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Non-probate Assets and Designated Beneficiaries

AStock certificate | Non-probate assets | Scottsdale, AZ | Berk & Moskowitz, PC recent probate case, In re Maynard, deals with the issue of failing to identify beneficiaries when using non-probate assets.

A non-probate asset is defined as a financial or legal instrument that designates a beneficiary as part of its legal function. By doing so, the instrument passes outside of probate. Some common examples of potential non-probate assets are:

  • Retirement accounts, such as IRA’s and 401K’s;
  • Insurance policies;
  • Beneficiary deeds for real property;
  • Real estate deeds that are held joint tenants with right of survivorship; and
  • Stock options.

[Read more...]

Help for Arizona Personal Representatives

Personal Representative | Probate attorneys | Scottsdale, Arizona | Berk & Moskowitz, PC |When a loved one names you as an executor or personal representative in their Last Will and Testament, and you are appointed as such by the court, you take on legal obligations and fiduciary duties.

In the role of personal representative, performing and providing an accounting of the estate’s total assets and liabilities is one of the most important set of tasks assigned. It requires patience, assertiveness, and the ability to organize the details of someone else’s life. It can be challenging enough without encountering resistance from someone refusing to cooperate with simply returning property or records that once belonged to the decedent.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem encountered by many people serving as personal representatives. On the other hand, Arizona law assists personal representatives in this type of situation. [Read more...]

Scottsdale Culinary Festival

Scottsdale Culinary Festial | Scottsdale, AZAre you a culinary connoisseur? Do you like to try new foods? Well, then you should attend the annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival!

Celebrating its 36-year anniversary, the festival is the longest running of its type in the entire country. The six-day event hosts over 35,000 guests, 100 restaurants, countless chefs, and numerous fine wine and spirit selections. [Read more...]

Proposed Bill Would Lower Age of Minor for Gift Transfers

Probate court | Scottsdale, AZ AttorneysIt’s important for us, as probate and trust lawyers, to keep up to date on laws, court cases, and bills relating to our cases.

Recently, the Arizona House of Representatives read a proposed bill that, if passed, would impact the giving of gifts to minors. The bill, sponsored by representatives Sherwood, Alston, Mendez, and Quezada, was introduced in late January.

The bill concerns Section 14-7651 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, relating to the Arizona Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. Currently, the law defines an adult as someone “who is at least twenty-one years of age” or, conversely, a minor as someone who is under twenty-one years of age.  The bill would change the age of an adult to eighteen. A minor would be someone under the age of eighteen. [Read more...]

Trust and Financial Exploitation

Estate Litigation Attorney | Scottsdale, AZWhat does it mean to be in a position of trust and confidence?

When pursuing claims that someone financially exploited a vulnerable adult, this question becomes key.

A recent court case explored this important question. The case involved Helen P. Kousoulas, Kalliope Marinis, and Sotirios Marinis. [Read more...]

Arizona Governor Vetoes Controversial Bill

Discrimination Law | Scottsdale, AZ AttorneysRecently, Arizona was thrust into the national spotlight over the passing of a controversial bill by the state legislature.

The bill, SB 1062, amended current Arizona statutes relating to the free exercise of religion. Among other changes, the bill extended protection from discrimination lawsuits from only “a religious assembly or institution” to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity.” [Read more...]

Can a Remainder Beneficiary Sue a Trustee?

Gavel | Civil Litigation AttorneysA revocable living trust may have certain advantages over a last will and testament.  Namely, a trust may help avoid probate, which can often be time consuming and costly.

The trustee of the trust is responsible for carrying out the instructions of the trust, established by the trust’s creator, or settlor.  The trustee has a fiduciary duty toward the settlor, meaning that he or she is obliged, among other things, to manage the trust as directed by the settlor in the trust document.  Failing to do so can open the trustee to liability for his or her actions.  Read our article to learn more about trustee’s duties and trust disputes. [Read more...]

Customer List Not a Trade Secret according to Court Ruling

Trade secrets | Business AttorneysFor something to be a trade secret, it needs to be…secret.

Of course, businesses should be able to protect information that is economically valuable from their competitors; however, business owners in Arizona should be aware of what it takes for  their otherwise confidential information to be a legally enforceable trade secret. [Read more...]

Financial Abuse Runs Rampant among Elderly

Financial abuse | Elder Law AttorneysIt is a sad fact that elderly Americans are often severely mistreated. The elderly are abused and taken advantage of not only by strangers but also by the people who are supposed to be caring for them.

It is estimated that about four million older Americans become the victims of various forms of abuse. Unfortunately, this number is likely just the tip of the iceberg: the American Psychological Association estimates that, for every abuse case reported to the authorities, 23 cases go unnoticed. [Read more...]

Arabian Horse Show Gallops into Scottsdale

Arabian horse | Scottsdale, AZHorses are an integral part of Scottsdale—with these four-legged creatures nearly as common as two-legged ones. The enthusiasm for horses can clearly be seen at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the largest event of its kind. The yearly event attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators.

This year, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show promises to be better than ever. [Read more...]