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Naomi Judd Probably Didn’t Disinherit Ashley & Wynonna

Celebrity estates

Yet another celeb estate is making headlines. This past week, news outlets shared painful news: Naomi Judd left her famous daughters Ashley and Wynonna out of her will. The problem is, nothing in the reporting suggests that’s the case. Famous singer Naomi, who died by suicide in April, apparently did have an estate plan that […]

June Roundup: Estates, Lawsuits, and More

June roundup

If you are a regular reader, you know that at the end of the month, we like to survey the elder law landscape and share interesting happenings. For the June roundup, we focus on estates involved in litigation, touch on potential estate tax changes, and revisit ethical wills. Clients, especially those with trusts, wonder why […]

Hopeful Planning Fails in Two Special Needs Cases

Hopeful planning

Hopeful planning: when your estate plan is based around your hope that everything will turn out fine. We see it a lot. Often it works. Too often it does not. Two cases we read last week illustrate how hopeful planning can go wrong when facts change after the planner’s death. Both happened to be California […]

Guardianship Judge May Deviate from Divorce Court Custody Order

Divorce court custody order

In a divorce proceeding, the court determines who should have custody (and decision-making authority) over any minor children. When a child subject to such an order reaches majority, the court order usually expires. But when the now-adult child has a disability, either or both parents may seek appointment as guardian. Does the divorce court custody […]

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 […]

Attorney-Client Privilege Survives Client’s Death, But….

Attorney-Client Privilege

Most people have at least a vague understanding of the attorney-client privilege. In most circumstances, what you say to your lawyer is private. Your communications are confidential, and your lawyer may not share them. What happens after you die? Even after your death, your lawyer may not share your communications. But that does lead to […]

Successor Trustee Accepted Role in Timely Fashion

successor trustee

It’s a problem we see increasingly often. A trust will name a trustee, and even a successor trustee. What’s the problem? The successor trustee is not available, or fails to act, or is otherwise no longer the right choice. How does a new trustee take over? It is sometimes difficult to figure out when the new […]

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 […]

Contestants Seek Declaratory Judgment on No-Contest Clause

Declaratory judgment

It is hardly uncommon for family members to disagree about the validity or meaning of a will. Even when they disagree, though, few people actually go to the trouble and expense to file a formal contest. A recent will contest case in Georgia provided a different wrinkle that invites further explanation: the will contests filed […]

Common Law Marriage May Be Valid in Another State

Common law marriage

We have written several times about common law marriage. It is a topic that generates lots of confusion and discussion. Despite the fact that most states do not recognize common law marriages, the problems continue to crop up. That happens even in the states that do not authorize their own citizens to enter into such […]

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.