Thomas J. Bouman

Tucson, Arizona
Practical Information about Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, LLCs, Probate, and Trust Administration in Arizona
Provided by Bouman Law Firm, Tucson, Arizona

Practical Answers to Common Questions for Any Size Estate in Arizona
By: Thomas J. Bouman, Arizona Attorney

The Arizona Estate Administration Answer Book is your best resource for understanding practical issues that commonly arise when responding to the death of an Arizona resident or property owner.  Each chapter provides advice and explanations to help you wade through the complex, and often bizarre, legal requirements associated with estate and trust law in Arizona.  Written in easy-to-read question and answer format, the Arizona Estate Administration Answer Book covers a comprehensive list of legal and non-legal matters including:  

Written in easy-to-read question and answer format, the Arizona Estate Administration Answer Book covers a comprehensive list of legal and non-legal matters including:
Who has authority to make the final arrangements?
Where are the military cemeteries in Arizona?
What if a bank refuses to permit access to the safe deposit box?
What if the will was signed in another state?
Who is entitled to information about the deceased person’s assets?
When is a probate action required?
What debts are the survivors responsible for?
What options are there for transferring money to a minor child?
What if the property owner was not an Arizona resident?
Will the State take the home if the deceased person was on ALTCS?

PRINT:  $19.99 (ISBN 978-1--304-12531-6) EBOOK:  $7.99 (USE KINDLE APP)

Note:  Second edition was published June 19, 2013. 
Note:  2013 Paperback version available from Amazon:  PURCHASE NOW
Note:  2013 Paperback version available from Barnes & Noble:  PURCHASE NOW
Note:  2013 E-book version is available exclusively on KINDLE APP:  PURCHASE NOW
Note:  2010 E-book version is available for Nook. 

"What You Should Know" topical Q&As.  Brief and to the point.
By: Thomas J. Bouman, Arizona Attorney

ESTATE PLANNING  (Click on title below to view article)
What You Should Know About Revocable Living Trusts in Arizona
1.  What is a Revocable Living Trust?
2.  How does a Revocable Living Trust work?
3.  Who should have a Revocable Living Trust?
4.  How is a Revocable Living Trust superior to a Financial Power of Attorney?
5.  How much does a Revocable Living Trust cost?

ESTATE SETTLEMENT  (Click on title below to view article)
What You Should Know About Small Estate Affidavits in Arizona
1.  What are Small Estate Affidavits?
2.  How do you transfer real estate by Small Estate Affidavit?
3.  What if the property has an outstanding mortgage?
4.  What are the problems with using a Small Estate Affidavit for real estate?
5.  How do you transfer cash accounts and cars by Small Estate Affidavit?
6.  How much does a typical Small Estate Affidavit cost?

ASSET PROTECTION  (Click on title below to view article)
What You Should Know About Single Member LLCs in Arizona
1.  What is a Single Member Limited Liability Company?
2.  What are the benefits of a Single Member LLC?
3.  Will a LLC protect assets from seizure by a creditor?
4.  Who should be the single member?
5.  How much does a single member LLC cost?



I provide free initial consultations to all prospective estate planning clients.  The usual topics include wills, living trusts, and powers of attorney.  The purpose of the free consultation is to become acquainted with each other and decide whether we are a good fit.  You will have an opportunity to share your "story" -- tell me what is unique about you and your situation, plus share any concerns you feel that I should know about.  I will educate you about your estate planning options and review my fixed fee schedule with you.  There is no obligation to proceed.


Several years ago I created a 12 page checklist to review a prospective client's current living trust document.  The worksheet may alert you to weaknesses in your trust document and bring new planning opportunities to your attention.  The worksheet is available for download here:Trust Review Worksheet (pdf)


1.  Unparalleled Transparency
My law practice features unparalleled transparency during the probate or trust administration process.  At the start of the project I will give you a checklist showing every task to be completed, so that you can follow along during the process. You will always know exactly what is supposed to happen next.  There will be no secrets about what I do or surprises about what I don't.  

2.  No Hourly Billing
I agree to a fixed fee before any project -- even for probates -- , so that you will always know exactly what the total fee will be.  My fixed fee schedule is fair, competitive, and consistent. 

3.  Access to my Password-Protected Probate Briefcase
After you hire me, I will give you password access to my “Probate Briefcase,” which is an online collection of forms, memorandums, and website links that I personally manage to assist clients like you with administration of an estate.  Also included are lists of accountants, financial advisors, realtors, and other lawyers I know and trust. 

Sample password-protected memorandums include:
  • Notice Requirements
  • Preparing an Estate Inventory
  • Accountings
  • Receipts, Releases, and Waivers
  • 645 Tax Election   


Effective January 1, 2013, the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” signed by President Obama, provides a welcome dose of certainty to the estate tax laws.  The new law maintains the current law for the most part, while indexing the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax exemptions for inflation. 

For persons dying in 2014, the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax exemptions are $5.34 million.  The tax rate is 40%.  The new law continues to permit unlimited deductions for qualified transfers to a surviving spouse or charities.

A major feature introduced by the 2010 Tax Relief Act – “exemption portability” – was made permanent by the new law.  This feature allows married couples to share their estate tax exemptions, making it simpler to shelter up to $10.5 million from estate taxes.  For example, if Husband dies in 2014 with a $2 million estate, then Wife may have an $8.68 million exemption ($5.34M for Wife + $3.34M unused by Husband). 

At first glance, the portability feature provides an attractive alternative to the traditional use of a Credit Shelter trust (aka Bypass trust) during the lifetime of the surviving spouse.  In fact, it may be the best choice in some situations.  However, a closer look reveals many reasons to continue with traditional planning rather than rely on portability of the unused exemption. 

1.In order for Wife to claim the additional unused exemption upon Husband’s death, she will have to file a federal estate tax return (when it would otherwise be unnecessary).
2.A Credit Shelter trust provides asset protection for the surviving spouse (outright distribution does not).
3.A Credit Shelter trust protects the deceased spouse’s children in the event of remarriage by the surviving spouse.
4.Any appreciation of assets in a Credit Shelter trust is exempt from estate tax, but the “portable” exemption amount is not inflation-adjusted. 
5.Many states (not Arizona) have a separate estate tax, but do not provide the same portability offered by the federal tax system.
6.The portability feature is only applicable if both spouses die when the feature is in effect.  Of course, Congress could change the law at any time.

Whether you are married or single, if your current net worth – plus the value of life insurance death benefits – is more than $1 million, I suggest we review your will or living trust this year in light of the new tax law.  If you are married, it is important to review any formulas used in your will or living trust that would be used to allocate assets to a Credit Shelter trust upon the death of the first spouse.  The $5.34 million exemption amount and portability rules may give us opportunity to simplify the tax planning components of your estate plan. 

I also want to counsel you not to overemphasize estate tax planning.  This is only one component of a comprehensive estate plan, which includes a wide array of non-tax objectives.  However, the changing tax landscape should serve as a reminder that you should revisit your estate plan regularly. 

If you would like to discuss this further, or if you would like to schedule time to come and review your estate plan with me, please contact my office at (520) 546-3558. 

I present the information on this web site as a service to legal consumers, my clients and other Internet users. While this site does provide information on law-related topics, it does not provide legal advice. Moreover, due to the rapidly changing nature of the law and my reliance on information provided by outside sources, I make no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content at this site or at other sites to which we link. 

Web site visitors who wish to send initial information to an attorney by e-mail must understand that this information is not yet protected by attorney-client privilege.  Likewise, initial responses to your inquiries are for courtesy only.  Pursuant to attorney ethics rules, the initial exchange of information does not constitute an attorney-client, or even attorney-prospective client, relationship. This relationship can only be entered formally; i.e., with terms in writing.

Circular 230 Notice:  Pursuant to U.S. Treasury Department regulations, I am required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed therein.

Legal services and published materials are provided by Thomas J. Bouman, PLLC, an Arizona professional limited liability attorney (doing business as Bouman Law Firm).  Thomas J. Bouman is the managing attorney.  Bouman Law Firm provides legal services to residents of the State of Arizona, and nonresidents with property interests in Arizona.  The physical office of Bouman Law Firm is located at 7650 E. Broadway Blvd. #108, Tucson, AZ 85710.  Its eastside Tucson location is especially well-suited for persons residing in the following zip codes:  85710, 85715, 85749, 85750, 85748, 85730, 85747, 85711, 85718, 85712, 85641 and the following areas: Tucson, Vail, Rita Ranch, Benson. 

All original works on this website are:
Copyright 2000-2014 by Thomas J. Bouman.  All rights reserved.  Seriously, I'm not kidding.