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Judicial Immunity Does Not Protect GAL or Attorney

judicial immunity

Judicial immunity protects judges and court personnel from being sued by unhappy litigants. Does that protection extend to people appointed by the judge under court rules? Sometimes, but not in every instance. Steve Gibson’s murder In 2013,Steve Gibson was brutally murdered in his Peoria, Arizona, home. Police soon determined that Gibson’s wife, son, and daughter […]

Due Process Required in Guardianship Proceeding

Due process

Probate courts have broad discretion about how to handle the cases they consider. Especially when it comes to guardianship and conservatorship, the probate judge usually has considerable latitude about how to proceed. It is essential, however, that the probate judge recognize that he or she must give the litigants their due process — the rules […]

Due Process in Guardianship Proceeding

Due process in Texas

It’s easy to observe that the subject of a guardianship (or conservatorship) petition has a right to “due process” during the court process. But what does that mean? Does it include anything a judge orders? Does it require a court hearing? How will you know if you have been afforded due process before a guardianship […]

Appointment of “Guardian Ad Litem” Terminated by Court

An Arizona guardianship and conservatorship case involving a Disney heir seems to have stumbled to a conclusion. It took six hotly contentious years and (reportedly) millions of dollars in legal fees. The case involves interesting legal issues and intense family drama. One side issue: the appointment of a “guardian ad litem”. What is a guardian […]

Irrevocable Trust Might Still be Terminated by Beneficiary

Irrevocable trust

Might an irrevocable trust become revocable? That was the question faced by a South Dakota probate judge and, more recently, the state’s Supreme Court. It turns out that the trust’s beneficiary may be able to insist on termination of an irrevocable trust. A South Dakota story Mary Novotny, a widow living near the Nebraska border, […]

Transfer of Guardianship to New State Should Be Easy

DECEMBER 9, 2013 VOLUME 20 NUMBER 46 We have written before about transferring a guardianship or conservatorship to Arizona, or out of Arizona, when the subject of the proceeding moves to another state. In fact, Arizona has joined a number of other states (that number, incidentally, currently stands at 37 states, plus the District of […]

Appointment of “Next Friend” In Divorce Reversed on Appeal

DECEMBER 8, 2003 VOLUME 11, NUMBER 23 It is a common problem facing lawyers and litigants. What can be done if one of the parties to a lawsuit is a minor, or an incapacitated adult? Who makes decisions about the litigation if one party lacks legal capacity to handle their own financial and personal decisions? […]

Juvenile Court Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem Reversed

DECEMBER 23, 2002 VOLUME 10, NUMBER 25 When someone appearing in a court proceeding is unable to make decisions for himself or herself, the court may sometimes appoint a guardian ad litem. Lawyers usually shorten the appointee’s title to GAL. The need for a GAL and the GAL’s proper role have been topics of controversy […]

Guardian Ad Litem Appointed For Incapacitated Litigant

MAY 13, 2002 VOLUME 9, NUMBER 46 Ralph Blakely, Jr., signed himself in to a mental health treatment facility for the first time in 1972. Despite treatment he received from time to time over the next quarter century, he continued to suffer from delusions, hallucinations and impaired memory. Mr. Blakely married in 1973. He and […]

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.