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November Round Up: Stan Lee, Taxes, and More

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At the end of the month, we like to survey the elder law arena and share what we’ve found. Here’s the November round up:

Elder Abuse and Stan Lee

The best read we’ve seen this month is an AARP piece on the last years and aftermath of the life of Stan Lee. Several in the Marvel comics genius’s circle have been accused of elder abuse. As the article says: “[T]he villain in this story is love. Abuse of the elderly routinely cloaks itself in love, which is, in many cases, returned by the victim. The perpetrators might even call love their motivation.”

In additional sobering but not surprising news regarding elder care, abuse is even harder to combat during Covid-19, and the pandemic is hurting the finances of family caregivers.

Taxing Times Ahead?

Each month in these roundups, we have shared articles about planning in the event of a Joe Biden victory. (Just a sampling: August, September, October) Now that it seems Biden will eventually be president, the chances the feds will be seeking more tax revenue are pretty dang good. It may be time to consider estate tax planning; if not now, stay alert so you can take action before new legislation takes effect. Top reads this month:

  • An excellent deep dive into tax developments and strategies specifically for 2020.
  • A couple of snapshots (here and here) of possible tax changes under Biden.
  • Plus: a smattering of strategies that financial advisers using to help the wealthy “strategically unload assets.”

November Round Up of Planning Tidbits

There are of course estate planning considerations that have nothing to do with taxes. Among those that surfaced this month:

  • Five disasters to avoid, and two more ways you can blow it. Not properly designating beneficiaries is always our favorite. But there’s also: Not going through the estate planning process. We agree!
  • Clients often wonder what they should tell their kids about their estate plans. The answer is always, “It depends.” There’s no getting around the fact that it’s an intensely personal decision. But this piece provides some useful guidance.
  • Here’s why planning is so important for non-traditional families.
  • Ever wondered what a contingent beneficiary is and why you need one? Now you know.
  • People with charitable intent are naming Donor Advised Funds (of DAFs) as beneficiaries of their individual retirement accounts. Here’s why.
  • Speaking of charitable intent, our own Robert B. Fleming conducted a webinar for the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona ( about Aging, Philanthropy and Estate Planning, which you can watch via our YouTube channel.
  • One thing Robert covers in the CFSA presentation is dementia. He notes that those tip-of-the tongue moments, when you can’t remember a word or name, are not dementia. A new study agrees: Elders are slower because our brains simply have more information to sort through.

Tricks and Tribulations of Estate Administration

Fleming & Curti often serves as executor or trustee and we represent professionals and family members who serve, too. This article about “how to avoid a war” over an estate, includes advice that can help — but there’s no guarantee.

In the category of the more you know about administering a trust or estate . . . How to handle social security when someone dies and understanding how trust distributions are taxed.

Celebrity Estates and Lawsuits

In other dead celebrity lawsuit news:

  • The family and estate of “Glee” actress Naya Rivera have filed a wrongful death lawsuit over her drowning back in July.
  • Famous architect Zaha Hadid’s estate has finally almost settled after four years and lots of drama. It’s a good example of why not to name a committee of executors. Hadid named four.
  • The battle between the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and producers of a take on Sherlock Holmes’ stories. Producers of Enola Holmes filed a motion to dismiss the estate’s copyright and trademark infringement complaint.
  • Another copyright dispute has erupted, this one over Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Paramount wants to develop projects, but the rights might belong to a trust formed at author Truman Capote’s death.

That’s it for the November round up. Mask up and stay safe.

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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.