Practice Areas

Guardianships & Conservatorships

A guardianship proceeding allows a person the legal authority to care for another. A conservatorship proceeding concerns the legal authority to manage another’s financial affairs. These Guardianship and Conservatorship matters, which are often joint proceedings, can be for an incapacitated person or for a minor. There are numerous reasons families find it necessary to file for a guardianship and/or conservatorship. We have experience in protected persons matters involving mental health diagnoses, drug and/or alcohol addiction, traumatic brain injury, delayed development, severely injured minors, and all types of Alzheimer’s and dementia matters. These are very personal matters that often require an attorney seasoned in this area of law. Sometimes, these matters are routine, and other times, they become contested and involve litigation.

The attorneys at Theut, Scaringelli & Kupiszewski P.L.C. are some of the most experienced guardianship and conservatorship attorneys in the State of Arizona, having been party to thousands of these types of matters. Sometimes, guardianship and conservatorship proceedings may be avoided in the State of Arizona if powers of attorney and other estate planning documents are in place.

If you have a child or disabled adult who is subject to guardianship and or conservatorship proceedings or need to explore your options for representation in that area, schedule a consultation with the experienced attorneys at Theut, Scaringelli & Kupiszewski P.L.C.

Trust & Estate Litigation

The transfer of wealth that occurs with the loss of a loved one can be a difficult transition. This is especially true when there are disputes over the decedent’s estate planning, finances, or the succession of a business. Trust and estate disputes often involve a combination of business litigation, real estate transactions, and trust and estate law.

Theut, Scaringelli & Kupiszewski P.L.C. attorneys are able to quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of each case and advise on the best approach, including avoiding conflict resolution and cost-effective resolutions, which conserve our clients’ assets and can reduce the emotional toll of these extremely personal matters. However, at some point, litigation can become necessary. Our attorneys have experience in all levels of trust and estate litigation, from modest estates to ultra-high-net-worth estates.

We represent a broad range of clients, including individuals who have lost a family member and are facing complexities in transferring wealth, personal representatives, estate beneficiaries, trustees, and high-net-worth beneficiaries.

Because of the wide range of clients we serve, we do not offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we take a nuanced approach to resolving conflict, whether directly with the fiduciary or between the beneficiaries.

Trust & Estate Planning

Our estate planning process is very streamlined. Good estate planning creates a roadmap to ease the burden of estate administration. We will listen to your needs and goals, make recommendations based upon your individual circumstances, and prepare documents including:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts that will bypass probate in Arizona
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Arizona Limited Liability Company (“L.L.C”) Formation
  • Testamentary Trusts in Wills for younger children and dependents
  • The naming of guardians for minor children.
  • Charitable Gifts
  • Trusts designed to minimize federal estate tax
  • General Durable Powers of Attorney for financial matters
  • Healthcare Powers of Attorney for healthcare decisions
  • Living Wills (Advanced Health Care Directives)
  • Community Property Agreements
  • Trustee Affidavits
  • Trust Certifications
  • Memorial Instructions
  • Arizona Warranty and Quit Claim Deeds

We believe that all families can benefit from estate planning. What that estate plan looks like will be determined by a number of factors- including your age, the type of assets you hold and their values, whether you have children and grandchildren, own a business or professional practice, how much you have saved for retirement, and many other factors that our attorneys will go over with you on your initial estate planning meeting.

After your initial meeting with Lawrence Scaringelli or James Theut, virtually or in person at our North Phoenix office, we will schedule an in-depth design meeting where we will go over all aspects of your estate plan. If you are married, it will be necessary for you and your spouse to both be involved in this design process. You can schedule your initial meeting today with Lawrence or James using the “Request Consultation” option above or by calling 602.830.0300.

Probate of Wills

Probate in Arizona is the administration of a person’s assets and liabilities upon death. As probate attorneys, we offer experienced representation of clients in both routine and difficult probates. We represent both heirs and personal representatives before the Superior Court in order to initiate probate proceedings and ensure that matters proceed as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

The probate process can be very difficult for families. It’s hard to lose someone you love. The financial and legal complexities resulting from a probate can become overwhelming for personal representatives and heirs. We seek to streamline the probate process and make it as simple, efficient, and understandable as possible – while protecting our clients by making sure all legal requirements are met.

We conduct our probate practice in a thoughtful way so as to avoid disputes with creditors and family members. Probate is never fun, but we try to make it as easy as possible for families. Grieving is the hard part. We believe the probate should not be.

Trust Administration

A properly drafted and funded trust will generally avoid probate in the State of Arizona. Often, action needs to be taken by the successor trustee to administer the trust once the creator of a trust- sometimes called a settlor, grantor, or trustor, becomes incapacitated or passes away.

The successor trustee named in the trust has certain duties and obligations to fulfill upon acceptance of the position as successor trustee. The successor trustee may want to obtain experienced counsel to ensure the obligations of trust administration are handled diligently. Competent trust administration protects the trust assets, the trust beneficiaries, and the successor trustee.

The attorneys at Theut, Scaringelli & Kupiszewski P.L.C. devote a significant portion of their practice to Arizona estates and trusts, which enables our firm to assist and support successor trustees in administering all types of trusts.

At our Phoenix, Arizona law firm, we offer guidance and assistance to the successor trustee in administering the trust in compliance with Arizona law.

We assist clients in determining the course of the administration based on the situation and the complexity of the trust. Initial steps include a detailed review of the trust by our attorneys. Examples of next steps in a trust administration include identifying and inventorying trust assets, obtaining date of death appraisals of trust assets, including appraising any real property that is part of the trust.

The trust administration will likely require notification of trust beneficiaries and the notification of the trust settlor’s creditors.

Trust administration continues with the possible preparation of trust accountings, obtaining a separate tax identification number from the I.R.S., coordinating with tax professionals to file personal and/or estate income returns, working with banks and financial institutions, and distributing the trust assets to the beneficiaries.

These are just a few examples of the tasks that may need to be completed during trust administration and do not represent an inclusive list. Some trust administrations are more complicated and can even involve wrongful death or abuse claims against third parties who caused harm to the trustor or trust assets.

Our attorneys have experience filing claims in the name of the trust, including claims against those who may have caused injury to the trustor or waste or conversion of trust property.

These are just a few examples of issues and duties that may occur during the course of a trust administration. The failure to handle these issues appropriately may result in the depletion of trust assets or even costly litigation, which can deter the intention of the trustor. The attorneys at Theut, Scaringelli & Kupiszewski P.L.C. are prepared to assist you with all areas of trust administration.

Professional Fiduciary Representation Services

A professional fiduciary can be nominated, hired, or appointed by the Court in Arizona to assist protected persons, serving as guardian, conservator, or both, for a vulnerable adult or minor. In Arizona, once a professional fiduciary represents a client, a professional fiduciary will need an experienced attorney to represent them in the Probate Division of the Superior Court. Counsel for professional fiduciaries must be experienced in all stages of estates, probate litigation, guardianship and conservatorship law, and mental health law. Lawrence Scaringelli has significant experience representing professional fiduciaries for over 15 years.