The Best Trusts and Estate Planning Law Team in Arizona

When it comes to selecting the best trusts and estate planning law team in Arizona, experience and expertise are paramount. The Cantor Law Group, with Elizabeth Estes as the Managing Partner of the Estate Planning Practice, exemplifies these qualities. Estes’ journey began as an Phoenix Estate Planning Lawyer for a small firm in Phoenix, Arizona. Her career progressed as she became a Partner at a prestigious five-state “Top 200” U.S. law firm in Phoenix before establishing her own practice, specializing in estate planning and probate. With over 25 years of legal experience in Arizona, Estes now leads the Estate Planning Practice at Cantor Law Group, offering unparalleled expertise in the field.

Comprehensive Legal Services

Many estate planning attorneys in Phoenix do not provide services related to estate administration, probate, and trust administration due to a lack of experience in these complex areas. Cantor Law Group’s Elizabeth Estes, however, is a specialist in estate planning and trusts, and she extends her expertise to areas including tax planning, limited liability companies, business law, business succession planning, and family law issues related to estate planning needs. This breadth of knowledge ensures that clients receive comprehensive legal advice and solutions tailored to their specific circumstances.

Virtual Estate Planning Meetings

Cantor Law Group embraces technology to facilitate estate planning through virtual meetings. From the initial consultation to the final signing, the entire process can be conducted via Zoom, email, or phone, ensuring convenience and accessibility for clients. This virtual approach is particularly beneficial in safeguarding against future challenges related to coercion or lack of legal capacity. The firm also employs a secure web portal for receiving financial documents and sensitive information during trust preparation, with FedEx or UPS available for document delivery. While in-person signing is preferred to provide notary and witness services, remote signing options with a mobile notary can be arranged, ensuring flexibility for clients.

Key Questions to Consider When Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney

  1. How many estate plans has the attorney drafted? Elizabeth Estes has designed and drafted over 1,000 estate plans in her 25-year career, ranging from simple wills to complex high-net-worth plans involving LLC and business formation, asset protection structures, and tax exclusion integration.
  2. Does the law firm use non-lawyer document preparers or CPAs to design estate plans? Cantor Law Group exclusively uses lawyers from their Estate Planning Practice to formulate and draft documents, avoiding the pitfalls associated with non-attorney prepared plans.
  3. Does the attorney have experience with drafting irrevocable trusts for tax reduction and asset protection purposes? Cantor Law Group is proficient in estate tax planning, including drafting irrevocable trusts to benefit children and protect assets from creditors or litigious individuals.
  4. Does the attorney have experience drafting special needs trusts for vulnerable adults or individuals subject to guardianship or conservatorship? Cantor Law Group’s attorneys are adept at drafting special needs trusts and filing petitions for guardianship and conservatorship, ensuring protection for vulnerable loved ones.
  5. Has the attorney performed trust administration? Elizabeth Estes has extensive experience as a successor trustee, well-versed in the requirements under the Arizona Uniform Trust Code and maximizing estate tax coupons through “A-B” trusts.
  6. Does the law firm use Wealth Counsel Estate Planning Software in conjunction with Clio legal software? Cantor Law Group utilizes Clio legal software and Wealth Counsel’s cutting-edge estate planning software, ensuring seamless integration of client information and high-level estate planning templates.

Estate Planning Overview

Why Is Estate Planning Necessary?

Estate planning in Arizona is crucial for protecting assets both during life and after death. It shields assets from creditors and litigious individuals, ensuring they benefit heirs as intended. For instance, placing assets in a revocable living trust can prevent them from being lost in lawsuits or accidents. Estate planning also safeguards individuals if they become incapacitated, allowing designated agents to make health decisions on their behalf. Furthermore, it directs the distribution of assets after death, specifying who receives what and when. Proper estate planning can also dictate final wishes regarding burial, cremation, and memorial services, avoiding conflicts among surviving family members.

Wills and Related Documents

  1. Living Will (LW): Designates a surrogate to make decisions regarding end-of-life care, preventing prolonged suffering and unnecessary medical expenses.
  2. Last Will and Testament (LWT): Specifies a personal representative to handle affairs after death, nominates guardians for minor children, and directs asset distribution.
  3. Funeral and Burial Instructions (FBI): Provides clear directives to avoid family disputes over funeral and burial arrangements.
  4. Personal Property Disposition List (PPDL): Details the distribution of specific personal property items, such as watches or art collections.

Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives

These documents enable a designated agent to manage financial and healthcare decisions if the principal becomes incapacitated or unavailable. The agent’s duties include paying bills, making purchases, and directing medical care. Violating fiduciary duties can result in severe legal consequences, including criminal charges and civil liability.

  1. Durable General Power of Attorney (DGPA): Allows an agent to sign legal documents and manage financial affairs during the principal’s incapacity or absence.
  2. Durable Medical Power of Attorney (DMPA): Authorizes an agent to make healthcare decisions if the principal is unable to do so.
  3. Durable Mental Health Power of Attorney (DMHPA): Permits an agent to make mental healthcare decisions, avoiding costly and stressful mental health hearings.
  4. HIPAA Authorization: Ensures loved ones can access medical records during emergencies.

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

  1. Revocable Living Trusts: Allows the grantor to manage and modify the trust during their lifetime, with provisions for asset distribution after death.
  2. Irrevocable Trusts: Transfers assets permanently to a trust, providing tax benefits and protecting assets from creditors.

Special Needs Trusts

Established for vulnerable adults, these trusts provide for their care and protect their assets from misuse.

Successor Trustees

Successor trustees manage the trust if the original trustee becomes incapacitated or dies. They must review trust documents, decide whether to serve, and adhere to specific powers outlined in the trust agreement.

Cantor Law Group’s Commitment

Cantor Law Group’s Phoenix Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney will create a comprehensive plan tailored to your needs. This includes a revocable living trust to protect assets for beneficiaries, durable power of attorney for financial matters, healthcare directives for medical decisions, and mental health powers of attorney for psychiatric care. The firm also assists with funding assets into the trust and provides clients with detailed documentation and instructions.

In summary, Cantor Law Group, led by Elizabeth Estes, stands out as the premier trusts and estate planning law team in Arizona. Their extensive experience, comprehensive services, and commitment to client satisfaction make them the ideal choice for anyone seeking expert estate planning solutions.

Leave a Comment