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Garn-St Germain and Your Estate Planning

Garn-St Germain

Last week in this space we wrote about Arizona’s beneficiary deed option. The Arizona law allows you to set up an automatic transfer on death for real estate. No probate, no complications. There are things to look out for, of course, but it can work for many people. One thing you should know about: Garn-St […]

Automatic Transfer on Death: Arizona’s Beneficiary Deed

Automatic transfer on death

You know that you can name a beneficiary on your life insurance account, your bank and other financial accounts — even your car. Wouldn’t it be great if you could create an automatic transfer on death for your home? Oh, wait — in Arizona, at least, you can. Arizona’s “beneficiary deed” We’ve written about the […]

A Key Part of Your Estate Plan: The Beneficiary Designation

Beneficiary designation

After you have signed your estate planning documents, you still have more work to do. Where will you keep original documents? Who will get copies? But here’s a topic that too often gets overlooked: the beneficiary designation. What is at issue Perhaps your will or trust directs that a particular bank account is to be […]

We Are Creeping Up On a Quarter Century Here

Twenty-three years

JANUARY 4, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 1 Note the “Volume” number above. Is it even possible that we’ve been doing this for 23 years? In that time, a number of topics have been perennially popular. We see a lot of internet traffic, and get a lot of questions or comments, when we write about: EINs […]

Quit Claim Deed Was a Mistake, Says Mother

Quit claim deed

OCTOBER 26, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 39 We’ve made the key points before: don’t sign your home over to your children while you’re still alive, and be very careful about doing your own estate planning without an attorney’s help. This week we’re going to add a couple of other points: do not rely on non-lawyer […]

Trust-Owned Property Is Not Proper Subject of Arizona Beneficiary Deed

JUNE 1, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 20 Arizona is one of about a dozen states permitting “beneficiary” deeds. Some states have the same concept but use a different term, like the inelegant “revocable transfer on death” deeds. The basic idea: you can sign a deed to your real property which acts like a beneficiary designation […]

Avoiding Probate — A Good Idea, But Not Always Effective

AUGUST 25, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 30 Some people really don’t like city traffic, and will go out of their way to get on the freeway whenever possible. Of course, that approach can backfire — freeway traffic is sometimes snarled, and sometimes in unpredictable ways (and at unpredictable times). Avoidance of surface traffic can be […]

I Just Want to Put My Daughter’s Name On My Deed

NOVEMBER 5, 2012 VOLUME 19 NUMBER 40 We hear that request all the time. “I want to make it easy for her when I die — just put my daughter’s name on the deed,” client after client insists. When we resist, they think we are acting too much like lawyers. There are no statistics out […]

How To Avoid Probate — And What Doesn’t

APRIL 23, 2012 VOLUME 19 NUMBER 16 Let us try to demystify probate avoidance for a moment. Note that for the purposes of this description, we are not going to argue with you about whether avoidance of probate is good, bad, desirable or a foolish goal — we start here with the assumption that probate […]

Joint Tenancy Does Not Always Mean Equal Ownership

NOVEMBER 8, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 35 Elder law attorneys often see some version of the same story. Parents put child’s name on the deed to their home “just in case.” Dispute between parents and child breaks out when child asserts ownership interest. Sometimes litigation ensues. Child claims that joint ownership of the home means […]

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.