Estate Planning, Post-Death Administration, Income Taxes, Real Estate & Business Law

Dale R. Thorson, P.C.


  • Do I need NEW documents since I have moved to Arizona?


    Generally, no. However, I have found Medical POA documents from other states to be lacking and not the best design for Arizona statues.

  • Do I need a Trust to avoid probate?


    No, you only need a proper, thorough plan.

  • What if I do not have a valid POA and I become incapacitated?


    Expect court proceedings- guardianship over the body and conservatorship over assets. Expect to pay $5,000 or more. To solve this, it's best to "change the oil and filter" and avoid th "engine overhaul" with new POA documents that are valid. Our office can prepare these for approxiamtely $75.

  • Can I name an "out of state" appointee?


    Yes, but it must be a competent adult (18 years or older).

  • Is the cost tax deductible?


    Only the portion of your costs related to tax planning or a business.

Manner of Distributions

  • What does "per stirpes" mean?


    It means that if a named beneficiary is not alive, the children of such named beneficiary are entitled to the benefits, or if any of such children are not alive, then to the grandchildren of the named beneficiary if the children aren't alive, or the great-grandchildren of the named beneficiary, etc.

  • What does "per capita" mean?


    It means to share and share alike according to the number of individuals.In a per capita distribution, an equal share of an estate is given to each heir, all of whom stand in equal degree of relationship from a decedent. For example, a woman- with two children, each having two children- died intestate, that is, without a will. Her husband and one of her children predeceased her, her surviving child would receive 1/2 of her estate and each of her 4 grandchildren would share the deceased child's share (1/8 of the estate). So the children of the deceased child would not share their parent's share- as would be the case.


  • Where's my refund from the State?


    All the information on refunds, payments, and even income taxes can be found on the Arizona Department of Revenue homepage. The first link "Where's my refund?" should answer most, if not all, of your questions. If you'd like to request our services in income tax, please contact our office.

  • Where's my refund from the IRS?


    To be up to date and keep track of your tax refund from the IRS, follow the three simple steps on the refund homepage. If you have any further questions regarding the IRS, visit their homepage.

  • Which states are community property states?


    Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Estate Planning

  • What is estate planning?


    The main objective of estate planning is to organize finances in the event of death and to ensure that legal wishes are honored. A proper estate plan will prevent loved ones from legal hurdles and minimize the taxes and costs post-death. Generally, estate planning includes beneficiary designations, wills, living trusts, powers of attorney, and living will declarations. Additionally, a comprehensive estate plan also tends to the desired medical care in a time of incapacity or imminent death. To make an appointment with our office for estate planning, please send us an email from our contact page.

  • Why do I need an attorney?


    While some softwares and websites boast that their services abide to the law of all 50 states and are easy to follow, without an attorney, clients often miss crucial parts in their estate plan and don't follow the steps that best fit their financial and personal situation. An attorney with experience and attention can give the best plan for each individual that is custom to his or her own personal desires.

  • What are the objectives of estate planning?


    There are many reasons why an individual should consider constructing an estate plan, but the most important and common are:

    1. Fulfilling guardian responsibilities
    2. Unfortunately, there are many cases when a loved one passes without designating proper guardians for their children. In these cases, a judge will then appoint a guardian for them, regardless of the wishes of the deceased. Estate planning can ensure the protection of your children under the care of a trusted guardian.

    3. Organizing finances properly
    4. An estate plan is primarily designed to avoid the court-supervised probate process after death. Even with modern probate rules, a simple probate will trigger unnecessary legal fees, invite disgruntled heirs to contest the will, and possibly delay the distribution of an estate. Simply put, a well-developed and custom estate plan keeps post-administration organized, quick, and easy on loved ones.

    5. Protect heirs from further distress
    6. In a time of death, the stress of legal obstacles regarding estates is a burden that many want to avoid. In your estate plan, you can direct when, how and for what purpose your assets should be distributed. By focusing on detail and giving attention to heirs in an estate plan, one can help their loved ones rather than hurt them.

    7. Promote stewardship
    8. Estate planning includes a wide variety of techniques to reduce, defer and eliminate taxes. Of course there are techniques to avoid estate taxes upon death. There are techniques to reduce the impact of income, capital gains, and estate taxes for heirs. These are benefits you can give to them, which they cannot obtain by themselves.

    9. Protect assets
    10. The demand for legal strategies to protect personal assets has never been higher. This is especially evident in our high risk society today- and the proper plan protect property according to our client's wishes. Estate planning offers a wide range of asset protection tools which can be incorporated into the overall plan.

Living Wills

  • What is a living will?


    A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It can also be referred to as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician's directive. A living will should not be confused with a living trust, which is a mechanism for holding and distributing a person's assets to avoid probate. It is important to have a living will as it informs your health care providers and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event you are not able to speak for yourself. (source)

  • What is meant by life-sustaining treatment?


    It means nutrition and hydration administered by invasive procedures, antibiotics, respirators, pacemakers, renal dialysis, or any other mechanical devices designed to assist the functioning of organs; transfusion of blood and blood products; and in the event of cardiac or cardiopulmonary arrest, resuscitative procedures. In layman's terms, the degree of life-support can be specificed in the living will.

  • Should everyone have a living will?


    No. In Arizona, for example, if an individual were in a vegitative state, then a Health Care Agent may make decisions without limits. If there is no prescribed Health Care Agent, then Arizona law has a priority order of persons who may act as surrogate. So, in cases like these, a living will is not necessary. Furthermore, it is important to note that Arizona does not have a prescribed living will.

  • Do living wills actually work?


    Not necessarily. In many instances, they are ignored by health care providers. It is important to distinguish this difference in living wills and clearly providing instructions to a health care provider, doctor or physician, and family members. In many cases, there are forms available to the public, but an estate attorney can check that an individual is correct and ensure their wishes are fulfilled in a case of life sustaining treatment.

Health Care Power of Attorney

  • What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?


    A legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment. Healthcare power of attorney becomes active when a person is unable to make decisions or consciously communicate intentions regarding treatments. (source)

  • Who should have a HCPOA?


    Regardless of net worth, age, or health, every adult should have a Health Care Power of Attorney.

  • What is the risk of not having one?


    Simply put, the wishes and preferences of an individual without a HCPoA will be under the speculation of physicians and family members. Without this documentation, there will be no solid, legal action unless a family member petitions a local court- which is a long and expensive alternative.

  • Is there a required form?


    No, but there is a template of the Arizona State Legislature website (click here). This format shows the required elements of the document, but different forms may be found or provided by an attorney.

  • How could an attorney help me with these decisions?


    Though you can find similar documents online, an attorney provided a refined form that specifies the most important issues. Our services are specified to help our client with

    1. HIPAA privacy regulations
    2. what events should trigger activation of the document
    3. decisions during pregnancy
    4. reimbursement of Agent expenses
    5. preferences regarding hospice care and administration of pain medications.

  • How much does a HCPOA cost?


    Generally, attorneys will charge from $50-250 for a HCPOA document within the charge for a complete estate plan. Our offices prepare them for $75 ala carte.

  • How much should I update my HCPOA?


    It is recommended to look over a HCPOA every 7 to 10 years- though it is always important to look over your legal documents when you feel a change is needed.

Financial Power of Attorney

  • What is a Financial Power of Attorney?


    Similar to a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney is a legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her financial affairs. It is also commonly referred to as a "general power of attorney" or a "durable power of attorney." When the principal, the individual creating the document, is incapacitated, the Financial Power of Attorney designates decision-making to a surrogate. For example, the surrogate can manage bank accounts without interference.

  • Who should have a Financial Power of Attorney?


    All adults should have a financial power of attorney as well as a HCPOA.

  • What is the risk of not having one?


    The consequences of not having a Financial Power of Attorney- similar to not have a Medical Power of Attorney- is incredibly time-consuming and stressful for family members. To struggle with the court on their own is difficult to loved ones, but with this document, the process is smooth and with the least amount of discourse.

Frequently Asked Questions