Hon. Jay M. Polk, Maricopa County Superior Court
Comm. Richard L. Nothwehr (ret.), Office of the Maricopa County Attorney
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Jay M. Polk is the Presiding Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Department of the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County, which since 2012 has experienced the greatest caseload growth of all the departments of that court. He served as the Associate Presiding Judge of that department from April 10, 2017, through June 26, 2020. From November 21, 2011, to April 7, 2017, Judge Polk was assigned to the Family Law Department and served as the Associate Presiding Judge of the Family Law Department for the Northeast Regional Court Center for approximately two of those years. He is the recipient of the Maricopa County Bar Association’s 2022 Judicial Officer of the Year Award. For nearly 20 years prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Polk limited his practice of law to contested and uncontested matters relating to guardianships, conservatorships, decedents’ estates, the abuse or exploitation of vulnerable adults, and estate planning for modest estates. In addition, he served as a mediator and arbitrator, as a guardian ad litem for minor children and incapacitated adults, and as judge pro tempore. Between 1999 and 2011, Judge Polk was an Arizona Licensed Fiduciary and, as such, served as a personal representative or special administrator for several estates, as well as the special conservator for an attorney. Before starting private practice, Judge Polk served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable E. G. Noyes, Jr., of the Arizona Court of Appeals (1993-94) and a law-trained bailiff for the Honorable Robert D. Myers of the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County (1992-93). Throughout his career, Judge Polk has helped draft numerous legislative bills in areas including probate, mental health, criminal, and family law. In addition, he has been involved in drafting court rules and rule amendments in the Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court, the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, the Arizona Family Law Rules, the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure and rules of procedure for court-ordered mental health evaluation and treatment cases and rules of procedure for sexually violent persons cases. He also has been a frequent speaker on probate, mental health, and family law matters. He is an editor of the 2022 and 2014 editions of the Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual, was an associate editor of the 2000 edition of that publication, and has been a regular contributor to the Judicial College of Arizona’s Probate Benchbook. Judge Polk currently is serving his second term on the Judicial Executive Committee of the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County. In addition, he is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County. During his tenure on the family law bench, Judge Polk served as a co-chair of the Family Law Department’s Initiatives Committee and a member of that department’s Behavioral Health Committee. Between 2014 and 2015, Judge Polk assisted in creating the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County’s intelligent probate forms, and he presently is in the process of updating all of that court’s Self- Service Center probate forms. Judge Polk also has served on several Arizona Supreme Court committees, including the Steering Committee on Arizona Case Processing Standards (2018 – 2019), the Probate Rules Committee (2006 – 2008), the Committee on Improving Judicial Oversight and Processing of Probate Court Matters (2010 – 2011), the Task Force on the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure (2017 – 2019), and the Electronic Signatures Workgroup (2022 – present). While serving on those committees, he often chaired subcommittees or workgroups. From July 2018 to June 2019, Judge Polk served as President of the Arizona Judges Association, and he was a member of the Executive Board from June 2014 until June 2020. Since November 2016, Judge Polk has been a member of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Advisory Committee, and, since 2011, he has been a member of the Fiduciary Board, which regulates Arizona professional fiduciaries. Judge Polk has served as the Judicial Liaison to the Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Maricopa County Bar Association since May 2017, and he has served as the Judicial Liaison to the Elder Law, Mental Health, and Special Needs Planning Section of the State of Bar of Arizona since September 2018. Since June 2019, he also has been the Judicial Liaison to the Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona. While he was private practice, Judge Polk was actively involved in the Arizona Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Probate and Trust Law and the Mental Health and Elder Law Sections of the State Bar of Arizona, and he served on countless committees of those organizations. Judge Polk received his juris doctorate degree from Arizona State University in 1992. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science, with honors, from the University of Chicago in 1989. Since 2016, Judge Polk has participated in the Latina Mentoring Project, which provides mentoring relationships for Latina undergraduate and law students. Since June 2021, Judge Polk and his wife have been members of the West Point Parents Club of Arizona, which is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting the well-being and continued success of the United States Service Academies. From 2004 to 2006, Judge Polk served as President of The Council For Jews With Special Needs (now known as Gesher Disability Resources). In addition, he was a member of that organization’s Board of Directors from 1998 through 2007. Since 2006, Judge Polk has been a manager of Council Properties, L.L.C., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gesher Disability Resources that owns two other limited liability companies that manage group homes for persons with disabilities. When he was in private practice, Judge Polk volunteered for the Maricopa County Volunteer Lawyers Program. For two decades, he and his wife co-chaired the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Phoenix and the University of Chicago Alumni Schools committee. Judge Polk has been the recipient of numerous professional awards, including the following:
• Judicial Officer of the Year Award, Maricopa County Bar Association 2022,
• Bridging the Gap Award, Maricopa County Bar Association Family Law Section 2017,
• Craig C. Gordon Outstanding Arizona Chapter Member Award, Arizona Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Attorneys 2011,
• Leadership Award, Arizona Fiduciaries Association 2009,
• Eleanor ter Horst Distinguished Service Award, State Bar of Arizona Probate and Trust Law Section 2008,
• Selected for inclusion in 2011 Southwest Super Lawyers and Arizona’s Finest Lawyers, and
• Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated while in private practice.
concentrates her practice in the areas of probate, trust and G/C administration and litigation. She is a certified specialist in estate and trust law and a licensed fiduciary. She is the 2007 Recipient of the Eleanor Ter Horst Distinguished Service Award given by the Probate & Trust Section of the State Bar for superior knowledge in probate and trust law; consultation to the bar, the courts and the public; participation in related committees and projects and enhancement of public awareness of trust and probate issues. She is rated AV-Pre-eminent (30+ years) and Top Rated Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell and has been listed by SuperLawyers, Arizona's Finest Lawyers and Best Lawyers of America (2023 Best Lawyer of the Year, Phoenix: Elder Law and Trusts & Estates).
Since 1988, she has served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Probate/Mental Health Division of the Maricopa County Superior Court; and is a settlement judge in the probate and civil divisions. She attended Northwestern University and Arizona State University College of Law (JD 1977). She is a former member (1988-92) and co-chair (1990-91) of the Executive Council of the State Bar's Probate & Trust Section, and the State Bar's Continuing Legal Education Committee (1991-95). She served on the Advisory Commission on Estate and Trust Specialization (1991-98 and 2012-16, chair in 2016), the board of the Maricopa County Bar's Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Section and the Arizona Supreme Court's Probate Rules Committee. She was a Senior Editor of the Probate Practice Manual, 5th ed. 2014, and the 6th ed. 2022. She served on the 2014-15 Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy/Training Group which developed new policies, procedures and mandatory probate ADR training for the Maricopa County Superior Court. She was a member of the Arizona Supreme Court's Task Force from 2017 through 2019, which re-wrote the Rules of Probate Procedure.
She was a faculty member for the State Bar's College of Trial Advocacy (2014-2018) and the Arizona Supreme Court's mandatory training program for court-appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, and a member of the Sole Practitioner's Probate Litigation Committee, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Arizona Fiduciary Assn and the Arizona Assn of Women Lawyers. She is a volunteer with the MCBA Probate Lawyer Assistance Program. She is qualified as an expert witness, special master, GAL, arbitrator and mediator; and is a frequent speaker on probate and trust administration, guardianships, conservatorships, litigation and professional ethics.
John H. Barron, III is a member of Barron & Associates, P.C., Of Counsel to DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, PC, and is the managing partner of the Phoenix office. He received
his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Arizona, and is admitted to the State Bar of Arizona (May, 1990) and the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, as well as the State Bar of Georgia. John has served as co-chair and secretary for the Mental Health, Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the State Bar of Arizona multiple times, served on the Mental Health Legislation sub-committee, and completed his tenure on the Arizona Supreme Court Probate Rules Task Force which drafted the new Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure, effective January 1, 2020. He is an associate editor of the 4th, 5th, and 6th editions (6th edition released 2022) of the Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual.
Early in his probate practice, as a private practitioner in Tucson, John was a special deputy Pima County attorney handling mental health litigation for Pima, Pinal, Yuma, and La Paz counties. He subsequently served as a deputy Maricopa County attorney representing the Maricopa County Medical Center Psychiatric Annex with respect to court-ordered behavioral health treatment and later, representing the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary in the administration and litigation of estate, guardianship, conservatorship and mental health matters.
Returning to private practice in 1997, John established himself as a litigator of matters relating to estates, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, exploitation and/or abuse of vulnerable or incapacitated adults, Adult Protective Services actions, eligibility for persons entitled to mental health, developmental disability, and ALTCS related assistance - practicing in the trial, appellate, and administrative courts. In addition to the specific practice of law, he has also been a presenter and keynote speaker at seminars related to probate and mental health law such as the annual “Advanced Issues in Probate and Estate Planning” seminar, as well as in-service training programs related to probate, guardianship, and mental health law for medical personnel. John was the instructor for the Arizona Supreme Court Fiduciary Training Program, Decision Marking module, and continues to participate in the drafting of guardianship, conservatorship, surrogacy, and mental health statutes through legislative committees and on behalf of stakeholders. Barron & Associates, PC of Counsel to
DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, PC | 602.252.8100 | www.azprobatelawyers.com
, JR., was a director (now retired) of the Phoenix law firm of Fennemore Craig, P.C., where his primary areas of concentration were probate and trust administration, taxation and estate planning. He received his B.A. degree from Antioch College and his J.D. degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law. He has frequently lectured before bar and civic groups, has served as commissioner and judge pro tem. for probate matters in the Maricopa County Superior Court, and as a volunteer mediator in the Maricopa County Superior Court probate mediation program. He has also served as contributor/editor on five editions of the State Bar of Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual and on the Probate Rules Committee of the Arizona Supreme Court. He is a retired member of the State Bar of Arizona, was a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America (1986-2018) under the category Trusts and Estates, in Southwest Super Lawyers (2009-2018)(Arizona and New Mexico), and in Arizona's Finest Lawyers (2011), and was presented the 2012- 2013 Eleanor ter Horst Distinguished Service Award by the Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona.
Robert B. Fleming is a partner in the Tucson law firm of Fleming & Curti, P.L.C., with a practice limited to trust (and special needs trust) administration, guardianship, conservatorship, estate planning, and probate. Mr. Fleming is a co-author (with Lisa Davis) of the The Elder Law Answer Book, and (with Prof. Kenney Hegland) of New Times, New Challenges: Law and Advice for Savvy Seniors and Their Families. Mr. Fleming has been selected as a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is a past Chair of both the Mental Health and Elder Law and the Probate and Trust Sections of the State Bar of Arizona, and a past President of the National Elder Law Foundation.
Mr. Fleming is certified as an Estate and trust specialist by the State Bar of Arizona, and as a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. At different times he was President of the Pima County Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Arizona (he no longer qualifies to be a member). Mr. Fleming is a founding member of the Special Needs Alliance (www.specialneedsalliance.com). Perhaps more importantly, he is a husband, father, grandfather, scuba diver, pilot and martial arts practitioner.
T. J. Ryan is a senior partner with the law firm of Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold, LLP, in Phoenix. T.J.'s practice encompasses virtually all aspects of estates and trusts, including estate and business planning, probate and trust administration, and litigating contested issues related to estates and trusts. An AV Preeminent rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, Best Lawyers in America selected T.J. as "Lawyer of the Year" in Trust Litigation for 2015. In 2017, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) named T.J. as a Fellow of the college. T.J. received his law degree from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in 2002, after graduating with a BBA from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Along with colleagues Darren Case and Brent Nelson, T.J. is the co-author of the Arizona Estate Planning and Probate Handbook, published by Thompson Reuters as a part of the Arizona Practice Series. T.J. has assisted with the editing of the Arizona Probate Practice Manual and the Arizona Attorneys’ Fees Manual (both publications of the Arizona State Bar) and served on the Task Force which revised the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure in 2017-2019. T.J. served as the President of the Maricopa County Bar Association in 2015. T.J. is a native of Phoenix, Arizona who enjoys golf, Crossfit™, baseball, and spending time with his wife and two sons.
Michael J. Tucker is a shareholder in the law firm of Michael J. Tucker, P.C. Since 1988, Michael has concentrated his practice in the area of trusts and estates, and he is a State Bar of Arizona Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law. Michael received a B.A., cum laude, from the University of Texas at Austin (1984) and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law (1988).
Michael is licensed to practice law in Arizona and California. He has been honored among the “Best of the Bar” for trusts and estates lawyers in Phoenix Business Journal, and he is included in Best Lawyers in America in the trusts and estates category. He is a frequent speaker on estate planning and charitable gift planning topics.
Michael is twice a past president of Valley Estate Planners and a past president of the Planned Giving Round Table of Arizona. He is a past chairman of the Maricopa County Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section and of the State Bar of Arizona Continuing Legal Education Committee.
Since 1991, Michael participated in pro bono projects of the Maricopa County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and particularly of the HIV/AIDS Law Project. For his volunteer work, Michael was honored by the Maricopa County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Program as its 1994 Attorney of the Year and its 2003 HIV/AIDS Project Attorney of the Year, and by the Arizona Bar Foundation as the recipient of its 1995 Pro Bono Service Award.