Friday, April 14, 2017

Twenty Jennings, Strouss & Salmon Attorneys Recognized in 2017 Edition of Southwest Super Lawyers®


PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 14, 2017) – Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C., a leading Phoenix-based law firm, announced that twenty attorneys have been listed in Southwest Super Lawyers® magazine for 2017, including six 2017 Southwest Rising Stars.  
Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers for inclusion on the Super Lawyers list. The Jennings Strouss attorneys listed in 2017 Southwest Super Lawyers are:

In addition, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion on the Rising Stars list. The Jennings Strouss attorneys listed as 2017 Southwest Rising Stars are:

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.
About Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C., has been providing legal counsel for 75 years through its offices in Phoenix and Peoria, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. The firm's primary areas of practice include advertising and media law; agribusiness; automobile dealership law, bankruptcy, reorganization and creditors’ rights; construction; corporate and securities; employee benefits and pensions; energy; family law and domestic relations; health care; intellectual property; labor and employment; legal ethics; litigation; professional liability defense; real estate; surety and fidelity; tax; and trust and estates. For additional information please visit www.jsslaw.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The firm’s affiliate, B3 Strategies, assists clients with lobbying and public policy strategy at the local, state, and federal levels. For more information please visit www.b3strategies.com.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Questions Concerning An Irrevocable Trust? Where to Look for Answers and How to Make Changes


by Garrett J. Olexa, Member, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.

One of the many advantages of a revocable trust is that changes to the same can be easily made by amending or restating the trust instrument. When dealing with irrevocable trusts, however, the ability to effect change is often a source of many questions. Is there an ability to change beneficiaries? Who has the power to interpret language in the trust? Can the trustee be changed without court involvement? Can the terms of the trust be modified or can an irrevocable trust be terminated? While the answers to such questions depend on a variety of factors, a starting point for addressing them can typically be found in in the Arizona statutes and the trust document itself. 

Power of Appointment 
A power of appointment is created when one person grants another the authority to dispose of property by designating a recipient of that property.  It is not unusual for the creator of the trust to have assigned the surviving spouse or trustee a power of appointment.  If such power was granted, and the requested modifications of the trust involve disposing of property or changing a designated beneficiary, they may possibly be accomplished through that power of appointment.  Therefore, even if the trust is irrevocable, it may still be possible to carry out a change in who receives estate assets upon the death of the trust creator.

Non-judicial Settlement Agreements
When it comes to interpreting language in an irrevocable trust, appointing a trustee, or providing directives to a trustee, an alternative to filing a court proceeding may exist through a non-judicial settlement agreement. Trustees, heirs, spouses, and beneficiaries are among those permitted to enter into a binding non-judicial settlement agreement, so long as 1) the terms do not violate a material purpose of the trust, 2) the terms and conditions could otherwise be properly approved by the court, and 3) any modifications being sought are not already provided for in the trust instrument.[1]  Thus, even if a trust is irrevocable, a non-judicial settlement might be a means of bringing about desired changes.  

Judicial Modification or Termination
When modification or termination of an irrevocable trust is sought, a possible mechanism for bringing about a change is for the trustee or beneficiary to seek a court order granting such relief.[2]  Arizona law allows for modifications of otherwise irremovable trusts under a variety of situations.  For example, the court will reform a trust to conform to the creator’s intent if there is clear and convincing evidence that there was a mistake of fact or law in creating the trust or how it was expressed[3]. The court may also modify the terms of a trust in a manner that is not contrary to the settlor's probable intention if it is needed to achieve the settlor's tax objectives[4] or if the court determines that value of the trust is insufficient to justify the cost of administering it[5].
The Arizona legislature has also given the courts power to modify the dispositive terms of a trust or terminate the trust if, because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor, a modification or termination will further the purposes of the trust[6]. Additionally, a non-charitable irrevocable trust may be terminated on consent of all of the beneficiaries if the court concludes that continuance of the trust is not necessary to achieve any material purpose of the trust.[7] In fact, an Arizona court may approve a trust modification even if all beneficiaries do not consent, so long as the court is satisfied that if all of the beneficiaries had consented, the trust could have been modified or terminated, and that the interests of a beneficiary who does not consent will be adequately protected.[8]
The foregoing are a few points of where one might turn when facing questions about the ability to bring about change in connection with an irrevocable trust; however, each situation is unique. It is advisable to meet with an estate planning attorney to assist you with analyzing your trust instrument, and discuss the modifications being contemplated, the applicable law, and the most efficient course of action before moving forward.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Garrett Olexa is a Member with the law firm of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC and works in its estate planning practice group.  He can be contacted at golexa@jsslaw.com or 623.878.2222.



[1] A.R.S. §14-10411; A.R.S. §14-1201(28).
[2] A.R.S. §14-10410.
[3]  A.R.S. §14-10415.
[4] A.R.S. §14-10416.
[5]  A.R.S. §14-10414.
[6] A.R.S. §14-10412.
[7] A.R.S. §14-10411(A).
[8] A.R.S. §14-10411(C).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jennings, Strouss & Salmon Voted Best Int ellectual Property Law Firm in the Valley



Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, a leading Phoenix-based law firm, was voted the “Best Intellectual Property Law Firm” in Arizona Foothills Magazine’s “Best of Our Valley 2017” contest. Each year, Arizona Foothills asks readers to vote on their favorite Valley businesses, people, and places. The contest garners millions of votes from Valley residents.

“It is an honor to be voted Best Intellectual Property Law Firm,” states Michael Kelly, Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property department. “I am very pleased that the exceptional efforts of our firm and its attorneys have been recognized.”

Jennings, Strouss & Salmon offers clients the full spectrum of intellectual property services, including the acquisition, enforcement, and defense of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets, as well as related licensing, joint technology development arrangements, and litigation. The firm also assists clients with their core assets, such as technology, brand, and strategic relationships, and helps them navigate their unique competitive landscape. The firm has assisted a variety of clients in these areas, ranging from large international corporations to emerging businesses as well as universities, industry associations, and research institutions. This broad base of clients enables the firm’s attorneys to understand and develop individualized services for each client, creating effective and efficient legal solutions.
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon routinely conducts intellectual property audits to assess their clients’ intellectual property assets, provide counseling on strategically developing and managing intellectual property portfolios, and proactively advise on how to help protect themselves from potential third party threats. In addition, as a result of extensive experience handling international intellectual property matters, the firm has developed a world-wide network of the best trademark, patent, and corporate lawyers in foreign jurisdictions, who are available to assist with intellectual property and related corporate matters.
About Jennings, Strouss & Salmon
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C., has been providing legal counsel for 75 years through its offices in Phoenix and Peoria, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. The firm's primary areas of practice include advertising and media law; agribusiness; automobile dealership law, bankruptcy, reorganization and creditors’ rights; construction; corporate and securities; employee benefits and pensions; energy; family law and domestic relations; health care; intellectual property; labor and employment; legal ethics; litigation; professional liability defense; real estate; surety and fidelity; tax; and trust and estates. For additional information please visit www.jsslaw.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The firm’s affiliate, B3 Strategies, assists clients with lobbying and public policy strategy at the local, state, and federal levels. For more information please visit www.b3strategies.com.
~JSS~
Contact:  Dawn O. Anderson  |  danderson@jsslaw.com   |  602.495.2806