Close this search box.

If You Don’t Plan for Contingencies, the State Plans for You

Plan for contingencies

If we all had crystal balls that could predict the future, estate planning would be a whole lot easier. We don’t, it’s not — and we’re here to tell you that you need to plan for contingencies. One difficult aspect of planning is considering the various ways the future can unfold.  Perhaps the hardest part: […]

“Right of Representation” and “Per Stirpes” in Arizona

right of representation

You’ve probably seen the terms before. “Right of representation” and “per stirpes” appear frequently in wills and trusts. You probably even have a rough notion of what the terms mean. Perhaps, though, you don’t know that they have an interesting history. You might also be surprised by what the terms actually mean — at least […]

Father Disinherited From Son’s Estate For Abandonment


A child — particularly a minor child — can inherit a share of an absent parent’s estate even after abandonment by the parent. But what about the less common circumstance of a child dying young. Will abandonment by a parent prevent the parent from inheriting from the child’s estate? Brandon’s story In 1989 a child […]

Parentage, and the Late Artist (Formerly) Known as Prince


We wrote last week about the law of parentage, and how Arizona law is evolving in the modern world. Other jurisdictions, and other problems, address related issues. Surprisingly, perhaps, the probate of Prince’s estate sheds light on some of those problems. Prince’s family history As any rock fan of rock music or popular culture knows, […]

Law of Parentage Explored in Arizona Supreme Court Case


When a married woman in Arizona gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the father. The father’s parentage is subject to challenge by, for example, genetic testing — but the presumption is strong. That law is well established, and is similar to laws in most (if not all) of the other American jurisdictions. Arizona’s […]

Missing Will Discovered Three Years Later, Denied Probate

Missing will

After someone’s death, what happens when no one can find a will? Their estate usually passes according to the law of “intestate succession.” That means the state’s legislature has effectively written a will for the decedent. What, if anything, can be done about a missing will? Of course, a missing will might indicate that the […]

Ambiguous Residuary Clause in Will Causes Difficulty

Residuary Clause

Your will should accomplish at least three simple things. It should identify who will manage the estate (the “personal representative”, in Arizona). The will should identify individual items, dollar amounts or percentages that are to go to particular recipients. Finally, the will should include a “residuary clause” — a statement about who will receive the […]

What Happens When Someone Dies Intestate?


VOLUME 24 NUMBER 17 Even with regular prompting, about half of people never get around to completing even basic estate planning. If they never do get a will signed, we lawyers say that they have died “intestate”. But what does that really mean for their loved ones? Note that the information we provide here is […]

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 […]

Intestate Succession Rules Can Be Tricky to Apply

APRIL 4, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 13 March was “Write-a-Will” month (sometimes referred to as “Why a Will” month). Though we’ve never understood the difference, August will be “Make a Will” month again this and every year.  In the United Kingdom, every March and October are “Free Wills” months. Or is it April?Or is that […]

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.