When you choose Stewart Law Group to represent you in your divorce or other family law matter (including estate planning, probate, DUI, domestic violence, and criminal defense), you will be working with a team of Phoenix family lawyers near you that has more than 100 years of combined experience. We have represented more than a thousand clients in cases ranging from routine divorce, to military divorce, high net worth divorce, child custody disputes (including father’s rights), child support, post-decree modifications, domestic violence, and more. Our Phoenix family law firm only takes cases for which we believe we can provide meaningful help and when we think we can make a real difference in the life of our client. We keep our caseloads small so that we can focus our efforts on achieving the best possible results for every client.
Hiring our firm means giving yourself the advantage of working with an experienced team of family lawyers who have repeatedly proven their skill and ability inside and outside of the courtroom. Our dedication to winning our clients’ cases has earned us the abiding appreciation of our many past clients, as well as the respect of our peers in the legal profession. For example, Founding Attorney Scott David Stewart has an Avvo Rating of 10.0 Superb, based on factors such as his experience, his recognition in the industry, and his record of professional conduct. Attorney Stewart has also been honored with the considerable distinction of the AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, a peer-review rating that is among the most highly sought-after recognitions in the legal profession. Stewart Law Group is additionally an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau®. Trust in our experience and our proven track record of success.
We have created a relaxing and welcoming environment at our offices. Our family law firm is a place where you can come in, sit down, and speak with a legal professional who knows the law and understands your situation. In fact, the person with whom you meet at your very first consultation is the same person who will be helping and supporting you throughout the process. We take time to sit with you, to explain the power of confidentiality, and give you all of the information you need to feel confident about your future. You don’t have to retell your story every time you come to our office and you don’t have to wonder if the family attorney standing by your side in the courtroom knows all of the facts about your case.
We know that you’re going through one of the worst times of your life and we know that we can help make it easier on you and on your family. If you’re wondering, “Where can I find a family attorney near me that can protect my rights?”, you’ve come to the right place. Our Arizona divorce & family lawyers take on the task of guiding you through this experience and fighting to protect your rights. We safeguard our clients’ rights in disputes over property division and child support or custody, including paternity establishment and fathers rights, during and after divorce or military divorce. We pursue financial compensation for clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in serious car accidents caused by the negligence of others. Whatever the nature of the situation, you can have confidence that your case is in good hands with us. Take the first step now by contacting us for an initial consultation to get started on a strategy for your case.
“Never in a million years would I have thought my wife of 38 years would have left me with zero notice for another man. But it happened. Right before Christmas. To say I was shocked and stunned would be an understatement. After a few days walking around dazed and confused, my daughter told me “Dad, I think you need to get a lawyer.” I was fortunate to find the Stewart Law Group and Christa Banfield. I was impressed with how carefully she listened to me to fully understand my situation. What I especially appreciated was how reassuring she was. After I hired her, she handled everything for me, ultimately helping me to get an excellent settlement. For me, divorce was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m glad Christa was there to help me get through it. I recommend Christa Banfield highly.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
May 20, 2020
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Looking for a family or divorce lawyer near you? We have office locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe and Gilbert so please visit us at the location that is closest to you.
An estate plan is one of many adult responsibilities. Preparing for succession of the family business. Choosing a trusted individual for the role of trustee, executor, attorney-in-fact, or fiduciary. Determining how trust funds will be distributed to a minor child should the worst happen. These decisions profoundly impact loved ones, family members, close friends, and favored charities.
Every client has objectives, including avoiding probate and estate taxes. Almost universally, people want their estates to remain intact to benefit the family and loved ones. The attorney gathers pertinent financial information and creates an individualized plan that benefits the client, the estate, and those chosen to receive the property. Many federal laws impact inheritances and gifts made during the grantor’s lifetime (for instance, estate and gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax).
There are deductions to planning : the marital deduction, gift and estate tax charitable deduction, annual exclusion gift, education transfer tax benefits, and so on. Furthermore, there are accepted methods of avoiding taxes while caring for others who need assistance, including spendthrift trusts, generation-skipping trusts, life insurance trusts, special needs trusts, and grantor trusts, to name a few.
The estate planning process protects property and acquisitions so those go to designated beneficiaries. Again, estate planning is about control. Although laws regulate the transfer of ownership in business interests or ventures, there are ways of structuring companies as LLCs and family limited partnerships, ensuring the next generation is well-positioned for the future. Estate planning considers property distribution, continuity of a closely held company, division of investments among beneficiaries, special needs trusts for disabled children, trust agreements between spouses, and so much more. And, yes, requires making end-of-life decisions.
When spouses and parents fail to plan, they leave loved ones vulnerable. Heirs must shoulder the burden of probating the intestate estate where Arizona law controls the outcome. The very people a decedent cared most about – a spouse, a child, dedicated employees of the family business – have no option but to endure an often lengthy period of uncertainty. There are estate taxes and liabilities to satisfy, typically necessitating asset liquidation. A surviving spouse could be dispossessed from the marital home, the children uprooted. Don’t leave your legacy to a probate judge. Take control.
Estate planning is about controlling property distribution. Too many Arizonans misunderstand why intestate succession law controls inheritance in the absence of an estate plan. Until someone has undergone this organizational process – that is, made a Last Will and Testament, living trust, power of attorney, business succession plan, and living will – it’s uncharted territory. Get familiar with estate plan instruments. Talk to an attorney. Carry out personal objectives by implementing the legal tools available under Arizona and federal law. Begin that process here, today.
There are plenty of myths worth dispelling, too, like “there’s plenty of time” or “estate plans are only for the wealthy.” Understand that estate planning is about being ready today for what could happen tomorrow. Crisis planning is no planning!
Existing plans need occasional review and revision as well. That’s to be expected. Keeping an estate plan relevant may involve codicils, amendments, revocations, or newly drafted documents. Do not be intimidated by change, prepare for it.
A thoughtful estate plan uses language that allows for many contingencies with built-in flexibility. But only to a point. Be mindful that divorce, death of a spouse, remarriage, birth of a first child or grandchild, or other life-changing events should motivate careful review with possible updates. For example, removing a former spouse as trust beneficiary; appointing someone else as executor in the Will, or adding a guardianship clause to both Will and trust.
Depending upon the circumstances, schedule review every three to five years. Make notes on a separate sheet of paper and arrange to go over those points with a lawyer. Not only do personal circumstances change, but new legislation and the interpretation of existing law could also impact the implementation of the plan. Have an experienced estate planning attorney look things over to avoid unintended consequences. These are complex instruments, not do-it-yourself projects!
An estate planning attorney with Stewart Law Group will focus on the client’s circumstances and make specific recommendations. By bringing purpose and strategy to the estate planning process, the attorney prepares legal instruments that contemplate virtually every scenario, tax consideration, and family nuance. At SLG, we integrate the client’s goals with his or her complete financial picture and plan how best to preserve assets for beneficiaries. Contact us now to schedule a consultation with a Phoenix estate planning lawyer from our team. We have office locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and Peoria.
Probate is a court process overseeing the administration of a decedent’s estate, and can occur when a person has a will, or when someone dies without a will.
A decedent who leaves no will has an intestate estate. In this event, a probate could be necessary to nominate an executor, the person responsible for administering the estate, and for determining who the rightful beneficiaries are.
When someone dies without a will, beneficiaries are determined by law, and will generally be the next of kin. However, what many don’t realize is that certain intestate property could be subject to distribution to the issue of a predeceased spouse. Moreover, as the executor can be any person legally able to serve, any competent adult could petition the court to serve as executor, including persons whom the decedent would never have chosen to serve. Drafting a will, then, is critical if you wish to direct who is to benefit from your estate and who is to administer your estate.
A probate can also occur with a properly drafted will. While the will nominates the executor of the estate, this individual derives their powers through appointment by the court. This occurs when the nominated executor petitions the court for letters testamentary. These letters are the court order naming the executor, and empowering this individual to accomplish one of the most important functions of the probate: marshaling a decedent’s assets and ensuring that assets are distributed to the decedent’s named beneficiaries.