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DIY Estate Plans: Shortcuts That Shortchange

DIY Estate Plans

Can you write your own Will? Sure, Arizona law (like laws in many other states) allows you to write your wishes in your own handwriting and sign it. Such a DIY estate plan could be perfectly valid. You also can find all kinds of forms online not only for estate plans but for other legal […]

Aretha Franklin’s Wills, Petty Discord & Emma the Dog

Aretha Franklin

Sometimes, you can develop a fondness for tasks that used to seem like a chore.  That’s me and the brief.  Having spent more than a decade in newspaper journalism, I compiled plenty of news briefs, collections of news of the day each item boiled down to a paragraph or two.  These days, news bits are […]

Will Deletion Attempt Was Ineffective

Will deletion

We see it all the time. We ask our clients not to write on their wills or trusts. This weekly newsletter regularly reports stories about how it does not work. Nonetheless, people keep trying to make a will deletion or modification by scribbling on the will itself. Please remember, folks: when the issue becomes important, […]

Arizona Adopts Electronic Will Law Effective Next Year

Electronic will

Perhaps you are waiting to sign your will. You might be thinking that you should be able to sign an electronic will. Maybe you want to hold off until then. Well, you will only have another year to wait. What is an electronic will? So what is the big deal, anyway? Can’t you sign your […]

Please Don’t Handwrite Changes On Your Will

holographic codicil

Arizona law allows you to sign a “holographic” will (or a holographic codicil). That means you can handwrite your own will and sign it. Such a will or codicil does not need the two witnesses usually required. So that means you can easily write — or change — your will yourself. Right? Please do not […]

The Difference Between an Heir and a Beneficiary

heir and beneficiary

APRIL 18, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 15 Your estate is simple, your family relationships clear, your intentions easy to understand. Why can’t you just write your own will, and save the legal fees? Because of Esther Hill, that’s why. Actually, that’s not her real name — we change the names of most of the people […]

Woman’s Holographic Will Effective Despite State Law

Holographic will

JANUARY 18, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 3 It might seem odd that interstate problems in probate proceedings arise. After all, we have had 50 states and a handful of other jurisdictions gathered together in the United States for a half-century, and nearly that many for most of the two centuries before that. Shouldn’t differences in […]

Do-It-Yourself Will May Not Save Costs After All


APRIL 7, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 13 From time to time we devote our weekly newsletter to a story about estate planning gone wrong — often (but not always) because of an individual’s decision to forego the help of a lawyer in drafting a will or trust. Lawyers also make mistakes, of course, but they […]

The iWill — Might It Be the Future of Probate and Estate Planning?

iWill admitted in Queensland probate court

FEBRUARY 24, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 8 News reached us this month of a November, 2013, probate court order in Australia admitting an unusual will to probate, and it made us wonder if we should anticipate a digital future for estate planning. An Australian probate decision would have to be pretty unusual to get noticed […]

Can You Change Your Will By Writing On It?

Change your will

NOVEMBER 18, 2013 VOLUME 20 NUMBER 44 So you have a will, and you want to make some changes. Can you just write in the new provisions? How about if you sign somewhere on the document?Can it be a copy of your will, or does it have to be on the original to be effective? […]

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.