Probate Presiding Judge
Jay M. Polk is the Presiding Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Department of the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County. He served as the Associate Presiding Judge of that department from April 10, 2017, through June 26, 2020. From November 21, 2011, to April 7, 2017, Judge Polk was assigned to the Family Court Department and served as the Associate Presiding Judge of Family Court Department for the Northeast Regional Court Center for approximately two of those years.
For nearly 20 years prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Polk limited his practice of law to contested and uncontested matters relating to guardianships, conservatorships, decedents’ estates, the abuse or exploitation of vulnerable adults, and estate planning for modest estates. In addition, he served as a mediator and arbitrator, as a guardian ad litem for minor children and incapacitated adults, and as judge pro tempore. Between 1999 and 2011, Judge Polk was an Arizona Licensed Fiduciary and, as such, served as a personal representative or special administrator for several estates, as well as the special conservator for an attorney.
Judge Polk is a frequent speaker on probate and family law matters. He is an editor of the forthcoming edition of the Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual, was a co-managing editor of the 2014 edition of that publication, an associate editor of the 2000 edition of that publication, and has been a regular contributor to the Judicial College of Arizona’s Probate Benchbook. Throughout his career, Judge Polk has been involved in drafting legislation to improve Arizona’s probate laws. In addition, Judge Polk served on the Arizona Supreme Court’s Probate Rules Committee, which drafted the first set of statewide probate rules of procedure, and the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Improving Judicial Oversight and Processing of Probate Court Matters, which proposed significant reforms to Arizona’s probate laws and rules. From December 2017 until December 2019, Judge Polk served on the Task Force on the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure and chaired Workgroup 1 of that Task Force. He continues to serve on the Task Force’s Editorial Workgroup, which is updating statewide mandatory probate forms. From September 2018 until December 2019, Judge Polk was a member of the Steering Committee on Arizona Case Processing Standards and chaired the Probate Time Standards subcommittee. Between 2014 and 2015, Judge Polk assisted in creating the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County’s intelligent probate forms.
Since 2011, Judge Polk has been a member of the Fiduciary Board, which regulates Arizona professional fiduciaries. He has been a member of the Executive Board of the Arizona Judges Association since June 2014, and served as Secretary from July 2016 through June 2017, Vice President from July 2017 through June 2018, and President from July 2018 to June 2019. He has been a member of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (“PSPRS”) Advisory Committee since November 2016. Since May 2017, Judge Polk has served as the Judicial Liaison to the Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Maricopa County Bar Association, and since September 2018, he has served as the Judicial Liaison to the Elder Law, Mental Health, and Special Needs Planning Section of the State of Bar of Arizona. Since June 2019, he also has been the Judicial Liaison to the Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona. In addition, Judge Polk served as President of The Council For Jews With Special Needs from 2004 to 2006 and was a member of that organization’s Board of Directors from 1998 through 2007.
A graduate of the University of Chicago (A.B. 1989, Political Science) and Arizona State University (J.D. 1992), Judge Polk has been the recipient of numerous professional awards, including the State Bar of Arizona Probate and Trust Law Section’s 2008 Eleanor ter Horst Distinguished Service Award, the Arizona Fiduciaries Association’s 2009 Leadership Award, the Arizona Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Attorneys’ 2011 Craig C. Gordon Outstanding Arizona Chapter Member Award, and the Maricopa County Bar Association Family Law Section’s 2017 Bridging the Gap Award.
Probate and Mental Health Presiding Judge
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