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Patio Planning — Yours or Ours

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Patio Planning

At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we’ve been thinking about how we — and our clients — will adjust as the economy reopens. We may see more of our clients face-to-face, but we’ll still want to be very cautious about proper distancing and disinfecting routines. What might that look like in the months to come?

One idea we’re planning on implementing: what we’re calling “patio planning.” That is, we can meet with you in an open area, maintaining social distances, and exchange no paper, implements or even drinking cups.

There will be challenges, no doubt. Temperatures in Tucson are already in the high 90s every day, and regularly above 100°. We — and our clients — need to be flexible and adaptable.

Patio Planning at your house

We can come visit you to discuss estate planning and review your choices. To make sure we have minimal contacts, we will bring our own table and chairs, and meet with you on your patio. Masks and gloves will of course be involved.

Of course, if we do come to you there will be some additional issues to grapple with. If you are a new client, we really need to see your existing documents in advance. But we can set up a mechanism for you to get us those documents, and a completed questionnaire, in advance.

Patio Planning at our office

Maybe you’re comfortable traveling to our office, but would rather not come into our shared workspace. We can accommodate that, too. Our folding chairs and patio tables are easy to wipe down, and we can set them up in the shadiest spot outside our office. You get to decide whether the office dog joins us for the meeting.

Again, though, we will need to be flexible and adaptable. High temperatures will make it important to meet early in the morning (or sometimes at the end of the day). The good news on that score: our patio planning table and chairs will have spent their time inside our offices, so won’t have been superheated by the Tucson sunshine (perhaps only Tucson locals can really appreciate the significance of that promise).Patio planning at our place

Once again, we will disinfect the furniture, wear masks and gloves as appropriate, and offer you the same protective items. But at least it would give us a chance to meet face mask to face mask.

Are those the only choices?

Of course not. We can (and expect to) continue to make most of our client appointments by telephone or video chat. We can set up group telephone calls when necessary, and we are fairly proficient with GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype and whatever else you are comfortable with using.

Some clients (and prospective clients) have told us that they just don’t want to “meet” us virtually, and they would rather wait until “this” is over. We’re not sure when things will be back to normal, but we offer this alternative to make it easier for you to get your planning underway.

Signing documents

We really do need to see you for the signing of your documents, in many cases. That’s another way we expect to use our patio planning approach. We can have all of our initial appointments by telephone or video conference, and just set up the portable patio chairs and table for the signing appointment.

As we’ve described before, we will continue to be cautious about signing protocols to minimize risk. Want to stay in your car and pass a (sanitized) clipboard through your car window? Yes, we can do driveway signings. Prefer us to visit your home but stand outside and watch you sign through your kitchen window? We’ve done that, and can do it again.

Here’s the main thing: we want to make it easy for you to get your estate planning completed. We have heard from too many clients with a loved one under quarantine, who regret that they never got around to getting signed powers of attorney. These estate planning documents are important, and we’re here to help you get them completed. It’s what we do.

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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.