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Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney

James W. Ryan, Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney  

James W. Ryan

Estate Planning and Tax Planning

Business Formation and M&A Transactions

Trust Administration

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Real Estate Law

Jim Ryan bio

For four decades, Phoenix estate planning attorney Jim Ryan has helped high net worth Arizona families create and enjoy financial legacies.

See more videos by Jim Ryan on a variety of estate planning and wealth preservation topics

One of the firm’s co-founders and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Jim Ryan is a widely acknowledged leader in Phoenix legal and business circles for complex estate and business planning for businesses and high-net-worth individuals. His practice include tax planning, estate administration and corporate transactions.

Professional Leadership

Jim has been certified as a specialist in Estate & Trust Law since the inception of certification of this specialty in Arizona. He is a past chairman of the Estate and Trust Advisory Commission for the State Bar of Arizona, which administers the annual certification test for applicants in the Estate and Trust Law specialty, and served on the Commission for seven years.

Jim also chaired the Arizona Trust Code subcommittee to the Probate and Trust Section of the State Bar of Arizona for four years and is a member and past chairman of the Probate and Trust Section Executive Council. The Arizona Trust Code project successfully concluded with its passage into law effective January 1, 2009.

He is the 2016 recipient of the State Bar of Arizona's Eleanor ter Horst Distinguished Service Award, made annually to an attorney who has “demonstrated superior knowledge of the law of probate and trusts and the willingness to share his knowledge with the bar, the bench and the public.”

Jim has lectured on numerous occasions for the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, Arizona Community Foundation, Phoenix Tax Workshop, Arizona State University Alumni Association, National Business Institute, State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention and numerous estate planning study groups.

Community Leadership

  • Bankers Trust Company of Phoenix: Community Board of Directors

  • Arizona Community Foundation: Board of Directors; Chairman, Gift Acceptance Committee; Member, Philanthropic Services Committee

  • Ellis Center for Educational Excellence: Board of Directors

  • 100 Club of Arizona: Board of Directors

  • First Christian Church of Phoenix: Past Chairman, Board of Trustees; Past Chairman, Board of Elders

  • Christian Care Companies: Board Member Emeritus

  • Phoenix Country Club: Former Member, Board of Directors; Past Chair, Membership Committee

  • Phoenix Country Club Foundation: Board Member

  • Moon Valley Country Club: Past President

  • Susan L. Drescher-Mulzet Foundation: Board of Directors

  • Davidson Family Foundation: Board of Directors


Jim has a passion for law, golf and music and is a 2010 inductee in the Iowa Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame.



AzBusiness Leaders


Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law, Arizona Board of Legal Specialization

Honors and Awards

Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)

Phoenix “Lawyer of the Year” (Trusts and Estates) 2013: The Best Lawyers in America®

The Best Lawyers in America® (Trusts and Estates), 2005-2018

Super Lawyers®, 2008-2018

AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

“Top 100 Lawyers,” AZ Business, 2016

“AZ Business Leaders” (Law: Estate Planning & Probate), AZ Big Media, 2015-2018

Eleanor ter Horst Distinguished Service Award, State Bar of Arizona, 2016

Professional Memberships

State Bar of Arizona: Past Chair, Estate and Trust Advisory Commission; Past Chair, Arizona Trust Code Subcommittee, Probate and Trust Section; Member and Past Chair, Probate and Trust Section Executive Council

Maricopa County Bar Association


"Tax Credits Benefit Arizona Kids, Working Poor," Client Advisory, December 2015

Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual, 5th ed., 2014 (co-author), State Bar of Arizona

Old Trust Provisions May Cause Unintended Results,” Client Advisory, January 2013

Court Admissions

Arizona, 1974

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1974


J.D., Arizona State University, 1974

B.B.A., University of Iowa, 1971


Grinnell, Iowa