Thank you for your interest.

To ensure quality service and continued resource availability to those individuals we currently serve, we are unable to consider new referrals at this time.

To find a Licensed Fiduciary near you, you may check with the Arizona Fiduciaries Association.

Page updated October 9, 2017.



As ridiculous as this sounds, a Scottsdale based drug manufacturer argued that consumers should not be entitled to legal protections against fraudulent claims and advertising because “drugs aren’t merchandise.”

The Arizona Court of Appeals apparently found the argument ridiculous too, because they have ruled that yes, Medicis Pharmaceuticals are selling “merchandise” and no, they can’t deceive consumers of their merchandise. Sounds reasonable to me.

After using a medication manufactured by Medicis, Amanda Watts became severely ill, developing both lupus and drug-induced hepatitis. The hepatitis was curable but, sadly, lupus is an (as yet) incurable autoimmune disorder. Her damages are, therefore, severe and will significantly, negatively impact on her quality of life and her health for as long as she lives.

Watts  filed  a  complaint  against  Medicis,  alleging  consumer fraud,  product  liability,  and  punitive  damages  claims.    She  alleged  that Medicis knowingly used false pretenses and  omitted  material facts  from  the information presented to her regarding  Solodyn’s risks in order to  induce her  to  buy  and  use  Solodyn…

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Often we see people, or their bankers, making an agent under financial power of attorney (also called “attorney-in-fact”) a joint owner of bank accounts. This practice is so common, and so problematic, that it deserves its own post aside from “Power of Attorney: Dos and Don’ts“, which we recommend reading first if you haven’t already.

So with your financial or general durable power of attorney (“POA”), you’re about to go to the bank and add your agent to your accounts. Perhaps you didn’t know about the advice in Power of Attorney: Dos and Don’ts to do this within six months. Maybe you think you’ll just do an end run around the bank’s policies by making your agent a joint owner of your accounts, because – in spite of there being no expiration in Arizona law on Durable Powers of Attorney – the bank won’t accept your POA because it was drafted more than six months ago.

Or maybe your agent is pressuring you to make things “easier” by just making him or her a joint owner on the account. (WARNING! This is a major red flag as to your agent’s true intentions!)

It might be tempting. You may think you’ll save money by doing this, avoiding another trip to the attorney’s office to update the signature page.

Maybe you just don’t understand the potentially catastrophic consequences.

We have encountered many situations in which a person tried to avoid paying an attorney to draft estate planning documents and thought they could accomplish the same thing by making a friend or family member joint owner on the accounts. It just doesn’t work out the way you might have envisioned.

Whatever the reason you might consider doing so, do not – under any circumstances – make your attorney-in-fact a co-owner of your account.

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Welcome to Dawning Horizons Advocacy. The path that brought you here might be an unfamiliar and overwhelming situation, but the good news is you’ve come to the right place. You don’t have to walk alone.

The pages here contain information about services designed to benefit you and your loved ones as well as information, links, and resources from professionals and experts across related fields.

To schedule a no obligation initial consultation to see how our services can benefit you, please visit the contact and referral info page.

Whether you need an Agent under Power of Attorney, a Trustee, or just someone to help coordinate appointments and bill payments, you will get the personal, compassionate services you deserve. Our Principal is licensed to serve your client or loved one as guardian and/or conservator in court-appointed cases, as well.

Not sure what you need or don’t know what to ask? Check out our menu of Services and FAQ to get started.


The sad saga of the end of life of beloved American icon Casey Kasem just grows more bizarre at every turn. Even in death, it seems this man will never to be allowed to rest in peace.

First there was the well publicized dispute between wife Jean Kasem and his biological children over his care. In May, there were reports that his daughter Kerri – who had been granted guardianship (called “conservator of the person” in California) claimed he had been kidnapped by his wife from a nursing home. There were allegations that the wife was trying to remove him from the jurisdiction of the Courts. A California probate judge ordered an immediate investigation into Mr. Top 40’s location and medical well being, citing “great concern”. The wife and alleged kidnapper was then ordered to appear in court to explain herself.

Days later, daughter Kerri had Casey taken by ambulance to a hospital, which culminated in a bizarre raw-meat-tossing, Bible-quoting outburst by wife Jean.

The venerated radio legend passed away not too long after this very public elder care dispute played out but, sadly, this would not be the end of the macabre twists in this very public family feud.

Reports in July revealed that Casey’s body was missing after Kerri requested an autopsy and the judge in the case ordered that no cremation was allowed amidst allegations of elder abuse. Although the judge’s order was that Casey Kasem’s body was not to be removed from the funeral home pending further orders, it was alleged that Jean Kasem stole the body.

Now the latest reports (8/14/14) are that wife Jean has made arrangements for Casey to be buried in Norway.

“There is no connection my dad has with Norway,” says Kerri Kasem’s brother, Mike Kasem, who bitterly criticizes his stepmother. “I don’t know if Jean has any ties to Oslo. She certainly has never mentioned it in the last 35 years. Check the exhumation laws there; sounds like a possibility that is the reason she will bury him there. My dad deserves to be buried where he specifically asked to be buried: Forest Lawn. Everyone keeps asking for motives as to why Jean acts how she acts. I don’t have an answer.”

Whatever the answers, we hope that Casey has moved onto a more peaceful place. Wherever that is, his surviving family is certainly light years away.


Disputes over the proper course of care for Alzheimer’s patients is not exclusive to “ordinary folk.” Country music legend Glen Campbell was recently placed by his wife into long term Alzheimer’s care. Defending the decision to place him in a setting where he can receive professional care, which has been criticized by others including Campbell’s eldest daughter, his wife stated:

It is crushingly sad to see him afflicted with Alzheimer’s but indulging those feelings does not help him,” adding, “I am his wife and no one wants him home more than me but I must do what is in his best interest.”

Campbell played a much lauded “farewell” tour after his diagnosis in 2011, which he ended earlier than planned because of the disease. The kind of disagreement over his care is one we see often. As with the recent and very public dispute over the care of Casey Kasem before his death, we have seen that even iconic celebrities are not immune to family disputes over the care of elderly loved ones.

No amount of money or fame will insulate a family from the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease and similar aging-related disorders. It’s important to always keep in mind that the care of the patient is paramount. While reasonable people can always disagree, it’s important that care decisions are made in an objective manner, always focusing on what is in the best interest of the patient. As Glen put it, it takes “a load of compromisin’ on the road to [the] horizon.”

If you are in the middle of an elder care dispute, contact us to discuss how we can help. First and foremost, we will remind you that it’s not about being right, it’s about doing the right thing for the one you love.


We’ve all heard the term “con man”. One might assume that “con” is short for “convict”, but it’s actually derived from the word “confidence”. The term “Confidence Man” was coined by a newspaper writer in the year 1849 and got truncated somewhere along the way. In fact, most people perpetrating scams and cons aren’t convicts. They are people who appear very trustworthy and use their victims’ trust and confidence to perpetrate their crimes. Victims are often embarrassed that they fell for the con, blame themselves, and don’t report the crimes because they are ashamed, thus allowing the con men and women to continue the exploitation with the next victim, and the next, and the next.

Confidence scams take many forms and, sadly, are often the reasons victims end up in protective proceedings like guardianship and conservatorship. While crooks are always looking for new and innovative ways to defraud people out of their hard-earned money and property, there are a few common themes. By being aware of the tricks these thieves employ, you can better protect yourself. Continue reading


Lest I be accused of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (which makes attorneys a bit testy), this article must necessarily be prefaced by the disclaimer that the author is not an attorney and should not be construed as legal advice. That said, it’s advice you can’t afford to ignore.

Although not an attorney, I have been appointed as legal guardian and conservator for numerous individuals over the years who had consulted an attorney, done estate planning, and still ended up in costly, intrusive court-ordered guardianships despite their efforts to prevent precisely that outcome. There are some common mistakes that landed these wards in probate court. We can all learn from their mistakes. So the attorneys reading this can all relax — my advice is that you need a power of attorney (POA) and you need a qualified estate planning attorney to draft it for you now — to save on exorbitant legal fees later. Don’t try to do it yourself.

First and foremost, and this might seem like I’m auditioning to play the next Captain Obvious, but it simply can’t be overstated: Do not nominate someone to act as your agent under a POA whom you can’t trust. While that might seem to fall into the “duh” category, you’d be amazed as how many people name a relative or friend they don’t really, truly trust because they think they have no other options. You do have other options. You can hire a professional. But what? That will cost money? Sure. A whole lot less money than it will cost to have your business made a matter of public record and the court being put in charge of your private affairs.

Now that you’ve appointed someone you trust, don’t wait to establish your agent under power of attorney on all of your accounts at your bank and brokerage firm. But you’re not incapacitated yet, you say. You don’t want to give someone power right now, because you’re still fully capable of managing your own affairs. Please go back and read the previous paragraph. We’ll wait … Continue reading


Once after an appointment with a client, I was waiting on a doctor to finish up with a subsequent patient, review some tests, and give orders and prescriptions. It was a bit of a wait, so I had stayed behind to handle the details while the client went home with a companion caregiver. Making polite conversation to help pass the time, the doctor’s nurse asked, “Is that your mom?”

The answer “no, that’s not my mom” led into a discussion about my role. The nurse went on to express her love for working with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and other individuals who no longer have cognitive capacity. The conversation went on a tangent about behavioral presentations in dementia, and she started to describe this resident she once cared for in a group home, before becoming a nurse, who exhibited “shadowing” behavior. She said, “She would follow me around everywhere … creep up behind me, scare the crap out of me. I’d never hear her coming. I’d look up, and she would be hiding behind a door, or creeping around a corner, peeking at me. Staring at me. Spying on me. Everywhere I went, she was there, just like my shadow. I worked the night shift, so I was the only one there.” The whole experience was understandably unsettling for the caregiver. Imagine, thinking you’re the only person awake in a house and being suddenly startled by a wordless, motionless figure standing so closely that what startles you to her presence is that you can suddenly feel her breath on your neck. Kind of sounds like the setup to a slasher flick, if you’re an aficionado of the genre. Continue reading


NOLO, Law for All has, among other great content across their site, a good article covering the basics of guardianship and conservatorship for people who are unfamiliar with the concept and process of appointing a guardian and/or conservator (“fiduciary”) for an adult. This article contains information on how to avoid these complicated legal arrangements by proper advanced planning. It outlines the pros and cons of the court-appointed process of protecting a vulnerable or incapacitated adult. You can read that article here.

Another article covering the basic concepts of adult guardianship and conservatorship can be found here. Please note that these articles are not specific to Arizona law, so there may be some differences in each jurisdiction, but this is good information if the whole concept is brand new to you.

If you’re going through the adult guardianship process, or someone has told you that you need to do so, it can be incredibly overwhelming. You don’t have to go through this alone. Consulting and family guardian assistance are just some of the services available to help you through this trying time in your loved one’s life. Contact us to request an appointment to discuss how we can put your mind at ease.


High profile estate planning disasters you can learn from

Forbes has an excellent article entitled “What We Can Learn from Celebrity Estate Planning Gone Wrong“. Although it is dated in 2012, the scenarios and advice are timeless.

You won’t believe the names of people who failed to appropriately plan, including some who should have known better such as former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger. In a one-page, personally typed “Last Will and Testament”, the nation’s one-time top jurist got it all wrong.

This article contains 5 common estate planning mistakes made by farmers. Yes, farmers have special considerations when doing estate planning. Everyone has special considerations. There is no cookie-cutter approach to estate planning. There is also no cookie-cutter approach to acting as surrogate or successor for someone who has named us in estate planning documents. We tailor our services to each client’s individual needs.

Moral of the story: There is no substitute for professional estate planning and administration. A good estate plan includes good decisions and clear direction on who will handle your affairs when you are unable to do so for yourself. Dawning Horizons offers a full spectrum of services to fill this critical need. Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss how we can be part of your successful estate plan.


1. A Living Will is a “DNR” (Do Not Resuscitate).
Living Wills are also called “advance directives” or “directives to physicians.” They outline what kind of medical treatment you would want in certain circumstances. Your Living Will may state that you do not want to be resuscitated if you have a terminal illness. It might say the opposite, however: It may say you want every treatment possible including experimental treatments.

Just because your Living Will says you do not want CPR if you have a terminal illness, this still only applies if you actually have a terminal illness. If I get hit by a car tomorrow and my heart stops, you can bet that I want CPR if I flatline. If, however, grow to a frail old age, I have exhausted all of my medical options and treatment will only prolong the inevitable, obviously I don’t want anyone cracking my ribs while I breathe my last.

2. If I want to be a “DNR”, I won’t receive medical treatment. Continue reading


When dementia doesn’t look like dementia it might be something else.

Persons who are widely fluctuating in their cognitive presentation, going from perfectly oriented with no significant memory impairment to having profound delirious or psychotic episodes, and having the usual suspects (e.g. UTI) ruled out, in my professional experience probably have something else.

It could be a brain tumor or the effects of an old stroke on the frontal lobe. Accurate diagnosis is critical for appropriate treatment.


There is a line in a Rush song that goes, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”. That is the gist of this article, written by Lora Johnson, an Estate Planning Attorney, who warns of the potential consequences of deciding not to decide.

Trustworthy Decision Makers, By Attorney Lora Johnson

Recently I was speaking with clients and was disturbed as they discussed their lack of trust in their son in making their financial decisions for them in the future. They told me that they “couldn’t trust him” but that they didn’t really have any other options.

I understand that the decision about who will be appointed to make decisions for you in your stead is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. I also understand that having to make this decision is sometimes the thing that stops people from doing their estate planning. However, if you don’t make the decision you really ARE making a decision. You are making the decision not to decide. The decision you are making is that you will let the courts decide for you. You are also making the decision that you and your estate are willing to pay the court or the government what I consider exorbitant fees and costs for the privilege of making these decisions for you. And sometimes, frankly, they don’t make the best decisions due to lack of time, information and resources … Read more at Johnson and Associates