Close this search box.

January Roundup: What’s Up With the SECURE Act?

Print Article
January roundup

It’s the last Monday of the month, and that means it’s time for the January roundup of elder law news items. First of all, the SECURE Act was passed in late December, so the first few weeks of the year brought lots of discussion about it. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting articles, blog posts, and musings. If, however, you are not interested in SECURE, scroll down for items on state estate taxes, pet protection, and a new trend in coping with grief.

SECURE Act Causes Some Insecurity

Very quickly after the SECURE Act passed in December, elder law attorneys, including our own Robert B. Fleming, quickly gave us the highlights.

Of course there’s plenty out there giving similar overviews. Here are just a few: National Law Review, global law firm K&L Gates, Kiplinger, financial planning nerd Michael Kitces’s blog (with a nifty summary chart), Investment News magazine (coverage starts on page 5).

But for a deeper dive, check out the 35-page analysis from Natalie Choate, the universally recognized guru of estate planning and retirement plans.

As the days passed, more reading ensued. Nuances of the Act, some good and some not so good, were dissected and discussed. Because this is still new, expect this to continue in the months (and probably years) ahead. Among the interesting reads on specific Act-related topics:

In addition, to deal with the much-discussed loss of the “stretch” for inherited IRAs, different strategies are emerging:

There of course is a lot more out there. If you are interested in ongoing analysis, there’s The Slott Report, with almost daily posts on IRA news. Don’t believe everything you read, though. Especially right after a new law arrives, be mindful that 1) it takes a while for the dust to settle, 2) regulations, certain to come along, should clarify some things, and 3) every person’s situation is different. Plan to talk with your financial advisor and estate planning attorney.

As for other interesting tidbits for the January roundup:

Are State Estate Taxes Coming Back?

Virginia eliminated its state estate tax in 2007. Now there are bills in both branches of the Virginia legislature proposing to revive the tax. Both bills propose taxes at 1970s levels. What’s more, the tax has a good chance of passing in some form. Democrats now control the legislature and the governorship. Could this be the beginning of a trend?

Beyond the Common Pet Trust

Many people who adore their critters have a plan for their care after the owner’s death in their Will or Trust. Do these plans extend to periods of incapacity? Not usually. This article proposes creating a stand-alone living trust solely for animals so you can provide both funds and detailed direction regarding their care.

Cook Together for Healing

It’s a common practice to take a covered dish over for people who are grieving. Some are taking this practice a step further and holding cooking parties. The gatherings, where loved ones make an entire meal together, can provide a great deal of comfort. Says one participant: “There’s something really nourishing about bringing a community together to make food. It feels good not only to do this to help friends in need, but to connect in a practical way with other people who love them.”

That’s the January roundup. If you see an item of interest, please let us know.

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.