Close this search box.

April Review: Boomers, Trusts, and Tupac

Print Article

Can you believe May is less than a week away? That means it’s time to share our April review of developments in elder law:

Boomer Trends

Our April review turned up several items related to the aging of the baby boomer generation:

The economy. Conventional wisdom says baby boomers’ aging spells doom and gloom for Social Security and the economy in general. We stumbled on a more optimistic view: The more than 70 million baby boomers could be seen as an asset and help build  a “longevity economy” by working, says a professor from the University of North Carolina. “Everything has to change in both the built environment and the social environment to accommodate an aging population. We have baby boomers, turning 65, at the rate of 10,000 per day, every day, seven days a week . . . a lot of them are working much longer past age 65, and they are major consumers in the marketplace. Given the labor market challenges that we’re facing today, post-COVID, ‘encore careers’ are something that we’re going to have to pursue in a major way.”

Complicated divorces. Divorce among older adults, a/k/a “gray divorce,” is surging, mostly due to demographics. It’s increasingly likely that a divorcing partner could have dementia, and their ability to participate in the proceeding could be in question. What happens? They will need someone to legally advocate on their behalf, usually a guardian or conservator.

Trust taxes. Boomers aging also may be behind the increase in 1041 tax returns. The Federal 1041 is filed for estate and trusts, and the number of those filings is increasing. They were up 14.9% in 2021 to 3.24 million, 2.82 million in 2020. It’s not just deaths of baby boomers, one expert says, boomers have “an increased desire to help the next generation manage their inheritance, [but also] a fear they will squander their legacy, causing them to create trusts to pass assets efficiently to the next generation, but with some control being exercised from the grave. . . . As a result, there are more taxpayers with trusts.”

Taxes & Planning

Speaking of trusts, our April review found a piece detailing eight types that come in handy, particularly for high-net-worth individuals, and this one covers one of those plus two more.

As those articles point out, these trusts are often used to avoid estate tax. Republicans (again) are aiming to repeal the tax, and Bernie Sanders and other Democrats aim to boost it. And so it goes.

While politicians wrestle with future taxes, we’ve got the real world to wrestle with. With estate planning, not having a lousy one is something we should all aim for. One of the lousy things to avoid is “making unequal distributions.” Although treating beneficiaries differently can “result in war between your heirs,” there are ways to minimize the damage. This article has one major suggestion: talk.

Also in our estate planning review . . .

Two More Things About Trusts

If you are a current beneficiary of a trust, it’s unlikely the trustee could take that from you. That’s because all trustees have a fiduciary duty to  act in the best interests of all beneficiaries. It’s possible that the trust grants the trustee or someone else the authority to remove a beneficiary, but it’s rare.

If you are a next-in-line beneficiary, the creator of the trust (a/k/a grantor, trustor, or settlor), if living, might still have the ability to amend the trust and remove you. And it’s not uncommon to grant a power of appointment, explained here, which could grant someone the authority to do just that.

April Review of Celeb Estates

Drama unfolded at the trial over Aretha Franklin’s competing wills. Twenty minutes of voicemails left by the Queen of Soul were played in court. The report says, “Attorneys for Franklin’s four sons gathered at the judge’s bench as audio was streamed from a laptop computer, while three of the sons listened on from the gallery.” On the recordings, Franklin told her attorney about changes she wanted made to a draft of her will. She says she will need an office visit “to finish this,” but she died months later without having done so.

In other celebrity estate suits:

  • The estate of Chris Cornell settled a dispute with his Soundgarden bandmates, paving the way for new music releases.
  • Lawyers for the Michael Jackson estate are pushing for a secret project to move forward and asked for court approval. But Jackson’s mother, Katherine, 92, has filed an objection. She’s expected to testify next month.
  • And the Naomi Judd estate is facing a claim from the singer’s former manager for unpaid commissions going back decades.

And finally for the April review, some welcome celebrity estate news; “Tupac Shakur: The Authorized Biography” is due in October. The book “provides exclusive access to his private notebooks, letters, unpublished lyrics, and uncensored conversations with the rapper’s loved ones.” We expect it’ll be a good read.



Stay up to date

Subscribe to our Newsletter to get our takes on some of the situations families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities find themselves in. These posts help guide you in the decision making process and point out helpful tips and nuances to take advantage of. Enter your email below to have our entries sent directly to your inbox!

Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

Famous people's wills

Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.