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Inheritance Advice: The ‘Times’ Got It Wrong

Inheritance advice

The New York Times is wrong. In a recent “Social Q’s” column, a reader asked for inheritance advice. The response was off the mark. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll call the questioner “Reader.” And though the column didn’t reveal Reader’s gender, for easy identification, we’ll assume Reader is female.) Reader describes the circumstances: […]

Stop Helping: Why Helpers Should Leave the Room

Stop helping

When an aging person creates or changes their estate plan, children, caregivers, friends often tag along to “help.” Most of the time, an estate planning attorney will request that the helper stop helping–not participate at all. A new court decision out of New York illustrates why. Battle of the Wills In the Matter of the […]

Marriage Annulled by Court After Spouse’s Death

Marriage annulled by court

Imagine a terminally-ill person marrying a long-time companion in the final weeks of life. If he or she was incapacitated at the time, can the marriage be annulled after the new spouse’s death? The Nebraska Supreme Court thinks so. Molly Stacey’s last years Greg Meyer, then 54, moved in with Molly Stacey in 2009. The […]

Trust Protector’s Amendment Challenged By Beneficiaries

Trust Protector amendment

A recent Arizona appellate case raised a novel question. Can a trust protector’s amendment be challenged by the trust’s beneficiaries? Austin Bates and his family To understand the appellate decision — and the effect it might have on others — it helps to know the family involved. From the reported decision and a quick check […]

Trust Benefiting Lawyer Creates Undue Influence Presumption

Undue Influence

VOLUME 24 NUMBER 21 To be valid, a will or trust must reflect the intentions of a competent signer. If the signer is deemed to have been subject to the undue influence of someone else, the document can be invalidated. Even documents carefully prepared by lawyers sometimes get successfully challenged. When the lawyer is a […]

Undue Influence and Limited Capacity Do Not Necessarily Justify Conservatorship

Capacity, competency and injury

OCTOBER 31, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 41 In our legal practice, we frequently deal with individuals with limited capacity. Sometimes we speak of them being “incapacitated” or “incompetent.” Sometimes they are “disabled,” or qualify as “vulnerable adults,” or are subject to “undue influence.” But each of those terms means something specific, and some variations even […]

Even Lawyers Can Have Trouble Recognizing Undue Influence

Undue influence

OCTOBER 20, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 38 We often say that experienced lawyers can be pretty good at judging the competence of a client to make a will, sign a power of attorney or execute other documents. We (collectively) probably make better witnesses on those questions than even the doctors and medical staff attending to […]

DIY Wills — Another Example Showing Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

OCTOBER 6, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 36 We occasionally relate stories about people who have prepared their own wills without the help of competent professional advisers (like, for a primary example, a qualified attorney). When we do, we intend to make several points: The cost of getting a lawyer to prepare your will (and trust, […]

Will Contests Must Be Based on Actual Evidence

APRIL 28, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 16 We have written before about the fact that, despite popular notions, will contests are actually quite rare. We have explained to our readers that mounting a will contest can be an expensive proposition, and that the likelihood of success is usually slight. Those observations remain true today, but […]

Pondering Your Power of Attorney

SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 VOLUME 20 NUMBER 35 Do you have a power of attorney? If so, do you know how it works? Is a “springing” power of attorney the best way for you to keep authority over your health care and financial decisions until a transition is needed? Many people have powers of attorney but […]

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.