The Trustee has a duty to administer the Trust solely in the interest of the beneficiaries and to deal impartially with them. If the Trustee exceeds his/her powers, the Trustee may be held liable for loss or damage to the Trust Estate. A Trustee may hire attorneys and others to consult with during the administration of the Trust, and normally the Trustee may pay such advisors from the assets of the Trust.

  The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, located in Glendale, Arizona is equipped to address any issues that may arise in the course of trust administration. If you serve as a trustee of a trust or as a personal representative of a decedent's estate, you face many complicated responsibilities. Mr. Kenney can assist you by handling the following:

1) Re-titling and transferring assets to trusts and other beneficiaries;
2) Post-death estate planning;
3) Probate administration, including appointing personal representatives and preparing and filing accountings and inventories;
4) Transferring businesses to the next generation;
5) Preparing trust and estate income tax returns and
6) Questions you may have during the course of the administration of the

   The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC attempts to provide for our clients’ potential incapacity by eliminating unnecessary costs or court supervision. If our clients do not have such an estate planning mechanisms in place, however, it may be necessary to establish a court-supervised conservatorship of the estate. A conservator protects and manages your family member’s property. Common scenarios where a guardian and conservator are necessary include a disabled child reaching the age of majority, or a parent being afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Kenney’s services extend to determining when such a conservatorship might be necessary, establishing the conservatorship, and providing ongoing advice to conservators with respect to their rights and powers.

   If your family members are not able to make their own decisions with respect to healthcare or finances, it may be necessary to petition the court to appoint a guardian or a conservator. A guardian is responsible for decisions with respect to your family member’s health and living situation. Difficult questions may arise in this process which may include the family member not believing that they need someone to be responsible for them. Questions may also arise as to who should fill the role of guardian or conservator. The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC can assist you in the often complex process of having the court appoint a guardian or conservator.
Trusts can be utilized as part of our clients’ estate plans to avoid the need for a court-supervised guardianship for a minor or the equivalent of a conservatorship for an incapacitated adult. Legally, minors may not hold legal title to property, as such assets inherited by a minor or received by a minor in a settlement agreement, which do not pass to a trust for the minor’s benefit, generally must be held by a guardian of the estate appointed and supervised by the court. The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC is able to establish such guardianships and to advise the guardians as to their responsibilities for the minor’s assets.

  The process of reviewing your will and estate by the court is called Probate. Probate is the process by which legal title of property is transferred from the decedent’s estate to his/her beneficiaries. If a person dies with a will ("testate"), the probate court determines if the Will is valid, hears any objections to it, orders that creditors be paid and supervises the process to assure that the remaining property is distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the will. Once the will is validated and the personal representative can satisfy the courts that all claims have been paid, the personal representative is free to pay out the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries in the will. If a person dies without a will ("intestate"), the probate court appoints a person to receive all claims against the estate, pay creditors and then distributes all remaining property in accordance with the laws of the state.
   The typical cost to probate an estate is steep. The probate process normally takes from six months to a year. Heirs will receive no inheritance until the process is complete. A major reason that many clients chose to have a revocable living trust is avoid the cost and time consuming process of probate. Before opening a formal probate, the Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC attempts to determine whether title to non-trust assets can be transferred by alternative means. Some smaller estates qualify for simplified court proceedings. When a full probate proceeding is required, the Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC is experienced in handling such administrations in Probate Court so that the decedent’s assets are transferred to the beneficiaries as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

   The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC advises its clients about alternative methods of holding title, such as community property versus separate property, the use of revocable living trusts, the advantages and disadvantages of joint tenancy, and the appropriate use of specific business entities. Revocable living trusts and powers of attorney for property management and health care are also available for clients whose situations warrant the use of these documents. There are many other estate planning tools that can be utilized including Beneficiary and Payable on Death Accounts.

   As demonstrated above, a well crafted estate plan functions to put your wishes in writing and to appoint fiduciaries - the parties responsible for carrying out the provisions of the testamentary documents. Fiduciaries include the personal representative (a.k.a. executor), and the trustee. It is the experience of this law firm that when the transfer of money and assets is involved, disputes will arise. It sometimes becomes necessary to involve the courts in order to see that the final wishes of the deceased are carried out and at other times, to obtain guidance for the fiduciary, or to enforce the provisions of the testamentary documents. The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC represents clients with respect to will contests, beneficiaries’ rights, and fiduciary responsibilities.

   Most often wills are probated with no problems but sometimes it is necessary to challenge a will in Court. It is difficult to convince a court to void a will or invalidate a gift, however, when a decedent has been unduly influenced to make a will or lacked the legal capacity to execute a testamentary instrument, the Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC can see to it the rightful beneficiaries have their day in court.

   As a trustee or personal representative, you may have personal liability if you fail to discharge your responsibilities timely and properly. Not all testamentary documents provisions make it clear what the trustee or personal representative is expected to do or how they are to carry out the document’s provisions. The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC can advise you in these matters, and if necessary, petition the court to clarify your duties.

   If you are a beneficiary under a person’s estate plan, it may be a good idea to consult independent counsel to see to it that the decedent wishes are being carried out. The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC will ensure that your rights are protected by holding the fiduciaries accountable, encouraging the fiduciary to make timely distributions and preventing waste of estate assets. If the situation warrants, Mr. Kenney will go to court to see that your rights are protected.




The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC, represents clients throughout Arizona, including Phoenix,Glendale,Sun City West, Sun City, Surprise, Peoria, Tolleson, Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Luke Air Force Base, Scottsdale, North Scottsdale, Pinnacle Peak, Anthem, Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Tempe, Waddell, El Mirage, Maricopa County, Mesa, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, and Casa Grande, Arizona. When you need experienced legal representation to help resolve your legal issues whether it be bankruptcy filing, chapter 7, chapter 13, estate planning attorney, wills, trusts, probate, divorce, family law, business law, lawyer, contract review, contract drafting, this law office can help. Contact The Law Office of Raymond A. Kenney, PLLC. Free phone consultation call today to speak to our attorney 623-234-3536


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