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T.J. Ryan  

T.J. Ryan

Trust and Probate Litigation

Estate Planning

Probate and Trust Administration

Contested Guardianship and Conservatorship

Business Formation

T.J. Ryan bio

T.J. Ryan’s practice encompasses virtually all aspects of family estates, from estate and business planning, to probate and trust administration, to litigating contested estates – an area in which he has achieved a strong track record for positive results.

A Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), T.J. Ryan focuses his practice on personal and business planning, including estate planning, estate administration, business entity formation, and trust and probate litigation.

Estate and Probate Controversy Litigation

While many lawyers litigate a wide range of issues, T.J. Ryan focuses his energies on the areas of probate and trust law. His reputation among his peers led to his selection as "Lawyer of the Year" (Trust Litigation - Phoenix) for 2015 by The Best Lawyers in America®.

He assists his clients with a broad range of disputes involving probate, trust, guardian and fiduciary matters. Matters of controversy include:

  • will and trust validity interpretation issues,

  • disputes between beneficiaries and fiduciaries over estate and trust operations,

  • disputes regarding fiduciary fees,

  • exploitation of the elderly and incapacitated or vulnerable individuals, and

  • trust modification and termination.

Because of this focused approach, T.J. has achieved a strong track record for achieving positive results for his clients. Moreover, he has extensive in-house resources upon which to draw, including some of Arizona’s finest estate planning lawyers, tax specialists, probate and trust administration professionals, and certified private fiduciaries. He gives special attention to helping his clients gain a clear understanding of the process and the applicable legal framework.

Understanding that litigation can often be avoided between reasonable people, T.J. Ryan approaches each circumstance with a range of alternatives. He presents his clients with all of the options available to them, including alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration.

Estate Planning and Administration

T.J. Ryan represents individuals, couples and families in the creation of a range of estate planning documents, including:

  • wills,

  • trusts (revocable and irrevocable),

  • health care and financial powers of attorney, and

  • living wills.

T.J.’s goals include ensuring that his clients' wishes are carried out upon their death or incapacity and to avoid the public, time-consuming and costly probate process. He understands that there is no “one size fits all” solution, and he takes great care to ensure that the results his clients desire is translated into their documents.

Additionally, his colleagues include attorneys who can assist his clients with elder care and special needs planning. In the event of a death or incapacity, he assists his clients by helping them successfully carry out their loved one’s intentions through the administrative process.

Honors and Awards

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

“Lawyer of the Year” (Trust Litigation - Phoenix), 2015, The Best Lawyers in America®

The Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates, Trust and Estate Litigation), 2015-2017

Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2016, 2017

AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

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

Professional and Civic Leadership

T.J. Ryan is a past president (2015) of the Maricopa County Bar Association and a past president of the MCBA’s Young Lawyers Division.

Active in the community, he is a volunteer youth baseball coach. He previously served as the Programs and Facilities chair of the Maricopa County Justice Museum and Learning Center Foundation, which endeavors to restore the historical jail within the Old Courthouse in downtown Phoenix and convert it for use as a museum and educational facility, and is a former Wills for Heroes volunteer.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, riding his mountain bike, and maintaining his single-digit handicap on the golf course.


Lawyer of the Year (Best Lawyers), 2015




AV Preeminent Rating - Martindale-Hubbell



Ninth Circuit Oral Argument

T.J. Ryan arguing before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2017

View T.J. Ryan's winning oral argument before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Lazar v. Kroncke | Read about the case, which affirms Arizona's revocation-on-divorce statute

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association: Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

State Bar of Arizona:  Probate and Trust Section; Trial Practice Section

Maricopa County Bar Association: Past President; Past Treasurer; Past Secretary; Member, Board of Directors (2009-present); Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Section; Past President, Young Lawyers Division; Past Chair, Technology Committee

Central Arizona Estate Planning Council

Reported Cases

Lazar v. Kroncke, No. 15-15078 (9th Cir. 2017)

In re Ester Caplan Trust, 265 P.3d 364, 228 Ariz. 182 (Div. 1, 2011)

Court Admissions

Arizona, 2002

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 2002

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2014


Arizona Estate Planning and Probate Handbook

Arizona Estate Planning and Probate Handbook, 2016-2017 ed. (co-author), Thomson Reuters

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


"Powers of Appointment," Estate and Gift Tax, Arizona Summit Law School, March 2015

Published Articles

"New Opportunities for Old Trusts: Arizona’s New Decanting Law," Phoenix Business Journal, December 2009

"'Just a Lil Bit' of Piracy Is Good," Maricopa Lawyer, September 2005

"Hello Clients ... It’s Your Lawyer Calling," The Whisper, October 4, 2004

"Gone Phishing: Hackers are Baiting Your Inbox," Maricopa Lawyer, October 2004

" RIAA vs. Napster and the War Against Online Musical Piracy," Arizona Law Review, 44. Ariz. L. Rev. 495 (2002)


J.D., James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, 2002: Dean’s List; Executive Note Editor, Arizona Law Review

B.B.A., Baylor University, 1999


Phoenix, Arizona