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Filing a Will Contest Before Death of the Signer

Will contest before death

There’s one persistent problem with will contests. Academics often refer to the “worst evidence” rule. The person who signed the will can not testify about what they wanted. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take care of a will contest, before death of the signer removes the best evidence? First, though, let us make […]

Disinherited Step-Grandson Lacks Standing to Challenge Codicil


Will challenges are far less common than most people think. One reason: few people have any basis on which to challenge a will, even if they feel aggrieved. In legal terms, most potential challengers simply lack any “standing” to contest a will. A recent Texas case illustrates the concept nicely. Lucy Lee’s will and codicils […]

Will Contest Fails, But Paternity Remains an Issue

Paternity in Alaska

Based on popular cultural references (and especially novels, television and movies), it might seem like will contests are commonplace. In fact, very few wills are contested. When a will contest is filed, it is seldom successful.The risk that someone might contest your will is very slight — but it does happen. The background story in […]

Challenge to Will Leads to Further Problems for Stepson

OCTOBER 24, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 40 We often tell clients that they should think twice (or perhaps thrice) before challenging a will. It is difficult to prevail in a will contest, but there are also other problems. The will in question might have a provision that completely disinherits anyone challenging their reduced share. There […]

Can a Copy of a Missing Will be Admitted to Probate?

AUGUST 15, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 30 You’ve signed your will. We’ve given you the original in a fancy envelope, and a copy showing your signatures. What should you do with it? For most people, most of the time, it is sufficient to just keep the original will in a convenient place at home. What […]

Notarized Will Fails for Lack of Witnesses

MAY 16, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 19 Frankly, we are surprised by the number of cases we see in which wills are improperly prepared or signed. The rules governing wills are not really that complicated, and it should be pretty straightforward to comply with them. The cases we see mostly involve people who want to […]

“No-Contest” Clause in Trust Can Be As Effective As Will Provision

JANUARY 19, 2015 VOLUME 22 NUMBER 3 When we prepare wills and/or trusts for our clients, they often ask if they should include a “no-contest” provision. Typically, they want us to add language that would penalize anyone who challenges the validity of their estate planning documents. Are such provisions effective, or even permitted? We explain […]

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 […]

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.