Close this search box.

Operation of Joint Tenancy Defeats Creditor’s Claim

Operation of Joint Tenancy

Most people understand the concept of joint tenancy ownership. But the operation of joint tenancy in specific facts may be counterintuitive. Last week we read an Illinois case that pointed out that joint tenancy is not just joint ownership of property. The life of a joint tenant Victor Barcroft lived in Lake County, Illinois, where […]

A Probate Potpourri

Probate potpourri

This week we looked for cases (and stories) illustrating important principles from probate court. We found a surprising batch of cases, and wanted to share them all. Hence this probate potpourri. We have four cases (from California, Louisiana, Maine, and New York) to share with you. California: “right of survivorship” may not mean what it […]

Would Arizona Courts Recognize Your “Digital Will”?

Digital will

There’s a good chance you have used an electronic signature lately. Beyond credit card slips and package receipts, even real estate contracts are digital these days. Can you sign your estate planning documents electronically? Would a “digital will” be valid in Arizona right now? What is a digital will? Before deciding whether a digital will […]

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 […]

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 […]

Beneficiary Designations May be Key to Probate Avoidance

Probate Avoidance

Probate avoidance is often a key goal for our estate planning clients. Sometimes that is best addressed by establishing a living trust. In other cases it might be just as efficient to focus on beneficiary designations. In fact, even when a living trust is involved, beneficiary designations help meet the purposes of the trust. At […]

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 […]

What “Elder Law” Means to Us at Fleming & Curti, PLC

Elder Law

VOLUME 24 NUMBER 11 At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we practice elder law. But what does that term mean? Our practice is focused on typical legal problems faced by older individuals. We also regularly work in the field of special needs planning for individuals with disabilities. Because the people coming to see us are often […]

Privacy Concerns Loom Large in Probate Court

Privacy concerns loom large in probate court

JANUARY 16, 2017 VOLUME 24 NUMBER 3 Things change. This is our twenty-fourth year of publishing Elder Law Issues, and one thing we frankly didn’t think much about a quarter-century ago was privacy. Today it’s a big concern, and central to a lot of our thinking. When Fleming & Curti, PLC, first formed in 1994, […]

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.