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The Challenge of Anticipating the Future

Anticipating the future

Anticipating the future: that’s what estate planning lawyers try to do. We want to get our clients’ wishes down on paper. That means we have to help them imagine all sorts of possible developments. Will tax rules change before your death? Likely, yes. But in what ways? And when will you die, anyway? How about […]

State Court Ordered to Approve Special Needs Trust

State court

When an individual receiving Medicaid benefits receives a significant personal injury award, federal law permits creation of a “special needs” trust to hold the proceeds. That way, the individual can continue to receive Medicaid and other government benefits. Although every state’s Medicaid program allows such trusts, state court judges often balk at the concept. A […]

Guardianship Not Required With Power of Attorney in Place

Power of attorney helps avoid guardianship

We’ve written before about why you might want to avoid guardianship proceedings. They are expensive. More lawyers, judges and court-appointed officials are involved than most people would like to have in their lives. If you planned in advance, you probably would not choose a cumbersome, invasive and public legal proceeding. How can you avoid guardianship? […]

Failure to File Court Accounting Ends Up Being Costly

Court accounting required

VOLUME 24 NUMBER 15 Every state’s laws require court-appointed conservators (or guardians) of an estate to file a regular court accounting. Usually those filings must be filed every year (as Arizona law requires), but a few states permit them once every two years. No state lets you wait eight years between court accountings, as an […]

Probate Judge’s Unique Guardianship Orders Overturned

Unique guardianship order

AUGUST 1, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 29 At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we handle a lot of guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. We even act as guardian (of the person) and/or conservator (of the estate) in some cases — particularly when family members are unavailable or unable to agree on the best course of action. But […]

Nursing Home Bills and “the Doctrine of Necessaries”

JULY 8, 2013 VOLUME 20 NUMBER 25 Under the English common law (inherited, to a greater or lesser degree, by all the states of the U.S.), a husband was obligated to support his wife and children. Because women could not legally enter into enforceable contracts, a person who provided goods or services to a woman […]

Court Avoids Deciding Fate of Unnecessary Special Needs Trust

Court avoids deciding

MAY 13, 2013 VOLUME 20 NUMBER 19 We read an interesting appellate court case this week involving an Indiana special needs trust. The court’s resolution of the case was actually not all that interesting — it was dismissed on technical grounds. But the story was an interesting one, and involved a problem that we see […]

Will Rejected in Illinois but Approved by Indiana Courts

JANUARY 30, 2012 VOLUME 19 NUMBER 4 We are frequently surprised by how much trouble people cause for their families and heirs by not taking simple steps to properly plan for their estates. One thread that often recurs involves a fear (or perhaps disapproval) of lawyers, leading to failure to get good legal advice about […]

Challenge to Three-Year-Old Trust Reformation is Dismissed

JANUARY 9, 2012 VOLUME 19 NUMBER 2 With the increased emphasis on (and use of) living trusts for estate planning, we lawyers are seeing more and more cases in which an old trust needs modification. Perhaps the tax laws have changed since a parent or grandparent died. Maybe what once made sense is less defensible […]

Failure to Distribute Estate On Time Leads to Damages Award

JULY 5, 2011 VOLUME 18 NUMBER 24 Family members sometimes assume that an estate will be ready for distribution within days or weeks of a death. Those familiar with the probate process usually appreciate that it is more likely that distribution will be between six months to a year after death — and sometimes longer. […]

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.