Arcadia Family Law Services
 

Estate Planning

The MorleyLaw Firm Family Law Ms. Morley understands that it is of upmost importance that our clients’ personal matters and financial affairs are handled appropriately upon death or incapacity. We assist our clients in determining their objectives and create a customized estate plan to achieve their goals.

If you own property, if you are recently married or divorced, or if you have children, it is time to update your estate plan. Telephone our law firm at 480.994.8824. We provide a broad range of estate planning services, including the following: 
 

Last Will & Testament

A Last Will and Testament is the traditional legal instrument used to dictate how assets pass to beneficiaries upon the death of the testator (the person for whom the will was prepared). It may also be used to appoint a guardian for the testator’s children. A Last Will and Testament is a relatively simple document to prepare, and nearly everyone should have one. We will evaluate your circumstances and create a customized will to suit your particular needs.
 

Trust

A Trust is a legal entity frequently used in estate planning. All trusts have three distinct participants:
 
The Grantor (also called a “settlor”, “donor”, “trustor”, or “trustmaker”) is the person who makes the trust.

The Trustee is the person or entity (such as a bank) in charge of overseeing the assets or property in the trust.

The Beneficiary is the person who receives benefit from the trust.
 
There are many types of trusts. A Living Trust (also called an “inter-vivos” trust) becomes effective during the grantor’s lifetime, whereas a Testamentary Trust becomes effective upon a grantor’s death. A Revocable Trust may be altered or terminated during a grantor’s lifetime. Generally, however, if the grantor gives up the right to alter or revoke the trust after it becomes effective, it is an Irrevocable Trust. A trust also may be classified based upon purpose—e.g., a Charitable Trust, a Life Insurance Trust, a Special Needs Trust, or a Spendthrift Trust. Your unique circumstances will dictate what type of trust is used to meet your specific goals and objectives.

One of the most commonly used trusts is the Revocable Living Trust. Upon death of the grantor, a Last Will & Testament must be submitted to probate, which can be costly, time-consuming, and a frustrating process. Many clients prefer to use a Revocable Living Trust to avoid probate. In a Revocable Living Trust, the grantor transfers personal ownership of property to a trust that may be altered or revoked during the grantor’s lifetime. The grantor serves as the trustee and also is a beneficiary. The grantor names a successor trustee to take over upon the grantor’s death. Probate is avoided because the trust (and not the individual) owns the property. We will assist you by preparing a Revocable Living Trust in conjunction with your estate plan if it serves your objectives.
 

Conservatorship & Guardianship

In Arizona, both a Guardian and/or a Conservator may be appointed by the Court. A Guardian is someone who is appointed to make decisions for a minor or incapacitated person. A person may be incapacitated due to mental illness, mental deficiency, mental disorder, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication or other cause. A Conservator is someone who is given authority over the assets and income of a person who cannot effectively manage that person’s own estate. If you believe a loved one is in need of a guardian and/or a conservator, we will evaluate the circumstances and represent you in these proceedings.
 

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal instrument used in planning for potential incapacity. The Principal (the person for whom the Durable Power of Attorney is made), gives another person, the Agent, power to conduct business and to make financial decisions on the principal’s behalf. The agent must act in the principal’s best interest and cannot misuse the power for the agent’s own benefit.

Executing a Durable Power of Attorney may avoid the need for a loved one to initiate conservatorship proceedings. You might select a spouse or an adult child to act as your agent. As medical technology continues to extend life expectancy, planning for potential incapacity becomes more and more relevant.
 

Living Will & Health Care Power of Attorney

Both a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney are legal instruments used in planning for potential incapacity. These legal instruments are called Advance Directives.

A Living Will is used to make a person’s wishes known regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It also may be called an advance directive, a health care directive, or a physician's directive. A Living Will can express your wishes to your health care provider and to your family in the event you cannot speak for yourself.

A Health Care Power of Attorney is used to appoint a representative to make medical decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. The representative should make decisions with your wishes in mind, so it is important to appoint someone you trust and to talk to them in advance about your desires and values.

A Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney can be used separately or together. For information about having your advance directive prepared free of charge, click here.
 

Premarital & Postmarital Agreements

In Arizona, couples can make a written agreement regarding their property division and support should their marriage fail. A Premarital Agreement is made before marriage, and a Postmarital Agreement is made after marriage. Courts enforce these agreements, so long as they are not unfair. Regardless of whether it is a first or successive marriage, couples should give some thought to whether a marital agreement is right for them. A marital agreement can protect children, protect assets, reduce expenses and take the uncertainty out of divorce, and avoid a windfall for either party. If you are contemplating marriage or simply want to protect your rights in the event of divorce, we will help you evaluate your property and assure that your marital agreement is enforceable under Arizona law.
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The Morley Law Firm, PLC
800 North 1st Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
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P 602.826.8327