Thank you for visiting our official BLOG for the Arizona Fiduciaries Association. We look forward to your participation and feedback.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A New Way to Diagnose Alzheimer's?

A Food and Drug advisory panel has recommended the approval of a brain scan that might give doctors a new way to diagnose Alzheimer's earlier.
See video report on PBS's Need To Know: A New Way to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Offers Hope

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Geriatric Assessment, Management & Solutions, LLC has a full-time position available starting 2/11:

Full-time 40 hour position for a geriatric care manager -- LF, MSW, BSW, CMC, RN, LPN, CMC -- health care, mental health and dementia care experience is preferred. Own caseload in West Valley, Scottsdale, and Phoenix area. Need reliable transportation and current auto insurance. On-call responsibilities 1 week per month during the weeknights and weekend. No health or dental benefits available.

Pamela Braun, MSW, LCSW, C-ASWCM, LF
Geriatric Assessment, Management & Solutions, LLC
P.O. Box 1958
Sun City, AZ 85372-1958

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Call for Bids for Contract Investigators: Maricopa County Superior Court Probate Dept.

The Maricopa County Superior Court Probate Department is accepting bids for contract Investigators for the Maricopa County Superior Court Probate Department.
The link to the solicitation is:

The solicitation will close February 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm.

Monday, January 31, 2011

How Probate Attorneys & Fiduciaries Can Benefit From the Expertise of Investigators

By Andi Murphy
Murphy Investigations, Inc.

One typically thinks of an investigator as the scruffy person slouched down in a beat up car peeking over the doorframe with an old camera and long telephoto lens trying to capture a shot of a husband or wife in compromising circumstances to support a divorce claim or substantiate concerns of a suspicious spouse. Or, an insurance company, through the services of an investigator in a workman’s compensation claim, illustrating on video a claimant miraculously skiing down a mountain who had professed a near inability to walk.

Although these are valid purposes for using an investigator, there is another area of law that is rarely considered as a reason to use an investigator: probate litigation. This can be a big and costly mistake.

The probate attorney and fiduciary are often faced with situations involving issues such as:
1. Will disputes
2. Vulnerable adult/exploitation issues
3. Document forgery
4. Estate distribution
5. Asset identification
6. Heir Location

A seasoned investigator in the area of probate litigation is instrumental in gathering the necessary information and documentation to refute a claim often resulting in a settlement, thereby avoiding the cost of an expensive trial.

How can you use an investigator in such cases? Depending on the issue, your investigator often needs to get out into the community and interview everyone to determine exactly what is going to be said and what is known about the issue(s). If witnesses are found to support your position, then it is prudent to obtain notarized affidavits (for expediency, your investigator should also be a notary). You should bombard opposing counsel with as many affidavits supporting your position so there is no room to doubt that, for instance, Mary Jane was as competent as the day was long.

Let’s take Will disputes. Let’s imagine son Michael is claiming mom, Mary Jane now deceased, was incompetent when she changed her Will and excluded Michael from it. Well, how do we know she wasn’t? Because everyone says so! Who says so? The banker Mary Jane saw every other day and can attest to her competency based on his/her interaction with her, her hair stylist and nail technician she saw weekly whom she paid by check and tipped in cash appropriately each time, her housekeeper that spent two hours with her once a week and who received payment by check each time, her caregiver who was with her seven hours each day and had long conversations with her on varying topics and told her how she felt about her son and her intentions for her estate, her friends that she played bridge with once a month, her neighbors who took her shopping and to the grocery store on a regular basis, her medical doctors, the psychologist she met with before she signed a trust to make sure she was competent a year ago, etc., etc. And, we obtained affidavits from every one of those 25 witnesses (friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, etc.). Michael will be hard pressed to find anyone to support his position that mom was incompetent when we’ve covered all the bases. Now you have ample and persuasive evidence to settle the case and move on.

This is just one example of how an investigator should be used to attack allegations regarding the competency of an individual and the question of the validity of a Will.

Worried about the expense of hiring an investigator? Investigators’ fees are typically billed at a lower rate than the attorneys’, their paralegal’s, or fiduciaries’ fees, often making an investigator more cost efficient. In addition, all good investigators have sources and contacts that allow them to obtain information in a more cost effective and efficient manner.

Should you need the services of an investigator in another county, state or country, continuing networking efforts keep many investigators in touch with a worldwide group of other investigators so that your needs can be covered.

It’s all about teamwork!