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John R. Fitzpatrick  

John R. Fitzpatrick

Trust and Probate Litigation

Contested Guardianships and Conservatorships

Probate and Trust Administration

Commercial Litigation

Real Estate Litigation

John Fitzpatrick bio

As a faithful champion of his clients' interests in contested estates, John Fitzpatrick is widely known for his candid and thoughtful counsel.

John Fitzpatrick is a senior partner with nearly three decades of legal experience. John's practice focuses on assisting people and financial institutions in inheritance disputes, commercial/business litigation and civil appellate advocacy. As an attorney, he enjoys a long-standing AV® Preeminent™ rating the highest possible rating from his peers for legal ability and ethical standards. John was named a Top Rated Lawyer in Trusts & Estates in 2013-2015 by Martindale-Hubbell and American Lawyer Media. In 2011, he was selected by Arizona’s Finest Lawyers.

A Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers honoree, John has a strong track record for achieving results for his clients. He has developed a solid reputation in probate and trust litigation, as well as in commercial litigation, for the high quality of his legal services, his well-considered counsel, his candor, honesty, and respectful demeanor, and his dedication to his clients. He offers a frank analysis of a client's rights, obligations and prospects, as well as a clear understanding of the litigation process and an idea of the potential expense. He regularly encourages an economic analysis of all litigation decisions, including the most significant of those-the engagement of counsel. After all, not all probate disputes justify the often considerable expense of hiring a lawyer.

In his estate, probate and trust litigation practice, John assists clients in resolving a vast array of controversies. Whether the issues relate to probate matters, trust- or fiduciary-related controversies, or contested guardianships and conservatorships, John is able to leverage his decades of trial experience, his broad base of legal knowledge, and the firm's numerous strengths to provide his clients an exceptionally high level of service and sharply honed trial skills.

John is experienced in all manner of estate-related controversies, including:

  • will contests and trust contests (including incapacity, undue influence, exploitation, duress, failure to read and understand challenges)

  • will and trust interpretation disputes

  • beneficiary rights

  • fiduciary rights

  • fiduciary duty and liability issues

  • fiduciary accounting

  • distribution issues

  • trust and trustee disputes

  • power of attorney and power of appointment controversies

  • financial exploitation, vulnerable adult issues and financial elder abuse claims

  • trust and probate administration

  • trustee, personal representative and fiduciary appointment, removal and priority disputes

  • controversies among or between beneficiaries, trustees, co-trustees, executors, personal representatives, guardians and conservators or other fiduciaries

  • intestate/intestacy and heirship matters

  • family allowance and exemption rights

  • omitted spouse disputes

  • forfeiture claims and defenses

  • joint account and beneficiary deed controversies

  • fee and surcharge disputes

  • disputes on behalf of or against children from prior marriages.

Estate, probate and trust law often overlaps with other areas of the law. John has handled cases involving community property issues, commercial litigation and transactions, real estate, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, business succession and corporate control disputes, partnership and LLC matters, debtor-creditor controversies, family-owned or closely held business issues, validity and authenticity of written instrument disputes, breach of contract matters, foreclosure proceedings, constructive trust claims, real property title, succession, encumbrance, and lease issues, capacity to contract issues, agency issues, co-owner disputes (joint tenancy, co-tenancy and partition), negligence, misrepresentation, fraud and theft claims, annuity and custodial account disputes. He is also experienced in addressing life insurance disputes, death benefit, death beneficiary and pay-on-death (POD) issues and controversies, and other non-probate transfer, or “will substitute” matters.

Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Rating
Rated by Super Lawyers 

Honors and Awards

Super Lawyers, 2015-2018

The Best Lawyers in America (Trust and Estate Litigation), 2018

AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

Arizona's Finest Lawyers, 2011

"Top Lawyers," North Valley Magazine, 2016

Top Rated Lawyer in Trusts & Estates, 2013-2015, Martindale-Hubbell and American Lawyer Media

Professional Memberships

State Bar of Arizona: Secretary (2016-2017) and Executive Council Member (2014-present), Probate and Trust Section

National Association of Elder Law Attorneys

Maricopa County Bar Association

Phi Alpha Delta

Horace Rumpole American Inn of Court

Professional Activities

Judge Pro Tem, Maricopa County Superior Court, 2004-2005

Recent Presentations

“Conflict Considerations in Estate Planning and Trust & Estate Administration and Litigation” (Chair/Faculty), State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, June 2016

The Extent of the Trustee’s Attorney-Client Privilege,” State Bar of Arizona, October 2014

“The Extent of the Trustee’s Attorney-Client Privilege,” Valley Estate Planners, September 2014

Court Admissions

Arizona, 1987

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1987

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1987


J.D., University of Notre Dame, 1987

B.S., cum laude, Arizona State University, 1984


Phoenix, Arizona

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