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Corona-Free Roundup: A Virus-Free Diversion

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At the end of the month, we like to survey the elder law landscape and share interesting developments. It’s not the end of the month, but we need a break from the all-corona-all-the-time news. So here’s a completely corona-free roundup. Take a few moments and pretend everything’s normal:
  • Every so often a celebrity estate illustrates an important planning consideration. Aretha Franklin’s estate has had more than a few (such as don’t create a bunch of hand-written wills). Sometimes, a neutral executor (called a “personal representative” in Arizona) instead of a family member or friend is a wise choice. Now, more than a year an a half after Franklin’s death, her estate is getting one. The presence of a neutral administrator should help contain family squabbles, and the administration should go more smoothly.  We’ll see. Did you know Elvis Presley’s estate was a mess, too? An outside, neutral fiduciary probably would have helped.
  • Clients sometimes ask whether there’s anything to stop their trustee or personal representative from taking all the money. Well, prison, for one thing. Here are two examples of executors (and attorneys!) who are in some serious trouble, one accused of stealing millions and one who pleaded guilty.
  • Charities need our help more than ever. If you aren’t in a position to donate now, consider including them in your estate plan.
  • Older people can be vulnerable to scams, and it takes an emotional as well as financial toll. One way to help prevent a loved one from falling for a scam is to identify and employ a “protective tribe” who can help ward off the scammers. It helps to have the following response at the ready: “I’m sorry, I’ll have to consult with my attorney/CPA/financial adviser before I can send you any money.”
  • Research keeps telling us promising ways to keep our brains young. This month, it’s exercise and a low-carb diet. Plus findings regarding inflammation might help certain types of dementia at some point.

We hope our corona-free roundup provided you a little bit of a diversion. Now go back to washing your hands and reading your news feed. Check on your loved ones, too, but keep your distance!

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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.