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April Review: Surveys Show We Could Plan Better

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April review

That’s May just around the corner, which means it’s when we like to survey elder law news and commentary and share interesting developments. For the April review, we learn (again) that a lot of people don’t have estate plans, that a lot of people want to “age in place,” and that the George Harrison estate supports supports marijuana consumption:

April Review: We’re Underplanned

A new survey shows many Americans don’t have an estate plan (only 33% say they do). The Covid-19 pandemic has made a difference; people who had severe cases are 66% more likely to have engaged in planning, but only 48% of those actually have done the work to put a in place. Covid seems to be a big motivator for young adults; 50% more have estate plans now than before the pandemic. The biggest obstacles to planning? 40% say they just haven’t gotten around to it. A third don’t believe they have sufficient assets to have a plan (they’re wrong). And 13% think it’s too expensive.

In other estate planning news:

  • Sometimes, a will or typical revocable trust is not enough. Like, if you have an estate that is likely to be subject to estate tax and you want to avoid that. Here are some strategies. If you are married, “portability” can help minimize estate tax, too.
  • Most of us now have digital lives, and it’s important to plan for those accounts, too.
  • What’s a pour-over will and do you need one? (If you have a trust, the answer is yes.)
  • Here’s an important warning about banks and your financial power of attorney. Make sure your bank accepts the document before it’s too late.
  • Late last month, the Biden administration released the “Greenbook” for budget and tax proposals. Here are six highlights and commentary. 

We’re Also Underprepared

In another survey we found during our April review, the vast majority of people (88%) over 50 say they want to “age in place” and live at home as long as possible. But only 15% said they have given a lot of consideration to modifications their home may need to make that happen. More (38%) have given some consideration, but almost half (47%) have given it little or no consideration. Yet half of older adults (49%) in the survey said they had  at least one “smart home” device (i.e., technology that uses Wi-Fi and sensors to allow for communication between devices, remote monitoring, or voice control) to assist them. And many are looking to such technology to make aging in place easier. This article highlights the best ‘smart’ gadgets that can help. However, technology might not be enough to overcome the challenge of having enough in-home health workers.

Meanwhile, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare has launched a space to help us navigate aging and services.  “Aging, Health, and Care: What You Need to Know” is a place to find “consumer-friendly information and articles” on topics like Medicare and long-term care.

April Review: Celebrity Estates

For superstars like Bob Dylan, it makes estate planning sense to sell music catalogs before knocking on heaven’s door. This article explains why. 

The Ray Charles estate is issuing two releases.

Long lost, recently found recordings are at the center of a dispute between the sons of singer George Jones and some shady characters from his past.

The Chuck Yeager estate tried to sue Airbus for violating the famous pilot’s right of publicity, but the  9th Circuit Court of Appeals grounded the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds.

The George Harrison estate has signed on with the cannabis company Dad Grass for products branded All Things Must Grass, a play on words with Harrison’s 1970 album All Things Must Pass. And for Harrison’s music, the estate reached a global publishing deal with BMG music.

Floridian David Baldwin isn’t a celebrity, but he should be. His bequests of more than $63 million are making a big difference for Tampa Bay area charities.

That’s it for the April review. If you missed March’s post, here’s a recap.

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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.