T.J. Ryan
T.J. Ryan



    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. 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,
    • financial exploitation and other form of 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. 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. 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.

    His 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.

    Professional and Civic Leadership

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

    In December 2017, he was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court’s Task Force on the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure. The Task Force consisted of sitting and former judges, lawyers, fiduciaries, and court staff tasked with updating, restyling and improving the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure. The Task Force concluded its work in 2019, submitting a restyled and clarified set of rules, effective January 1, 2020, for all Arizona probate courts.

    Active in the community, T.J. is a volunteer youth baseball coach and a member of the Phoenix Children’s Foundation Professional Advisory Board. He previously served as the Programs and Facilities chair of the Maricopa County Justice Museum and Learning Center Foundation and is a former Wills for Heroes volunteer.

    In his free time, T.J. enjoys spending time with his family and friends; questioning his previous day’s diet choices while struggling with barbells in Crossfit; coaching and watching his sons play baseball; and doing his level best to maintain a single-digit handicap on the golf course.

    Ninth Circuit Oral Argument

    T.J. Ryan Ninth Circuit Oral Argument

    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 upheld Arizona’s revocation-on-divorce statute against a constitutional challenge

    Practice Areas

    Honors & Awards

    • Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
    • The Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates, Trust and Estate Litigation), 2015-present
    • “Lawyer of the Year” (Trust Litigation – Phoenix), 2015, The Best Lawyers in America®
    • AZ Business Magazine 2024 “Top 100 Lawyers” in Arizona (Estate Planning), AZ Big Media
    • Az Business Leaders 2023 (Estate Planning & Probate Law), AZ Big Media
    • Super Lawyers: 2019-present; Rising Stars, 2016, 2017
    • Martindale-Hubbell®: AV Preeminent® Rating
    T.J. Ryan
    Rated by Super Lawyers

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    Bar & Court Admissions

    • Arizona, 2002
    • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 2002
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2014
    • U.S. Supreme Court, 2017


    • 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

    Professional Memberships

    • American Bar Association: Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
    • State Bar of Arizona: Executive Council Member (2021-present), Probate and Trust Section; Member, Trial Practice Section
    • Arizona Supreme Court Task Force on the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure, 2017-2019
    • Maricopa County Bar Association
      • Past President
      • Past Treasurer
      • Past Secretary
      • Member, Board of Directors (2009-2016)
      • Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Section
      • Past President, Young Lawyers Division
      • Past Chair, Technology Committee
    • Central Arizona Estate Planning Council

    Reported Cases

    Articles & Presentations

    • “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
    • “Infringement.com: RIAA vs. Napster and the War Against Online Musical Piracy,” Arizona Law Review, 44. Ariz. L. Rev. 495 (2002)

    Recent Presentations

    • “Representing Clients with Declining or Diminished Capacity” (co-presenter), CLE by the Sea, State Bar of Arizona, July 11, 2023
    • “Tales from the Courtyard: Review and Learn from Arizona Precedent Involving Capacity and Undue Influence” (co-presenter), CLE by the Sea, State Bar of Arizona, July 11, 2023
    • “The SECURE Act and the Proposed Regulations: ‘Retiring the Stretch,’” Advanced Probate Seminar, State Bar of Arizona, May 5, 2023
    • Estate Planning Bootcamp,” Wealth and Law (podcast), August 2022
    • Trustees for Blended Families,” Wealth and Law (podcast), June 2022
    • Penalty Clauses,” Wealth and Law (podcast), December 2020

    Community Leadership

    • Phoenix Children’s Foundation: Member, Professional Advisory Board
    • Arizona Community Foundation: Chair, Tax & Legal Seminar, 2022 and 2023; Member, Tax & Legal Seminar Planning Committee
    • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law: Board of Visitors
    • Wills for Heroes Foundation
    • Maricopa County Justice Museum and Learning Center Foundation: Past Chair, Programs and Facilities


    • Arizona Attorneys’ Fees Manual, Seventh Edition (co-author), State Bar of Arizona, 2022
    • Arizona Estate Planning and Probate Handbook (co-author), 2013 through 2022-2023 editions, Thomson Reuters
    • Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual (co-author), 5th ed., 2014, 6th ed., 2022, State Bar of Arizona


    • Phoenix, Arizona

    In the News