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October Round Up: Covid, Care Homes & Taxes

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It’s the last Monday of the month. That means we’re a bit closer to closing out 2020 and also that it’s time for the October Round Up of developments in elder law.

Covid-19 and Care Homes

The pandemic has hit nursing homes particularly hard. AARP this month launched a “Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard,” which tracks nursing home statistics in every state, to try to assess how states are doing to combat the virus and maintain pressure on public officials to offer solutions. The dashboard aggregates and analyzes data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on resident deaths and virus cases per 100 residents, staff cases per 100 residents, the percentage of nursing homes without a one-week supply of personal protective equipment, and the percentage of nursing homes with staffing shortages.

Nationally, the data shows that shortages of PPE are still a significant problem, with more than a quarter of nursing homes reporting a shortage during the four weeks ending September 20.

For Arizona, data shows that, during the period, PPE shortages were the same as the national average, and in other categories, we’re doing better than the rest of the country. Just over 22% of nursing homes reported cases among residents during the period. They reported 82% since January. Cases among staff remain higher: 45.6%. The Dashboard will be updated every four weeks.

Meanwhile, AARP also raises five questions to ask now that care facilities are starting to allow visitors–before you go.

Speaking of our government at work, the feds released final regulations for ABLE accounts and announced the 2021 cost of living adjustments for Social Security and other benefits.

In-Home Care Instead?

Most believe the “aging in place” movement will grow as a result of the pandemic. But staying home can bring significant challenges, at least six of them to consider if you are pondering your own future living arrangements. This article advises anyone over 65 to have a plan in place.

If you are helping an aging loved one and want to avoid nursing home, here’s more advice: be sure to vet in-home caregivers carefully and provide help with employing them.

For many people, living at home vs. a facility depends on Medicaid. That’s not the only problem with the state-federal program; it’s also fragmented, confusing, and results in inequitable care.


If Joe Biden wins the presidency, it’s pretty obvious that taxes of one sort or another are headed higher.

As you may know, the current $11.58 million estate tax exemption is set to expire after 2025. But that could happen sooner. (Again, Biden.) Are you ready?

The wealthy aren’t sitting around waiting to see what happens, this report says they’re “scrambling” to make changes now. The winners are typically the next generation, which could receive billions. But creating these tax-advantageous plans has in some cases caused family tension, partly because of generational political disagreements.

Taxes also factor heavily in these 10 estate planning recommendations before the end of the year, but the piece ends with “never let the ‘tax tail wag the dog.’ “ Some things are more important.

Non-Tax Planning

Clients often ask about the difference between a Will and a trust. Here’s a pretty good primer.

Clients also often grapple with whether they want a “springing” or an “immediate” financial power of attorney. Some things to think about.

But a lot of people never get that far. Actor Chadwick Boseman, who died in August, never got around to it. Don’t be one of them.

That’s it for the October Round Up. Stay well. And vote.

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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.