Probate / Trust Administration & Litigation Law

Honor your loved one’s last wishes

The death of a loved one is often overwhelming. We take the legal stress out of settling estates and disputes, so your family can move forward with peace of mind.

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Simplifying the probate & trust process for families in Arizona

Probate administration

When a loved one passes with an estate plan or a valid last will and testament in place, legal authority from the court is required to sell, retitle, or distribute assets. We have a custom probate road map to help guide you through this process.

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Trust Administration Family young hugging

Trust administration

Arizona law dictates the legal steps required when administering a loved one’s trust after they pass. We’ll help you determine if the court will need to be involved or whether the trust is properly set up and funded and how best to efficiently administer the trust.

Probate & trust litigation

Whether or not your loved one had a proper estate plan, sometimes disputes arise regarding the validity or interpretation of an estate plan, and/or whether the person in charge of an estate or trust is properly performing their responsibilities.

Probate and Trust Administration Couple looking over paperwork
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Caleb and his team were amazing.

My stepfather passed away and while most of the family was on the same page, one of our siblings had our dad sign estate documents when he was very sick and near death, isolated him from us at the end of his life, and set it up so most of his assets went to her, including his house. Caleb was able to get a lot of what she did thrown out, so our stepfather’s true wishes were honored.

- Prior Client

How we’ve helped:

Helped two half-siblings administer their mother’s estate, including suing a real estate agent who persuaded the mother to sell her house for pennies on the dollar weeks before she died, so we could return the house to mom’s estate.
Supported three family members whose grandparents had a trust, but the trustee was inappropriately moving property into his own name. We helped remove him from the trustee role and had the property returned to the trust.
Assisted an adult son, living out of state, with cleaning up and finishing the administration of his father’s estate. The son started the probate on his own, without a lawyer, and ran into some hiccups, causing some tension with his half-siblings.
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A very close elder relative of mine was being financially exploited by a friend, and my relative had set up a trust in this friend's name.

It was tricky to manage because my relative wasn’t fully aware of what was happening and I live out of state. But Caleb knew exactly what Arizona laws would apply to our situation and found a good path forward for us. He’s very versed in elder law, which is important, but his litigation experience made a huge difference in bringing this person to justice. Caleb has a very calming presence that puts you at ease. He’s so good, I’m having my own trust moved to Arizona just so he can represent me.

- Prior Client

Commonly asked questions about probate and trusts in Arizona

Probate is simply the court-involved legal process to obtain the necessary legal authority and permissions to administer an estate. It’s a required process in Arizona so that a last will and testament can pass property and assets to your loved ones.

Probate may be avoided if all assets are set to transfer through a trust or beneficiary designations. But these mechanisms must be set up by the owner, during their life. This is one reason why many estate planning clients at Lihn Law Group elect to center their estate plan around a revocable living trust, to eliminate the need for their loved ones to take the estate through probate.

In general, probate may be open from 6 months to 2 years. Much of this depends on the complexity of the estate.

Yes, Arizona has a series of laws/rules in place which apply to probates. Filing the correct legal paperwork, providing the proper legal notices to interested persons, providing notice to creditors, publishing notices, and properly informing beneficiaries are examples of some of the steps required in probate. 

Lihn Law Group created a custom, three-phase road map which we walk you through, to make the probate process more efficient and significantly less stressful.

For smaller estates, Arizona created a mechanism to transfer property via an affidavit. There are, however, financial and time limitations in place on these transfers. 

This process applies when all personal property (think everything that isn’t real estate) is valued at $75,000 or less and your loved one passed away at least 30 days prior – and to real estate valued at $100,000 or less and your loved one passed away at least 6 months prior.

If your loved one primarily lived elsewhere but had a second home or investment property in Arizona, some involvement with the court in Arizona is required to obtain authority to transfer, liquidate, or distribute the title to the property. 

Fortunately, Arizona has a law allowing a very efficient, streamlined procedure for recognizing out-of-state probates and granting authority in Arizona. This process is extremely efficient and saves the estate money.

A trust administration traditionally does not have the same formal requirements as an estate administration. A trust serves as a rulebook, so an important piece of any trust administration is the content of a specific trust. 

Arizona has a series of rules which make up the Arizona Trust Code. A trustee is responsible for both following the rules of the specific trust and those in the Arizona Trust Code. While an attorney is not required to assist in a trust administration, we are quite often hired by clients to assist them in the trust administration, to relieve some of the stress and pressure they feel navigating an unfamiliar process.

We’re sorry if there is fighting in your family. We know disputes multiply the stress and emotions in an already difficult situation. If there is a dispute regarding the validity of estate planning documents or the wrongdoing of someone in charge of administering an estate or trust, we can help. There are a specific set of procedural rules in place for probate cases involving a dispute. We can help navigate those rules for you and use them to enforce your loved one’s wishes.

Ready to work together to protect your family?

Call us today. We’d love to hear from you.