Vanessa R. Heim, Estate Planning Attorney
Vanessa focuses a significant portion of her practice on estate planning (trusts, wills, powers of attorney, etc) and guiding her clients through the process of designing and executing an effective plan. Over the course of her practice, she has help hundreds of clients build estate plans, from simple wills to very complex trusts, meeting the wide range of needs and expectations of her clients. Each client presents an opportunity to develop a custom set of estate planning documents, specific to their individual needs and goals. Vanessa is always excited to meet with new clients, and returning clients, to determine how a new plan can be created, or existing plan adapted, to satisfy the client’s goals and wishes.
Additionally, Vanessa lends her experience and guidance to clients administering the Estates of deceased loved ones. The administration of an Estate through Probate can often seem frustrating, time consuming and difficult; but with the thoughtful assistance Vanessa provides, it can be explained, understood and simplified so clients feel far more comfortable throughout the entire process. Administration of an Estate may include a court process, but sometimes it is not necessary. Vanessa carefully identifies the assets and liabilities of an Estate to ensure the proper and most efficient path forward, while advising clients regarding the liquidation and distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Sometimes a need arises for an adult, either with special needs, disabilities, or advanced age, to have a legal guardian appointed to ensure all decisions regarding their health care and finances are made for their best interests. Vanessa frequently assists clients whose family member need the protections available through Legal Guardianship. Parents of young adult children with special needs, children with disabled or aging parents or other family members, or close friends to individuals struggling with disability or advanced age will gain the legal authority to seek medical care for the vulnerable adult, manage assets of the vulnerable adult, and make all decisions related to their care and best interests. If the person in need of a guardian also has significant assets, a Conservatorship may also be appropriate. This added level of protection permits the management of such assets for the continued care of the vulnerable adult, while preserving and protecting the assets to be used for the person’s best interests. While the process of appointment for a Guardian and/or Conservator may be complicated, Vanessa thoughtfully guides her clients through the procedures of appointment to ensure all duties and responsibilities are understood, then offers advice and direction post appointment so clients are set up for success for the future of the guardianship.
Vanessa consistently earns rave reviews from clients for her thorough, compassionate and patient handling of their needs. Vanessa serves as an Advisory Board Member for ARAG Legal Plans and is a member of the Arizona Women Lawyers Association. She has been recognized for her excellence by several legal organizations throughout the course of her career, including the American Institute of Legal Counsel, as well as being named an Elite Service Provider by ARAG Legal Plans.
Vanessa graduated from Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Arizona and went on to attend Northern Arizona University for her undergraduate degree. She pursued law school after three years of working in the corporate world and graduated from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois in 2011. She returned to Arizona shortly after and began her legal career.
In her free time, Vanessa enjoys traveling, yoga, hiking and spending time with her family, friends and beloved dog, Simon.
Areas of Practice
- Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney
- Probate: Adult Guardianships and Conservatorships, Estates, Trust Administration
- Juvenile: Adoptions, Guardianships, Termination of Parental Rights
- Arizona, 2012
- U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 2012
- John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois
- J.D. – 2011
- Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
- B.S. – 2005
- Honors: Psychology
- Minor: Criminal Justice
Honors and Awards
- American Institute of Legal Counsel
- Elite Service Provider by ARAG Legal Plans
Professional Associations and Memberships
- State Bar of Arizona, Member
- Advisory Board Member, ARAG Legal Plans
- Arizona Women Lawyers Association
Pro Bono Activities
- “Wills for Heroes”