Arizona community property

Arizona community property

The “community property” rules sometimes confuse or alarm lawyers from states that apply the “common-law” property rules. Arizona community property is not really that complicated, but it can be foreign to estate planning practitioners from other states. In this podcast episode, we try to simplify some of the Arizona community property rules. They seem second…

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Estate planning with blended families

Estate Planning With Blended Families

We often consult with blended families about their estate planning. Those families — sometimes with “yours, mine and our” kids, or disparate young-adult backgrounds — can pose special concerns for us to work through. How common are concerns? The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 1,300 new step-families are formed every day. More than half of…

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Planning with childless clients

Planning With Childless Clients

There is a lot of social and familial pressure for most people to leave the bulk of their estate to their children. Sometimes, though, we deal with planning with childless clients. How are they different? In this podcast episode we talk about estate planning with our childless clients. Their planning might pose different concerns, like:…

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Trust and probate record keeping

Trust and Probate Record Keeping

Last week we discussed record keeping for conservatorship matters. The rules are similar, but somewhat different, for trust and probate record keeping. Generally, accounting requirements for trusts and probate proceedings are somewhat easier to handle (at least in Arizona). But simpler accounting does not necessarily mean that record keeping is simpler. A trustee or a…

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Conservatorship record keeping

Conservatorship Record Keeping

Conservatorship record keeping must be precise and detailed. Conservators are responsible to the court that appointed them. Courts — at least in Arizona — pay close attention to conservators’ accounts. We have discussed the court involvement in conservatorships before. And it’s important to note that even the term “conservator” can have different meanings in other…

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What is probate?

What is Probate?

Everyone knows that it’s important to avoid probate, right? But what is probate, anyway? Is probate expensive, time consuming and invasive? Well, it certainly can be — but most often it’s not very complicated and easy to handle. And also, most often it is easy to avoid. Last week we discussed probate avoidance. This week…

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Avoiding probate

Avoiding Probate in Arizona

Avoiding probate: most of our estate planning clients are already sure that’s important. But how can you avoid probate? And is it important? What (if any) problems might develop? In this week’s regular podcast episode, we talk about avoiding probate in Arizona. We explain beneficiary designations, Arizona’s beneficiary deed option, and some of the other…

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Planning during the pandemic

Estate Planning During the Pandemic

We’re still doing estate planning in the pandemic. In this podcast episode, we discuss the kinds of issues clients are asking about, and what steps we encourage people to take. What is the single most important document for you to get in order now? (Spoiler alert: we think it’s your health care power of attorney.)…

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Tom's Retirement

Tom’s Retirement

Tom’s retirement. What does an estate planning lawyer learn from advising others about his own retirement planning? Tom Curti, founding partner of Fleming & Curti, PLC, retired just one year ago. At the time Tom was a 44-year lawyer. The Fleming & Curti partnership had been in place for more than a quarter century. For…

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Agents who become incapable

Agents Who Become Incapable

You completed your estate planning, signing a will, and maybe even a trust. At the same time you signed a durable financial power of attorney, and a health care power of attorney. You planned for the possibility that you become incapacitated or die. But what happens about agents who become incapable of handling your affairs…

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Marijuana and your estate plan

Marijuana and Your Estate Plan

Wait a minute — marijuana is illegal, isn’t it? Why would it factor into your estate plan? Join us for an engaging podcast discussion with our friend Gerry Beyer. Professor Beyer teaches law at the Texas Tech University College of Law. He is a national authority on a number of topics — but especially on,…

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Gun trusts

Gun Trusts: Do You Need One?

We occasionally get asked about “gun trusts.” Does everyone who owns a firearm need to think about setting up a gun trust? Or is this something only gun dealers need to worry about? For most casual firearm owners, there’s no need to worry about a separate trust to handle guns. But join us for our…

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Springing vs. Surviving Power of Attorney

Springing vs. Surviving Power of Attorney

Springing vs. surviving durable financial powers of attorney: what’s the difference? Which is better? A “springing” power of attorney becomes effective only when the signer becomes incapacitated — lawyers talk about it “springing” into existence. A “surviving” power is immediately effective, and survives even if the signer later becomes incapacitated. Which do you prefer? Join…

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Pet Trusts

Pet Trusts – With Prof. Gerry Beyer

We’re lucky to count Prof. Gerry Beyer among our good friends. He’s the Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law at Texas Tech University College of Law. You can imagine that his business cards must be larger than usual — and that’s before he even gets to his academic credentials, accolades and identifiers. Prof.…

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Simplify your estate plan

Simplify Your Estate Plan

Everyone wants a “simple” estate plan. But many have complicated notions about distribution of assets. We want to help you simplify your estate plan. We see many clients with fixed ideas about which assets should go to which beneficiaries. Do you have four children? Well, couldn’t you just open four accounts at different financial institutions…

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Spendthrift trust provisions

Spendthrift Trust Provisions

When should your trust include spendthrift trust provisions? Are they only for spendthrifts, or only for “special needs” beneficiaries? In this podcast episode, Tucson elder law attorneys Robert B. Fleming and Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman discuss limitations on trust distributions. Bottom line: spendthrift trust provisions are useful for all sorts of trust beneficiaries. They are…

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COVID-19

COVID-19 and Fleming & Curti, PLC

Public and private offices all across the country are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Law offices are no different. But at Fleming & Curti, PLC, we are a little bit different. We have some additional considerations to cope with in deciding how to respond. Our weekly newsletters have addressed what we think clients ought to…

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Dividing personal property

Dividing Personal Property in an Estate

One of the most challenging jobs for a successor trustee or personal representative of an estate: dividing personal property among the beneficiaries or heirs. If you’re in charge of administering an estate, how do you decide which of your siblings gets the silver, who gets the antique furniture, and how you’re going to handle thousands…

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Our survey says....

Our Survey Says…

At the bottom of each of our newsletter and podcast entries online, we ask a survey question. The current one asks what happens if an Arizona resident dies without a will. We offer five options; we were surprised that less than 1/3 of our readers got the answer right. Our survey says … that there’s…

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Our fiduciary fees

How We Set Our Fiduciary Fees

At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we sometimes act as trustee, personal representative, agent under a power of attorney, or conservator. We charge a fee for those roles, of course. Anyone considering us should understand how we set our fiduciary fees. In this podcast episode, we talk about our fiduciary fees and how we determine an…

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Means-Tested Benefits

What Does “Means-Tested Benefits” Mean?

Many public benefits programs are “means-tested.” But what does that mean? Some programs are based on participation in an insurance model. Those include Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability benefits, and even survivor’s and children’s benefits. Medicare eligibility is also based on participation in the program (through employment and withholding or quarterly estimated payments).…

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Taxes and trusts explained

Taxes and Trusts Explained

Do you wish you could get the relationship between taxes and trusts explained? We’re here to help. There are a number situations in which taxation of trusts can be confusing: You set up a revocable living trust. Do you have to file a tax return? Your trust became irrevocable — perhaps because of the death…

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Nosy questions

Nosy questions

When we meet with a new client, we ask a lot of nosy questions. You can guess why we are so invasive, but we do want to assure you that it is more than just prurience or idle curiosity. We really do need to know about family dynamics, capabilities of your family members (or limitations),…

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Do you need a trust?

Do You Need a Trust?

Are living trusts oversold? That is, do you need a trust? This basic estate planning discussion is the one we probably get asked about most often by our clients. There is much mystique about the need for and utility of revocable living trusts. Are there people who should not create one? Are there others who…

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Your special needs planning

Your Special Needs Planning

When do you need to do your special needs planning? Do you have a child who receives Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) or Medicaid benefits? If so, you need to get working on your special needs planning. Is there someone in your family (a grandchild, a niece or nephew) receiving such benefits? You need to think…

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Placing Restrictions on Your Trustee

Placing Restrictions on Your Trustee

When you sign a trust, you probably have a vision of how the trustee will operate. Will they continue to utilize your trusted advisors? Liquidate all your carefully-selected assets? Understand your intentions regarding distributions to your beneficiaries? You might place restrictions on your trustee to make sure they behave in accordance with your vision. Much…

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QMB and SLMB and QI

QMB and SLMB and QI (Oh, My)

Medicare is a great health-care program for its participants. Most Medicare beneficiaries prefer its coverage to what they might get under Medicaid. But what about people who can’t afford the premiums for Medicare Part B (and Part D), the co-payments and the deductibles. For them, QMB and SLMB and QI might offer help. But what…

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ABLE Act accounts

ABLE Act Accounts

In 2014, the federal government allowed states to establish ABLE Act accounts. Do you understand who they are for and when you might want to explore the idea further? In this week’s podcast episode, we discuss ABLE Act accounts in Arizona. The accounts were first permitted under the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act…

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Fleming & Curti as fiduciary

Fleming & Curti as Fiduciary

The last in our series of podcasts on selecting a fiduciary. Should you consider our firm, Fleming & Curti, as fiduciary? We started this cycle with a general discussion: what does “fiduciary” mean, anyway? And how do you select a successor trustee, personal representative or agent for your powers of attorney? If you don’t think…

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Professional fiduciaries

Professional Fiduciaries and Your Estate Plan

Choosing your fiduciary can be challenging. Even understanding the duties and challenges facing your fiduciary can be difficult. Sometimes you need to consider professional fiduciaries. What is a professional fiduciary? In Arizona and some other states, there is an industry of professional fiduciaries. Some have legal backgrounds, some social service or financial backgrounds. One of…

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Choosing your fiduciary

Choosing Your Fiduciary

One of the most difficult tasks connected with your estate plan is too easily overlooked. Choosing your fiduciary should be more than just naming your oldest child, or all of your children. Being a fiduciary is actually hard work. You should pay attention to which potential fiduciary is actually up to the task. In last…

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What is a Fiduciary?

What is a Fiduciary?

You may have heard or read the term: fiduciary. But what is a fiduciary? In this podcast episode, we go through some of the kinds of relationships that are included. The term covers at least these: A conservator of a living person’s estate (which can sometimes include someone acting as if they were the conservator,…

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Pets in your estate planning

Include Pets in Your Estate Planning

You’re already thinking about your estate planning. Perhaps it’s time to update your five-year-old will and/or trust. Maybe you’ve never gotten around to taking care of this grown-up task. But in any case: have you dealt with your pets in your estate planning? Many of our clients have strong attachments to their pets. Many assume…

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Explaining third-party SNTs

Explaining Third Party SNTs

Third-party SNTs (special needs trusts) are complicated to understand. Part of the confusion arises from the similarity of names. Self-settled (or first-party) special needs trusts are very different animals, but the similarity of names adds to the problem. In this podcast episode, we try to demystify some of the issues around third-party SNTs. Join us…

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How do will contests work

How do Will Contests Work?

How frequent do you think will contests are? If you’re like most people, you almost certainly overestimate the frequency of probate, and only a small portion of those cases involve contested proceedings. It’s difficult to succeed with a will contest. We talk about some of the issues. There are reasons will contests are so rare…

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Supplemental benefits trust

What is a Supplemental Benefits Trust?

We’ve written — and talked — about different types of special needs trusts over the past week. One term that we frequently hear is about “supplemental benefits” trusts. Are they same thing as special needs trusts? Are they even recognized in Arizona? In this week’s podcast, we try to demystify the supplemental benefits trust. Join…

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Different types of special needs trusts

Different Types of Special Needs Trusts

There are different types of special needs trusts. That should not be surprising — but the effect sometimes is. Besides that, the differences can generate plenty of confusion. Host Robert Fleming and guest Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman, partners in the Tucson elder law firm of Fleming & Curti, PLC, discuss the differences and some of…

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Arizona UTMA Accounts

Arizona UTMA Accounts

In our Elder Law Issues newsletter this week, we described a bankruptcy court case involving a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account. Arizona has also adopted the uniform law, and Arizona UTMA accounts would likely be treated in the same way. But, more importantly, when would someone want to set up an Arizona UTMA…

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Do it yourself estate planning

Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

Do you enjoy do-it-yourself projects? How about your estate planning? Can’t you just write your own will? How about online trust forms? And wouldn’t it be cheaper if you just prepared your estate planning documents and then paid a lawyer to review them for you? In this podcast episode, we talk about DIY estate planning.…

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Guardianship and Conservatorship

Guardianship and Conservatorship

Guardianship, conservatorship, power of attorney, living will, surrogate decision-maker — what does it all mean? We talk about guardianship and conservatorship. Join us as we define some of the terms and introduce you to the basics of surrogate decision-making. As always, of course, we are talking about Arizona law. Some of the terms are different…

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