May Review: Brace for Change, Breathe for Brains, Buy Stuff

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Each month, we pause and look back at news and developments in elder law. For the May review, there’s news in the Arizona legislature and more:

May Review of Arizona News

The Arizona legislature is aiming to make changes in probate, which we wrote about earlier this month. Already law is the creation of a “probate advisory panel,” a group that will be tasked with making suggestions to “improve the adult guardianship and conservatorship laws through statutory changes.” Still being considered is SB1291. It makes changes to guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, which almost certainly will make proceedings more difficult and more expensive. It also picks up HB2174, which creates a new concept called “supported decision making” for disabled adults. Lawmakers or on recess until June 12, so there is still time to weigh in.

Arizona also made news for an investigation into Medicaid fraud. Gov. Katie Hobbs announced that payments to over 100 providers have been suspended following the discovery of scams targeting Native Americans. Behavioral health companies allegedly billed for mental health treatment and addiction rehabilitation, then never provided services. Operation Rainbow Bridge has been launched to help those affected.

Dementia Developments

Breathe in to a count of four – one, two, three, four. And breathe out — one, two, three, four. Do that for twenty minutes twice a day, and you may reduce your Alzheimer’s risk. According to a new study, deep breathing helps decrease peptides in the blood associated with the disease.  It reduces stress, too. An insomnia drug may have a similar effect.

In other dementia news from our May review:

A person doesn’t need to have dementia to become a victim of financial fraud; here are ways to to help prevent that.

Living With Aging

In a recent U.S. News & World Report survey,  an overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) agreed that “aging in place” was an important goal. Technology appears to be helping them achieve that: 88% said assistive or health-related technologies have improved their quality of life. Useful technologies include medical or health-related mobile apps (45%), service-related apps like grocery delivery (43%), wearable medical or health-related trackers (33%), and assistive smart home technologies (30%).  But there are still challenges: only 19% felt that their home setup was completely prepared for the years ahead, and 41% felt their current setup was minimally ready to not ready at all.

U.S. News followed up with an article about remodeling projects that help, and here are more tips specifically focused on fall risk.

Estate Planning Bits

For friends and family, you can get back to basics with this “What is Estate Planning?” introduction. We absolutely endorse this: “Don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional . . . Hiring an attorney will come with added costs, but it will also give you the peace of mind . . . “ But not this: “Take advantage of free resources online.”

One “holistic” approach enlists not just an estate planning attorney but four additional professionals to create a planning team to ensure everything is under control.

Our May review also found planning tops for specific issues: trusts for people with mental illness, crypto and digital assets, and using LLCs.

Celebrity Estate Updates

The supposed feud over who will administer Lisa Marie Presley’s estate was quietly “resolved.” It seems that Priscilla Presley will be serving. She issued a statement to USA Today that said, in part: “My family has resolved all confusion as it relates to our plea to the court and request for document interpretation after my daughter Lisa Marie’s untimely passing. Although the media identified such a plea as a lawsuit, I want to make clear that there was never any lawsuit filed against my beloved granddaughter. As a family, we are pleased that we resolved this together.”

The estate auction of author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment) begins on Memorial Day, and you can place bids online. Items include typewriters, a writing desk, copies of his books, firearms, boots, memorabilia from Hollywood productions, artwork and furnishings from his home, and vintage Dr. Pepper bottles (pictured above). The auction also includes cowboy and ranching pieces from other Texas estates. The McMurtry pieces are Lots 1 thru 300. McMurtry died in March of 2021 at the age of 84.

May Review: End Note

The LA Times reports that more eco-friendly options to burial and cremation are becoming available and rounds up seven of them. Also in the development stage: coffins made from mushrooms.

Robert B. Fleming

Attorney

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

Attorney

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

Attorney

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

Attorney

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.