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August Review: Taxes, Planning, Aging & Bob Ross

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August review

It’s the end of the month, so it’s time for the August review of elder-law related developments.

Taxes & Planning

Iowa has decided to ditch its inheritance tax, phased out and fully reduced by January 1, 2025. There are only five others: Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Even “Gen Z” needs to know something about estate taxes. Here’s what. (Turns out it’s mostly just if they live in one of the states with an estate tax.)

Suze Orman has spoken, with love and empathy: “You are nuts” if you think estate planning is difficult.

Planning to give to charity? There are interesting ways to go about that, such as the charitable lead trust.

Strategies for IRAs have changed since the SECURE Act. Charities are even better beneficiaries (if you are so inclined) than before SECURE. Here are more ways to adjust your thinking.

Apparently, there are five things retirees always forget about estate planning. One of them is updating beneficiary designations. Don’t forget, because not updating can create major problems.

Business owners often forget that they need more than a basic estate plan. They also need a succession plan. Some thoughts to get started.

Worried about taxes? Here are ways to prepare for higher ones.

Worried about long-term care? Here are ways to plan for it.

Aging & Science

Most people want to age at home as long as possible. In some places, NORCs, or naturally occurring retirement communities, are providing support for just that. Meanwhile, here are some practical tips for making a home suitable for aging in place.

The assumption that mental faculties decline with age may be wrong; a new study suggests some abilities actually improve. But for many people, capacity does start to slip. Some guidance for those concerned about parents can help, though it of course could apply to any loved one.

Artificial intelligence might some day be able to diagnose dementia in a single day. For now, get an engrossing job; there’s a clear link between stimulating work and a lower risk of dementia.

A Scientific American opinion piece says Alzheimer’s research has gone astray, and that’s what led to the FDA’s controversial approval of the drug that probably doesn’t work.

Studies have shown that people tend to get happier as they get older. Why is that? Some ideas.

August Review of Celeb Estates

Britney Spears: Dad Jamie has agreed to step down as conservator of the pop star’s estate, saying a battle would not be in Britney’s best interest and that he’ll work the the court and her attorney to “prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator.” Notice that he didn’t say he supports ending the conservatorship.

Aaliyah: The singer’s 1996 album started streaming this month, much to the annoyance of those administering her estate. Her uncle and former manager was behind the release, and her executors accuse him of failing to account and communicate. Aaliyah died in a plane crash 20 years ago at age 22.

Bob Ross: A new documentary raises questions about the celebrity painter’s estate. The flick criticizes Bob Ross, Inc., and the company says it’s all inaccurate. His plan wasn’t full of happy little accidents.

Kurt Cobain: The naked baby on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album is suing the lead singer’s estate and the surviving members of the band, accusing them of child porn, failing to protect him from exploitation and lifelong damages. Legal sources say: Expect an early dismissal.

Nichelle Nichols: Family members and friends are battling over the actress, who played Lt. Uhura on “Star Trek.” Nichols is 88, and her only son, Kyle Johnson, was named her conservator. But her former manager and a friend are both unhappy with Kyle’s service and lawsuits continue.

That’s it for the August review. Enjoy the last few days of summer!


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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.