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  1. 5 Advantages of a Trust over a Will

    5 Advantages of a Trust over a Will We sometimes hear people say “I only want a Will” … BUT you should know the 5 advantages of a Revocable Trust.  Let’s say you have decided how you would l…Read More

  2. 2023 Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Amounts

    2023 Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Amounts  The annual gift tax exclusion is now $17,000 per recipient for 2023, up from $16,000 per recipient in 2022. The estate and gift tax exemption are now $12.9…Read More


    The holidays are often a good time to check on senior loved ones as you gather with family and friends. Sometimes those in-person visits can reveal concerns not easily detected over phone calls. Signs…Read More


    A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a specific type trust that provides for an individual beneficiary with a disability or special needs, while still allowing that beneficiary to receive important public …Read More

  5. October is Special Needs Law Month

      October is SPECIAL NEEDS LAW MONTH.  All month long we will be sharing law tips, information, and resources for persons with disabilities or special needs and their families. Special Needs pla…Read More

  6. We are Hiring! Attorneys and Legal Assistants

    Bivens and Associates, PLLC is a leader in AZ estate planning, probate and trust administration, elder law and special needs planning. We are looking for great associate attorneys and legal assistants…Read More


    A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a specific type trust that will provide for an individual disabled beneficiary, while still allowing that beneficiary to receive important public benefits through Medic…Read More

  8. Elder Law Case Scenario

    How Elder Law Attorneys Help Families — Case Study Family:  Edward Jr. (88) and Rebecca (86), married (Edward III’s parents) (Diana’s father)   Ralph (recently deceased)  Edward III (58) and …Read More

  9. What Are Special Needs Trusts?

    Did you know that special needs planning is typically part of the elder law practice? Elder law attorneys do not just work with older adults- we often work with younger individuals with special needs …Read More

  10. When to Hire an Elder Law Attorney

    Here are just a few common scenarios we often help clients with: Mom Diane (age 75) and mom’s adult children, Brian and David, worry about who will be able to help Diane with medical decision making…Read More

  11. Estate Planning Considerations for Seniors

    Most Americans have not done any estate planning, and of those that have, many plans are outdated. Everyone has different reasons for not making sure their affairs are in order. However, if you were t…Read More

  12. Why Do I Need Guardianship of My Elderly Mother?

    Why do I need Guardianship of my Elderly Mother When I am an Agent on her Health Care Power of Attorney? Mom (age 78) signed a Health Care Power of Attorney five years ago while she was competent in w…Read More

  13. 3 Ways to Avoid Probate in Arizona

    Probate is the court process through which a Personal Representative is appointed to administer the estate and ultimately transfer the decedent’s assets to his or her devisees under the Will or heir…Read More

  14. Diagnosed with Dementia – Now What?

    Receiving a dementia diagnosis means the future you envisioned for yourself is likely changed. While you may not be able to predict that future, you can and should plan for it. In the event you were l…Read More

  15. What Happens If Your Trust Is Not Funded

    What Happens if Aunt Annie’s Revocable Trust Is Not “Funded”? Aunt Annie had a revocable trust. She has died. Her favorite nephew, Nate, is the designated Successor Trustee and sole beneficiary …Read More

  16. When to Bring in Help To Care for a Spouse

    “In sickness and in health” is a common marriage vow that couples make to each other during the wedding ceremony.  But what really happens when the first half of this vow occurs and your spouse n…Read More

  17. When is the Financial Power of Attorney in Effect?

    When is the Financial Power of Attorney in Effect — Immediately or Springing? It has happened.  Your loved one is incapable of making financial decisions and it is your time to step in.  You take …Read More

  18. How Can I Avoid Probate?

    Probate is the court process after the death of an individual where a Personal Representative administers the estate to the devisees or heirs. Probate is required if the individual dies with more than…Read More

  19. What is VA Aid & Attendance Pension?

    The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension (“VA A&A'' or the “Aid and Attendance Pension”) is a cash benefit paid (in addition to low-income pension) to qualifying wartime veterans or their …Read More

  20. Signs of Senior Financial Exploitation

    1 in 10 Seniors are Financially Exploited. What are the warning signs?  You may have recently read an article about Beverly Schottenstein whose two grandsons managed her assets, forged documents in h…Read More

  21. Differences between HCPOA, MHCPOA, LW

     Unfortunately, our nation has seen several public examples of what can happen when there are no healthcare or end-of-life directives in place. To avoid situations like Terri Schiavo and others- putt…Read More

  22. What is an Income Only Trust (aka Miller Trust)?

    Case Study: My 84 year old father, Calvin, can no longer live independently due to physical limitations related to aging and needs to move to assisted living due to the recent death of my step-mother …Read More

  23. ALTCS Myths Debunked…

    There are many facets to ALTCS benefits and eligibility criteria. If you are contemplating applying for ALTCS benefits or are concerned about affording long term care, it is imperative you seek legal …Read More

  24. #FreeBritney – What is a Conservatorship?

    I am sure many of you have recently seen or heard that popular pop singer Britney Spears is under “conservatorship” and that she needs to be “freed.”  I thought I would take a minute to e…Read More

  25. The Larry King Estate Debacle

    Talk show host Larry King died January 23, 2021 at the age of 87. King reportedly died from COVID-19, though some, including estranged wife Shawn King, have said sepsis was the actual cause of death, …Read More

  26. Arizona Pet Trusts

    Three years ago, our family adopted a beautiful tabby cat, Nibbles.  Our kids instantly fell in love. Every day we hear stories about Nibbles helping with homework (sitting on the keyboard waiting to…Read More

  27. 2021 VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits

                   The Veterans Administration Aid & Attendance Pension benefit helps qualifying Veterans or their surviving spouse with the cost of long-term care expenses in assisted l…Read More

  28. Considerations for Family Business Succession

    Many entrepreneurs spend a lifetime putting blood, sweat, and tears into building their own business.  Too often, this dedication to the business falls short in one aspect: succession planning.  All…Read More

  29. 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

    Maybe you executed a Last Will and Testament when the kids were little back in 1985.  It must be floating in the back of the closet somewhere, right? Oh wait, you moved, and where did you put those W…Read More

  30. 3 Estate Planning Mistakes of Celebrities

    Celebrities have wealth and cadres of professional advisors that most of us do not. However, when it comes to making estate planning mistakes some celebrities are no different that the rest of us. Eve…Read More

  31. The SECURE Act – Impact on Your Estate Plan

    Effective January 1, 2020, the  “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act” or “SECURE ACT” will effect both participants and beneficiaries of retirement accounts. In particul…Read More

  32. Special Needs Children and Estate Planning

    Special needs children are just like other children who love to play, to learn, to have fun, and to experience the world. The main difference is in their level of care, which in some cases, can be for…Read More

  33. Should You DIY Estate Planning, Part 2?

    The goal of a will is to make sure it will pass probate with flying colors, your assets are properly divided up how you want them, has the problem of debts paid and under control, appoints someone to …Read More

  34. Should You DIY Estate Planning?

    We all want to save money in any way we can, whether we clip coupons (or use digital coupons) or we wait for Black Friday to order Christmas gifts. One way that many people save money is doing project…Read More

  35. How to Begin Estate Planning, Part 2

    The estate planning process can be long and complicated. After all, it did take you a lifetime to accumulate your assets, so you should expect it should take a while to decide what to do with them all…Read More

  36. How to Begin Estate Planning

    It’s easy to see why most people put off estate planning. After all, life holds so much wonder, excitement, and adventure that who wants to waste time thinking about their death? Death is scary to m…Read More

  37. Are eWills The Future of Estate Planning?

    Arizona is one of the first handful of states to enact electronic Will legislation. Although other legal documents, such as real estate, financial and medical documents, have long been able to be elec…Read More

  38. Is a Holographic Will Valid in Arizona?

    Is a holographic Will valid in Arizona? Yes. Is it a good idea? No. Arizona recognizes a handwritten Will, known as “holographic will”,  so long as it is signed by the testator and the material p…Read More

  39. Top Ten Estate Planning Myths & Mistakes

    Mistake Number One: Thinking You’re Too Young to Have a Plan in Place Most people approach estate planning with an enthusiasm ordinarily reserved for a trip to the dentist: you know it’s necessary…Read More

  40. 2019 Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension benefits

    2019 VETERANS AID AND ATTENDANCE PENSION BENEFITS AND ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA  1.  What are Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension Benefits?              The “Aid and Attendance Pe…Read More

  41. R-E-S-P-E-C-T the Estate Planning Process

    Aretha Franklin died of complications from pancreatic cancer on August 16, 2018.  She was not married at the time of her death, but left behind four (adult) sons.  Reports are now surfacing that Fra…Read More

  42. Powers of Attorney for the College Student

    As you get ready to send your student off to college you are probably shopping, packing, and planning. But if you do not have powers of attorney, more commonly associated with older individuals, your …Read More

  43. What Happens If There Are No Medical Directives?

    If you have a medical directive, you’ve made the decision to nominate certain individuals to make medical decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to make decisions on your own. If you do not …Read More

  44. How to Avoid Guardianships & Conservatorships!

    Unfortunately, some individuals will ultimately lose capacity for handling their own personal and financial affairs.  When this happens, if the incapacitated individual does not have someone who has …Read More

  45. What if my Spouse is Incapacitated?

    Most people understand that it’s best to have an estate plan in place.  A proper plan addresses what happens not just in the event of death, but in the event of incapacity as well.  We frequently …Read More

  46. How Can I Avoid Probate?

    Probate is the court process through which a Personal Representative is appointed to administer the estate and ultimately transfer the decedent’s assets to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. The qui…Read More

  47. When Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney?

    Elder law attorneys focus on issues specific to older adults, and have knowledge in many areas of the law including the following: Estate Planning (financial powers of attorney, medical directives, Wi…Read More

  48. Trust Accounting – Best Practices

    While the necessity and timing of a trust Account is dependent in part on the language of the trust, unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, a Trustee has a responsibility to provide an Accoun…Read More

  49. How do I assume the role of Successor Trustee?

    A Successor Trustee is the person who assumes management control of the trust after the initial Trustee dies or becomes unable to continue with his or her responsibilities. Once the Successor Trustee …Read More

  50. What is VA Aid & Attendance Pension?

    The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension (“VA A&A” or the “Aid and Attendance Pension”) is a little known cash benefit paid in addition to low income pension to certain wartime veterans …Read More

  51. Understanding Signs of Financial Exploitation

    Financial exploitation of the elderly can be perpetrated by people they know, or don’t know, and can happen in many different ways, large and small. Financial exploitation means the misuse or withho…Read More

  52. Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for ALTCS?

    In short, yes.  Planning to apply for ALTCS, or undertaking the actual application, without the advice or assistance of an elder law attorney with significant experience in handling ALTCS application…Read More

  53. 2018 Tax Reform Update and Your Estate Plan

    The well-publicized road to tax reform was subject to major speculation, studied prediction, and the expected points of debate.  Our tax code has not seen significant change since 1986.  The changes…Read More

  54. Are Your Children Older Than You?

    When does the adult child become the “parent”?  This concept of a role reversal of the adult child/parent relationship most often plays out during the parents’ older age when responsibility is …Read More

  55. How Do I Protect My Children’s Inheritance?

    Q:  I want to leave my estate to my son and daughter, but I’m afraid my son is not financially responsible and will squander the money and even though my daughter is financially responsible, I’m …Read More

  56. Estate Planning Considerations When You Adopt

    Whether you have adopted internationally, domestically, from the foster care system or as a step-parent, now that you have a new addition to your family, you will want to make sure your estate plan ta…Read More


    What is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and What Can I Change? The Medicare open enrollment period is the time when people with Medicare can switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to b…Read More

  58. Don’t Fall Victim to the “Deed Scam”

    Our office habitually records deed for real property in Maricopa County, Arizona.  Like most law firms, once recorded, we return the original deed to the client for their records.  The act of record…Read More

  59. Is Your Life Insurance Policy Valid After Age 100?

    Whole life insurance policies were the first “permanent” life insurance product designed (even guaranteed) to provide a full death benefit at maturity as long as it was fully funded. However, is i…Read More

  60. Update on Electronic Will Legislation

    Earlier this year, Arizona lawmakers proposed new legislation making it legal to execute “Electronic Wills”.  SB1298 proposed a revision to Arizona Revised Statutes in an effort to broaden what A…Read More

  61. First Coloring Book for People with Alzheimer’s

    Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore.  The last few years show an increase in sales of adult coloring books in addition to the already popular children’s coloring books.  In recognition o…Read More

  62. Autistic Character Moves into Sesame Street

    Sesame Street has introduced a new character to its long running television series named Julia.  Julia already made her debut in print and digital storybooks, however, Sesame Street brought her chara…Read More

  63. Proposed Legislation: Electronic Wills

    We have all seen movies, television shows, and cartoons that depict anxiety ridden prospective beneficiaries gathered in a lawyer’s office for “The Reading of the Will,” to be read by the now-de…Read More

  64. 2017 Changes to Estate Tax – Does it Affect You?

    The estate tax for 2017 has increased from 2016’s rate of $5.45 million to $5.49 million per individual.  This means that an individual can leave $5.49 million to heirs and their estate will pay no…Read More

  65. Special Needs Trust Fairness Act is Law!

    On December 13, 2016, the President signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, which included the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act which allows disabled persons to establish their own Special Needs …Read More

  66. Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Legacy

    Zsa Zsa Gabor, one of the first celebrities who was simply famous for being famous, died on Sunday December 18 after suffering multiple medical complications over the years, including broken bones, am…Read More

  67. 7 Arizona Athletes on US Paralympic Team

    The 15th Paralympics will began Sept.  7 and will end Sept. 18, 2016. More than 4,300 athletes from at least 165 countries are scheduled to compete in 20 sports. The U.S. recently announced it will b…Read More

  68. Gun Owners and the Effects of Aging

    If you have elderly parents you likely have thought about their safety as drivers or their ability to take care of themselves if they live alone. While those are valid concerns, a number of people in …Read More

  69. Arizona Long Term Care Partnership Program

    We have discussed previously the Arizona Long Term Care Partnership Program (LTCPP) when it first became available in 2008. This was intended to incentivize people to in invest in long term care insur…Read More

  70. Silver Alerts No Longer Just for the Elderly

    Effective August 6, 2016, the Arizona Legislature recently expanded the Silver Alert notification system to encompass not only missing adults over age 65, but also any person who has been diagnosed wi…Read More

  71. New Arizona Legislation For Guardianships

    Custody Issues for Young Disabled Adult Child Divorce is never easy, especially when it involves children.  When the divorced couple has a disabled or incapacitated child, it can become even more com…Read More

  72. How Not to End Up in a Potter’s Field

    The term “potter’s field” has biblical origin, referring to a clay-heavy piece of land worthless for farming and used to bury strangers.  Today, the term potter’s field generally refers to th…Read More

  73. Why Is the Bank Not Honoring My Power of Attorney?

    So you have in your hand a perfectly valid financial power of attorney that your parent, spouse or other relative signed to allow you to handle their financial matters. The time comes when they need y…Read More

  74. Steps Seniors Can Take to Avoid Financial Abuse

    Q:  How Can the Elderly Avoid Financial Abuse? Increased dependency due to illness or cognitive impairments can make seniors susceptible to financial abuse. Nest eggs accumulated over decades are all…Read More

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