Close this search box.


Most people think “wills” when they consider estate planning. A will expresses a person’s wishes for how their property will be distributed after death. Wills are governed by the different laws of each state, though there are broad similarities across most states.

In Arizona, anyone 18 or older who is of sound mind can create a will. A will is usually signed by the creator (called a “testator”) and two witnesses, and they are often notarized.

Have questions about Wills?

Give us a call, we are happy to discuss your options.

What If There's No Will?

If there is no will (or other estate plan), property that is not distributed by beneficiary designation will be distributed according to default laws, called “intestate” statutes. Many people assume that with no will property goes to the state, but that is incorrect. Instead, it goes to family members in the way lawmakers assume most people would want. In Arizona, that’s generally to your spouse and children. If you have no surviving spouse or descendants, that may mean parents or their descendants (siblings, nieces, nephews) or more remote relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) receive your property. If you don’t want your property to be distributed based on the default laws, you should have an estate plan.

Even if you intend to follow state law for who gets what, there are other reasons to create a will. Wills also nominate the person who will administer your estate (called a “Personal Representative” in Arizona), waive bond for them, name guardians for minors or incapacitated persons, and even memorialize wishes for organ donation and burial. One key decision is the selection of a Personal Representative; many people name family members, but if that is not appropriate or possible, a private fiduciary (like Fleming & Curti) can be an alternative.

Does a Will Help Avoid Probate?

Another common misconception about wills is that having one helps avoid probate. It doesn’t. Probate is actually the court process that determines the validity of a will. For a few estates, a probate proceeding may be beneficial. It provides rules to follow, structure and deadlines, and some oversight if the administration goes astray. The many rules include mandatory notice to creditors, which provides finality for payment of debts and obligations.

Some people believe that if you have a trust, you don’t need a will. Even estate plans that center on a trust include a will. The “pourover” will provides that any assets left out of the trust (or removed from the trust’s name over time) are to be transferred into the trust and distributed according to its provisions.

Many clients grapple with whether a will or trust plan is best for them. That decision is personal and depends on a number of factors. An attorney can explore the options and help you decide what is best for you. We’d be happy to help with that.

I need help with:

How we're different

There are so many different options to consider when either preparing for a transfer of power or executing a financial plan, we’re here to make that process as easy to understand as possible. Come by our office for a cup of coffee, meet our dogs and lets chat about what we can do for you and your family.
Fleming & Curti, PLC was very helpful as both legal counsel for our elderly Aunt’s Trust and as Health Care Power of Attorney. Both Legal Counsel and Case Worker’s were transparent and responsive to family inquiries.

- Chris T


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to get our takes on some of the situations families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities find themselves in. These posts help guide you in the decision-making process and point out helpful tips and nuances to take advantage of. Enter your email below to have our entries sent directly to your inbox!

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.