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Dead Celebs: Why Fight Over Who’s Executor?

It sure seems like families of dead celebrities fight a lot. And the battles are sometimes over not a lot. Like who should administer the dead celebs’ estate. Take rapper Takeoff and actress Anne Heche (who we’ve written about once or twice already).

Surety Bond Protects Estate, not Fiduciary

Surety bond

Most people are unfamiliar with the term “surety bond”, and may never have run across the concept. When a court appoints someone to manage another person’s money, a surety bond is often involved. Different kinds of fiduciaries Depending on the context, a court might appoint a conservator to handle the estate of someone who is […]

Acting as Fiduciary Can Be Hard, Even Dangerous, Work

Acting as fiduciary

When you think about planning your estate, you probably focus on who will receive what share of your property. You might not focus as clearly on choosing your personal representative or trustee. Consider your choices carefully: acting as fiduciary is not so much an honor as it is a chore. What is a fiduciary? Lawyers […]

Personal Liability for Acting as Personal Representative

Personal Liability

When you agree to act as personal representative of a decedent’s estate, do you take on any potential personal liability? Generally not, but you should make sure everyone knows that you are acting as a fiduciary. A recent Arizona case illustrates the risk if you do not. Estate’s property is sold When Gary Barnes (not […]

Common-Law Marriage, Divorce and Probate, All In One Case

Common law marriage

DECEMBER 19, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 47 Here’s a question we hear frequently: how long does a couple have to live together in order to be considered married? The answer in Arizona: until the wedding ceremony. In other words, Arizona does not recognize “common-law” marriages. That strong, direct statement, however, masks a more complicated answer. […]

Trustee Not Personally Liable for Trust Business

JUNE 23, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 23 It’s a small point, but important — and the Arizona Court of Appeals reiterated it in a decision released last week. So it seems to us that it would be appropriate to call attention to this simple rule: generally speaking, a trustee is not personally liable for her […]

Definitions For Common Estate Planning Terms

FEBRUARY 3, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 5 Judging from the questions we field online and from clients, there is a lot of confusion about some of the basic terms commonly used in estate planning. We thought maybe we could do a service (and make our own explanations a little easier) by collecting some of the […]

Some Advice About Selecting Fiduciaries For Your Estate Plan

APRIL 20, 2009  VOLUME 16, NUMBER 37 When it comes time to complete estate planning, our clients usually have clear ideas about who should receive their property, what health care decisions they would want made — even how they feel about cremation, burial, organ donation and most of the other issues that must be addressed. […]

Beneficiary Form in Substantial Compliance With 401(k) Rules

NOVEMBER 6, 2006  VOLUME 14, NUMBER 19 James Marier was married to his wife Kathleen for twelve years, until the couple divorced. As often happens, Mr. Marier continued to maintain a good relationship with his step-daughter, Tracy Marks. Her children called Mr. Marier “Grandpa Jim,” and he continued to spend holidays with his ex-wife, his […]

Probate Fee Dispute Leads to Additional Attorney’s Fees

APRIL 12, 2004 VOLUME 11, NUMBER 41 Kathryn Gordon’s will named her sister, Nancy Molet, to handle her estate. Based on that will Ms. Molet was appointed as personal representative. Like most individuals in such circumstances, Ms. Molet hired an attorney to help her get through the probate process. Eventually Phoenix attorney Harvey Finks billed […]

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.