Probate & Estate Planning

Earlier this year Quinn volunteered to pack food boxes at St. Mary’s Food Bank and was impressed with their mission and operations.  Currently, 1 in 4 Children live in poverty, and food insecurity rates are nearing 30% in Arizona.  This holiday season DeAngelis Legal has teamed up with the St. Mary’s Food Bank to fight against hunger. We will be holding a food drive from now until December 16th, should you want to make a donation, you can drop off nonperishable foods and monetary donations to our office. With the support of generous donors, and the help of 700 partner
Continue Reading DeAngelis Legal Food Drive

When we think of “estate planning,” our first thought typically involves directions for our property after we are deceased. But did you know your estate plan can include legal directions for the care of your minor children?

In the unfortunate and unlikely event that minor children (under 18 years of age) lose their parents, and those parents do not have proper guardianship documents in place, the courts will be in charge of deciding the parents’ legal successors.

This presents a number of issues. First, the individuals appointed by the court as the children’s guardians might not be the parents’ first
Continue Reading Parents: Include guardianship nominations in your estate plan

The lawsuit, on behalf of the Greater Phoenix Urban League and Acre 41 Enterprises, a group of Black female entrepreneurs, alleges that the State of Arizona has failed to implement the social equity provisions of Proposition 207, the 2020 voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational marijuana possession and use.

Prop. 207 directed the State to issue 26 “social equity” marijuana dispensary licenses and to implement a program to ensure that the licenses were owned and operated by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.

The voters’ intent could be undermined by efforts, as described in a
Continue Reading Jimmy Cool and Josh Mozell represent plaintiffs in lawsuit challenging applications for “social equity” marijuana dispensaries

An investigative series on the

state of mental health care in Arizona

 prompted a report by National Public Radio’s Phoenix affiliate, KJZZ, that aired on November 2.

Read the background on the KJZZ story


hear Steve Goldstein’s report

(7:41), which includes interviews with Frazer Ryan mental health senior partner

Josh Mozell

and partner emeritus

Chick Arnold

Continue Reading KJZZ report: Why a landmark settlement from the '80s hasn't fixed Arizona's mental health care

A five-part report on the deficiencies of Arizona’s mental health system, published in October 2021 by the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, recognizes the ongoing efforts of Frazer Ryan partner emeritus

Chick Arnold

and senior partner

Josh Mozell

on behalf of the state’s seriously mentally ill (SMI) population.

Josh is a quoted source throughout the series.

Written by investigative reporter Amy Silverman, the series coincides with the 40th anniversary of the

Arnold v. Sarn

class-action lawsuit, filed in 1981 by Chick Arnold during his tenure as the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary. (See Ms. Silverman’s feature article, “

Forty Years Later,
Continue Reading Investigative series cites mental health advocacy of Frazer Ryan’s Chick Arnold, Josh Mozell

In certain situations, assisted living facilities can be the best option for families who are making long-term care plans for loved ones. For families trying to determine which particular facility best fits their loved one’s needs, and for facilities trying to make policies that protect their residents without unduly restricting residents’ civil liberties, how the facility regulates cannabis use and firearm possession should not be overlooked.

I recently spoke on this topic at the October 2021 meeting of Arizona Coalition on Aging, and you might find value in viewing my

PowerPoint presentation (PDF

). The presentation covered many of the
Continue Reading Guns, Grass and Grandparents: Managing Cannabis and Firearm Regulations in Elder Care Facilities

When a divorced or widowed parent remarries, that event not only can disrupt family dynamics; it can also trigger financial and legal turmoil if the kids perceive their new step-parent as a threat to their birthright.

In a remarriage or blended family situation, keeping peace in the family is an achievable goal, provided there is effective estate planning, a clear understanding of the estate plan’s objectives, and an equitable balancing of all parties’ interests.

For the purposes of the scenarios described in this article, the “parties” are John, the original husband; Linda, John’s wife; David, whom Linda married after John
Continue Reading Remarriage and the kids’ inheritance

Arizona State Senate president Karen Fann has appointed Frazer Ryan senior partner and

mental health


Josh Mozell

to the Joint Legislative Psychiatric Hospital Review Council.

See appointment letter

The purpose of the 10-member Council is to review and, by December 31, 2022, make recommendations regarding:

  • Arizona’s psychiatric hospital capacity, including the bed capacity at the Arizona State Hospital and other public facilities;

  • the role of private facilities in addressing psychiatric treatment needs;

  • innovative programs to ensure public safety while providing clinically appropriate treatment in the most integrated setting;

  • legal barriers;

  • current waiting lists;

  • barriers to accessing appropriate inpatient care;

Continue Reading Senate president appoints Josh Mozell to psychiatric hospital review panel

The House of Representatives’ tax bill would eliminate grantor trusts and undermine most major tax planning strategies.

This client notice is most relevant for individuals having a net worth exceeding $10 million.

Tax reform is imminent. As we foreshadowed in our May 25 article (“

Likelihood of 2021 Tax Reform Calls for Estate Plan Review

”), on September 12 the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee announced its tax proposal – and it delivers extremely bad news from a gift/estate tax standpoint.

In addition to reducing the gift exemption from $11.7 million to $5 million on January 1, 2022 (unless
Continue Reading "Tax reform" looms: Last chance to preserve your $11.7 million exemption?

In Arizona, divorce and legal separation have the same effect when it comes to estate planning – but the similarities do not extend to mere physical separation.

Under Arizona law, this means that, even if your estate planning documents fail to mention that divorce removes an ex-spouse as a beneficiary, an ex-spouse nevertheless cannot inherit as a beneficiary under estate planning documents following divorce. In this way, legal separation and divorce have much in common: Both keep sole and separate property separate, even for purposes of inheritance.

Additionally, legal separation and divorce may have legal benefits:

  • the community property relationship

Continue Reading Estate planning and unintended consequences of marital separation

Berk Law Group, P.C., a preeminent probate law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, is pleased to announce that Sarah E. Epperson has joined the firm as an associate attorney.  Sarah’s practice is focused on probate, trust and estate litigation and other contested estate matters, and administration..  She also has broad experience in the areas of civil and commercial litigation and civil appeals.
Epperson is an Arizona native who earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona, summa cum laude, and her J.D. from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law in 2013. She is a member
Continue Reading Attorney Sarah E. Epperson Joins Berk Law Group

The “Arnold” in

Arnold v. Sarn

is Frazer Ryan partner emeritus

Chick Arnold

, who filed the lawsuit in 1981 and successfully argued it before the state Supreme Court eight years later. Read Chick’s first-person account of that legal battle (“

Chick Arnold: Mental Health Advocate

“) in the magazine’s Change of Venue section.

Finally, the “From the Editor” column gave a shout-out to Frazer Ryan legal intern

Steven Santoro

. A law student at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Steven is the driving force behind the establishment of the Mental Health Law Society at the law
Continue Reading Frazer Ryan's mental health practice earns strong presence in State Bar magazine

On August 10, 2021, the Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case of In Re Norvelle.  Unfortunately, that case gives us very little guidance on the issue of what constitutes “actual discovery of the cause of action.”  Read our statutes of limitation article for an introduction to statutes of limitation in financial exploitation, abuse and neglect cases.
In Norvelle, Sisters sued their Brother for allegedly financially exploiting their Father.  Father had suffered a stroke in 2012.  Due to Father’s impairments, Brother moved in with Father to assist him until Father died in 2016.  The parties seem to
Continue Reading Court of Appeals gives little guidance in Adult Protective Services Act Statute of Limitation Case

Scottsdale, Arizona probate and elder law attorney Kent S. Berk will present a seminar at the 2021 Arizona Fiduciaries Association Fall Workshop.  Kent will co-present Scams & Exploitation of Elderly/Vulnerable Persons with Courtney Bennett from the Arizona Attorney’s General Office.
Topics will include:

  • Purposes & Construction of the Adult Protective Services Act
  • Who is Protected?
  • Who is subject to the Act?
  • Standard of Care and Exceptions
  • Remedies
  • Reporting Obligations
  • Other issues, e.g. standing and statute of limitations

AFA Fall Workshop Information
When: October 22, 2021
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: The High Country Conference Center Flagstaff, 201 W Butler Ave
Continue Reading Kent Berk to Present at Arizona Fiduciary Association Fall Workshop