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Good Beneficiaries Keep Tabs on the Trustee

We hate to say it, but beneficiaries should never blindly trust their trustees. Good beneficiaries pay attention to the process. The trustee-beneficiary relationship works properly only if beneficiaries are engaged and looking out for themselves. Yes, the trustee legally owes duties to the beneficiaries a whole bunch of ways. But it’s the beneficiaries who must […]

Trustee’s Rules: It’s a Tough Job, and You Don’t Have to Do It

Trustee's rules

Let’s say you’ve discovered that a recently deceased loved one named you successor trustee. We have a message for you: You are not a dictator, you are not royalty, you do not have a license to torment the relatives who are beneficiaries, and you don’t have to accept. You will be governed by some trustee’s […]

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 […]

Surcharge Order Entered Against SNT Trustee

Surcharge order

It can be hard for the trustee of a special needs trust to figure out what expenditures are permitted. The trust document might give some direction. Medicaid and Social Security eligibility workers will review the actual expenditures. And often, a court is looking over the trustee, as well. The court is the only one, though, […]

North Carolina Court Reviews Special Needs Trust’s Purpose

Special needs trust's purpose

When someone creates a trust — any trust — they have some purpose or goal. What is a special needs trust’s purpose? That seemingly simple question is the focus of a recent North Carolina case. Indeed, four different levels of that state’s courts seem to have trouble coming up with a straightforward answer. The guardianship […]

Court Rejects Trustee Removal Petition in Family Dispute

Trustee removal

When our clients sign living trusts, they usually are thinking about how to simplify legal proceedings. Trusts normally are not subject to court supervision, which helps save court costs and fees. Without court oversight, though, the trustee of a trust can sometimes get crosswise with the beneficiaries. When things reach too difficult of an impasse, […]

Surcharge Against Trustee for Benefiting Self

Surcharge against trustee

VOLUME 24 NUMBER 13 We see problems of trustees misbehaving all too often. Frequently those misbehaviors start from small decisions and are magnified over time. A trustee can be “surcharged” for actions benefiting the trustee at the expense of the trust. That can mean penalties as serious as forfeiture of all rights to receive benefits […]

Why We Do What We Do

Why we do what we do

JANUARY 9, 2017 VOLUME 24 NUMBER 2 At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we represent seniors, people with disabilities and the family members who work with and support them. We also frequently act as trustee, agent, conservator or guardian for that population. It’s hard to capsulize exactly what we do, but if you ask any of […]

Trustee Has Duty to Monitor His Lawyer’s Behavior

Trustee's duties

AUGUST 29, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 32 Are you a trustee, or named as successor trustee for a family member or friend? We regularly advise people in your circumstance that they should get good legal advice. Once you’ve done that, however, you are not absolved from any liability if things go wrong. A trustee is […]

Things to Consider When You’re Named as Successor Trustee

NOVEMBER 2, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 40 When a family member dies, you will need to address a number of items. One that might come up: handling the revocable living trust they created. If you are named as successor trustee you will have a number of obligations you need to discharge. You might need help […]

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.