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February Review: King, Spears, McCain, Netflix

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February review

Toward the end of each month, we like to share elder law law developments we’ve noticed over the previous couple of weeks. The February review is star-studded, which doesn’t happen very often. We also have some celeb-free tidbits for tax and estate planning and just plain getting old:

The February Review of Celeb Estates

Larry King: The secret, handwritten will of the legendary broadcaster surfaced in a court proceeding. His son Larry Jr. is seeking to be appointed administrator of the estate. Not so fast, said Larry Sr.’s widow, Shawn. She’s contesting the appointment. There’s likely to be more drama ahead.

Britney Spears: There was another hearing on the pop star’s conservatorship. This time, dad Jamie was seeking a larger role in managing her affairs. He lost. He and corporate fiduciary Bessemer Trust (Britney’s choice) will keep sharing that responsibility as co-conservators. But Jamie is apparently getting tired being pummeled by Spears fans; his attorney showed up on Good Morning America to say Jamie-haters “have it so wrong.”

Buck Rogers: George Clooney is planning a re-boot of the character, created by Philip Francis Nowlan. But the Nowlan Family Trust says it owns the rights to the character and Clooney’s team doesn’t.

Bob Vitkus: He’s not a celebrity, but he should be. The Fayetteville, New York, oral surgeon died in June at age 67. A nature-lover, he left $10 million to be used to protect parks and waterways in his community.

‘I Care A Lot’: The hit Netflix horror movie is getting a lot of attention. It centers on a ruthless guardian who exploits an elderly woman, and it might scare a lot of senior citizens. We’ve seen it, and as a movie, it’s not great. (This review is spot-on.) As a commentary on guardianship abuse, it’s even worse. We’ll talk about that more next week, to give you a chance to catch the movie before we spoil the story.

Stuff of the Rich and Famous

The art collection of Texas heiress and rancher Anne Marion, who died last February, is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s starting in May. Expected take of the collection, which includes names like Warhol and Lichtenstein? $150 million.

Another recent auction featured collectibles from another famous oil heiress, Roberta McCain, late Sen. John McCain’s mom. Over her 108 years, she collected all kinds of things, often from her many travels; the 107 lots brought in more than $97,000, and another sale is planned.

Christie’s will auction items from the estate of Kathleen DuRoss Ford, widow of Henry Ford II, in New York and London. Ford’s third wife, DuRoss Ford died last May. Many auction items belonged to her husband. Highlights include “impressionist artworks by Edouard Vuillard and Kees van Dongen, handbags by Chanel and Hermès, engraved silver from Henry Ford II’s yacht Santa Maria, a rare George III ormolu-mounted white marble and biscuit-porcelain clock by Benjamin Vulliamy” and more.

Tax and Estate Planning

Not many states retain an estate tax, just 12 plus the District of Columbia, and only six have an inheritance tax. Which ones? Take a look, and you’ll see Arizona isn’t one of them.

Acronyms abound in tax and estate planning. For instance, what’ is an ILIT and do you need one? How about a SLAT?

Should you tell your kids about your estate plan? We tell clients that’s up to them. Here are a couple of good reasons to consider it. Here’s one circumstance when communicating can be crucial: When the division among beneficiaries, especially children, is not equal.

This piece purports to give you advice on a DIY estate plan. It really just talks about beneficiary designations, which, in some cases, can dispose of most of a person’s assets. But most people want their estate plan to do more. (Like plan for incapacity.)

A few weeks back, we wrote about using trusts to ensure inheritances are used for intended purposes. Here’s a dad who is embracing their children’s desire NOT to inherit and to try to do good instead.

The February Review of Aging Issues

Artificial intelligence devices are poised to make aging a whole lot easier – if we are willing to embrace the technology.

Scammers are targeting the elderly with Covid-19 pitches; be aware.

A recent study indicates how well you age has a lot to do with your attitude toward aging. As the study’s co-author says: “People need to realize that some of the negative health consequences in later life might not be biologically driven. The mind and the body are all interwoven. If you believe these bad things are going to happen, over time that can erode people’s willingness or maybe even eventually their ability to engage in those health behaviors that are going to keep them as healthy as they can be.”

Dementia developments:

That’s it for the February review.

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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.