More About Tom Murphy

THOMAS J. MURPHY has been an attorney since 1982 and has been practicing law in Phoenix, Arizona since 1989. His practice focuses on probate law (which deals with administering the estates of deceased or incapacitated persons), estate planning (which deals with wills, trusts, powers of attorney and related documents), elder law (which deals with protecting the interests of the elderly when dealing with nursing home and other health care issue as well as end-of-life issues), tax law and planning for the disabled and those with special needs.

He was the 1999-2000 President of the Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Section of the Maricopa County Bar Association. He was selected by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys to serve on its prestigious Steering Committee to plan NAELA’s 2002 Advanced Elder Law Institute and the 2009 Special Needs Program. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Phoenix Tax Workshop and the Editorial Boards of NAELA News and Maricopa Lawyer.

He has written nearly 100 articles that have been published in many national and state professional journals writing on a wide variety of legal and tax matters. His articles on the impact of the then-new HIPAA regulations on health care powers of attorney and related documents have garnered Tom wide recognition as one of the nation’s foremost authorities in this field. 

Likewise, Tom’s writings on the 2005 bankruptcy bill, on the effect of the Terri Schiavo case on the drafting of living wills and on the proper designation of beneficiaries for retirement plans have been published in the nation’s most prestigious journals for estate planning and elder law. 

His articles explaining new IRS regulations for required minimum distributions from retirement plans have been widely published and were the featured articles in the August 2, 2002 and April 6, 2001 editions of Tax Practice, the nation’s leading weekly tax journal.

His  articles on beneficiary deeds and financial powers of attorney were prominently featured in the June 2002 and December 1998 issues of Arizona Attorney. Both articles have been widely praised and are considered to be the definitive source of authority in Arizona on the topics. He has been cited as a leading authority on estate planning law in the March 2002 edition of SmartMoney magazine, published by the Wall Street Journal, the December 2004 edition of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report and the April 2004 edition of Bloomberg’s Wealth Advisor.

The American Bar Association adopted and expanded a prior edition of Tom’s book dealing with terminal illness that served as the basis for the ABA’s book, Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill – Seven Key Steps To Get Your Affairs In Order, that was published in 2009 by the ABA in conjunction with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The ABA’s Commission on Law and Aging noted Tom’s expertise with the elderly in an article discussing a litigated probate case involving Tom’s caregiver client that appeared in the February 2018 edition of Bifocal, the Commission’s monthly journal. Tom provided the legal guidance in the drafting of legislation that led to the enactment of ABLE Act by the Arizona legislature in 2016 that authorizes the creation of tax-favored savings accounts for the disabled.

Tom is a contributor to many leading treatises: Elder Law Essentials in Arizona, Arizona Probate Litigation, Remedies for Financial Exploitation of the Elderly, The Probate Process From Start To Finish, Sophisticated Probate Strategies, Fundamentals of Trust Administration, Estate Administration Procedures, Elder Care in Arizona: Resolving Legal and Financial Issues, Protecting Personal Assets and Minimizing Estate Taxes At Death, Successful Wealth Transfer Strategies and Estate Planning and Recovery for Elderly Clients. 

Tom is in the process of finishing a book proposal for “What Do I Do Now? A Guide To All Legal and Tax Issues Facing Widows, Widowers and Their Families” that will likely become the leading reference source in the nation for widowed spouses. Tom has also nearly completed a book on the legal issues facing families dealing with dementia. Tom will shortly be having a law review article published dealing with how a new marriage or re-marriage can have a large impact on legal and tax issues, including Social Security benefits, retirement accounts, inheritance rights, Medicaid eligibility, the marriage income tax penalty and creditors of the other spouse.

Tom is regularly invited to speak to professional groups throughout the country. He has spoken to thousands of attorneys, accountants and financial advisors and has been invited to speak before such groups as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the American Society on Aging, the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Tax Professionals, Mohave County Bar Association, Coconino County Bar Association, Institute for Paralegal Education, Chandler Regional Hospital, Virginia C. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Hospice of the Valley, and many more.

He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Tax Law, Probate; Trust Law and Mental Health; Elder Law Sections of the State Bar of Arizona and the Arizona Medicaid Planning Council. He has appeared on several local television and radio stations to discuss tax and legal issues affecting the elderly and their families. 

Tom has become a sought-after panelist for numerous nationally broadcasted seminars and webcasts for elder law attorneys. He was selected to speak at the 2018 Aging in America conference, the largest conference of its kind in the country with over 3,000 attendees. He has served on numerous state and county bar association committees and was selected to be the State Bar representative to the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Reform of Lower Jurisdiction Courts. He has testified as an expert witness in cases before the Maricopa County Probate Court regarding probate practices in Arizona. He has regularly appeared before the Arizona Court of Appeals litigating many of the cutting-edge appellate cases in probate law.

He is also one of the most experienced trial attorneys in the Southwest, having been the sole or lead counsel in over 100 jury trials. He has successfully litigated cases in the United States Tax Court, the Arizona Tax Court and the Arizona Board of Tax Appeals. He has represented clients before all levels of the Internal Revenue Service and Arizona Department of Revenue.

Tom was born and raised in Attleboro, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He is an honors graduate of Tufts University with a double major in economics and history. He received his law degree from Suffolk University Law School with a concentration in taxation. He is a former officer in the United States Air Force with assignments to the 314th Combat Support Group, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas and the 401 St. Tactical Fighter Wing, Torrejon Air Base, Spain. He is married to the former Ana Maria Orrantia, a native Arizonan who is a professor at Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. They have four children. Tom has coached many teams in the Ahwatukee YMCA, Mountain Pointe Pony League and Region 1046 of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). He also served for many years as Outdoor Activities Coordinator in his sons’ Cub Scout Pack 179. His hobbies include running, cooking, blues and R&B music, modern art (Impressionism through Cubism), reading about the Civil War and World War II and avidly following all Boston sports teams and NCAA college hockey. Tom is a regular contributor as the Arizona correspondent for College Hockey News, the most widely read college hockey website in North America.