Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Book On Wills And Estate Administration

ArticleWills and Estate Administration by Kenneth Vercammen has been published by American Bar Association Publishing and is available in print and as an ebook. Provided below is a description of the book:

Estate planning and administration responsibilities are often a significant part of a solo or small firm lawyer’s practice, but these issues are often time-consuming and complex. Written by a veteran attorney who has focused on streamlining his firm's practice in this area, Kenneth Vercammen shares how to establish and strengthen a firm’s wills and estate practice.

Straightforward and to-the-point, Wills and Estate Administration provides step-by-step guidance that firms can use to handle all aspects of an estates practice, from initial client intake to closing the file. Topics are defined in six parts for ease of use:

  • Preparation for Wills/Estate Planning Interviews
  • Interviewing Clients
  • Additional Estate Planning Issues
  • Estate Administration
  • Guardianship of Disabled or Incompetent Parents
  • Marketing Your Wills and Estate Administration Practice

January 19, 2016 in Books - Fiction, Books - For Practitioners | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Book On Estate Planning For Same-Sex Couples

ArticleEstate Planning for Same-Sex Couples, Third Edition by Joan M. Burda has recently been published and is available through ABA Book Publishing. Provided below is a description of the book:

When the ABA released the second edition of this book in 2012, a mere six jurisdictions recognized marriage equality. What a difference a day makes…this third edition follows hard on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The court decided that “marriage is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.” What seemed an impossible pipe dream at the turn of the century is now a reality. From now on there is no “same-sex marriage” or “opposite-sex marriage”; there is only marriage.

Marriage is just part of the equation. It is the beginning not the end of the legal struggle as the LGBT community seeks full rights under the law. LGBT people still face discrimination in other areas. This new edition of Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples by award-winning author Joan M. Burda attempts to address certain struggles for equality and how these issues affect estate planning for LGBT clients. For example, not all same-sex couples get married. These blended families will continue to present challenges that must be addressed. Preparing an estate plan for LGBT clients requires a creative and comprehensive approach. The issues these clients present are unique and involve considerations not usually seen with heterosexual clients.

January 15, 2016 in Books - Fiction, Books - For Practitioners | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Special End Of Year Sale On Excellent Estate Planning Guides

ArticleThe American Bar Association is having a sale on the books of estate planning guru Seymour Goldberg until the end of the year. Mr. Goldberg is the chair of the Estate and Financial Planning Committee of the Suffolk Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs and is both a CLE and CPE instructor. In addition, he was the author of an Amicus Brief in the landmark 2014 inherited IRA opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in Clark v. Rameker. Take this opportunity to get some of the best books available on the subject at a great price! More information about his books and the special discount code can be found here.

December 5, 2015 in Books - Fiction, Books - For Practitioners | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

George Orwell Estate Involved In Copyright Dispute

George orwellThe estate of George Orwell, the late author of 1984, was recently involved in an intellectual property dispute with Café Press over the sale of T-shirts emblazoned with the number 1984.  When Café Press received notice from the Orwell Estate of a copyright violation they disabled the T-shirts from being displayed.  This incident has generated considerable debate about Orwell’s legacy and what the author would think about modern copyright laws.  George Orwell’s famous book, 1984, is expected to remain under copyright until at least 2044.  The Orwell Estate has been involved in other past copyright disputes.  In one case they succeeded in a dispute with Apple over a 1984 Super Bowl add to introduce Macintosh. 

See David Kravets, Orwell estate again rattling copyright saber over 1984 novel, Ars Technica, October 28, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention. 

October 28, 2015 in Books - Fiction, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Settlement Reached In Copyright Dispute Over 'Mr. Holmes'

Mr holmesThe estate of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle has arrived at a settlement agreement with the creators of the recent movie "Mr. Holmes."  The estate claimed that the recent film infringed on stories that were still under copyright.  The lawsuit was filed against Miramax, Roadside Attractions, and Condon in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.  The movie starring Ian McKellen depicts an elderly retired Sherlock Holmes looking back on his life and getting involved in a new case.  Benjamin Allison, an attorney for the Doyle estate, announced in September that a settlement had been reached between the estate and the makers of the film.  Most of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes works are in the public domain, but there are currently ten works published between 1923 and 1927 that remain under copyright.  

See Ted Johnson, 'Mr. Holmes' Copyright Lawsuit Settled, Variety, October 9, 2015. 



October 10, 2015 in Books - Fiction, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Unparalleled Alzheimer's Novel Applauded

Hospital care

Matthew Thomas, 39, published a great American novel about Alzheimer’s—a disease that will impact the lives and estate plans of thousands.  Thomas devoted ten years of his life to writing We Are Not Ourselves, much of that time was while he was working as a high-school English teacher.  Last year, his book was auctioned for $1 million.  The book was subsequently featured as one of the Buzz Books for 2014 at Book Expo America. 

The book tells the story of Ed Leary, a college professor in his early 50s, and his wife Eileen, a nurse, put the pieces together during Ed’s devastating disease.  The book chronicle’s Ed’s gradual demise, in addition to the emotional and financial impact it has on Eileen and Ed’s son. 

Although fiction, this is a story Thomas knows well.  He was 19 when his own father was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s.  Thomas says his father’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s was a “protracted and delayed death sentence.” 

See Deborah L. Jacobs, Debut Author Hits the Jackpot with Novel About Alzheimer’s, Forbes, Aug. 25, 2015.

August 26, 2014 in Books - Fiction, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Book Review: The Steady Running of the Hour

Steady running

Joanna Scutts has written a review on a Justin Go’s new book entitled, The Steady Running of The Hour.  Provided below is an introduction to the review:

 There is a moment late in Justin Go’s first novel in which the protagonist, reading from a book called “The Icelandic Sagas” learns that in these ancient stories, “personalities are shown through action, seldom through analysis.”

The same technique guides Go’s fiction, but it has its shortcomings for a literary novel — even one structured explicitly as a quest, complete with chapter titles like “The Bloodline” and “The Reckoning,” and a young hero fortuitously named Tristan.

Beyond his name, nothing much identifies Tristan as heroic in “The Steady Running of the Hour”: He’s a young college graduate from San Francisco with an interest in European history. Secretive London solicitors have told him that he has seven weeks to prove his biological connection to the original beneficiary of an outlandish fortune, and with barely a backward glance, he hoists his backpack to chase his grail through Europe.

Although Tristan’s story is written in the first person and the present tense, it conveys almost nothing about how he feels upon learning that he could inherit a fortune worthy of a Bond villain. His internal monologue is both bland and awkward and often betrays the author’s impatience to just get on with the action, already. When a young woman in a bar challenges Tristan to explain his attitude toward this life-changing wealth, the best he can muster is “It just makes me feel weird. . . . It’s just money. There are better things to care about.” Instead of making Tristan seem morally deep, this refusal to reflect on what the money could mean comes off as merely dense.

For the rest of the favorable review, see Joanna Scutts, In Justin Go’s ‘The Steady Running of the Hour,’ A Young Man Races to Find His Fortune, The Washington Post, May 12, 2014. 

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 13, 2014 in Books - Fiction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Madeline's Uncertain Future


As I have previously discussed, neglecting to discuss estate planning matters with your adult children can lead to problems down the line.  The Bemelmans family is one such example.

Austrian-born American writer and artist Ludwig Bemelmans died at the age of 64 with an estate valued at only $200,000.  But before his death, he ensured his wife that a little girl named Madeline would be their Social Security.

That independent Parisian schoolgirl he created has since made the family business millions, but now, due to a lack of succession planning, the author’s descendants are struggling with what to do with Madeline. 

Grandson John Bemelmans Marciano has taken over writing and illustrating the Madeline books, but his mother Barbara Bemelmans, 77, still holds the keys to the Madeline kingdom.  Barbara is the late artist’s only daughter and has yet to sell any of her father’s paintings and drawings despite the demand for Ludwig’s artwork.

Barbara and Ludwig’s grandchildren are now faced with the continuing dilemma of trying to figure out what Ludwig would have wanted for Madeline.  For more on the real-life journey of Madeline, please click the link provided below.

See Deborah L. Jacobs, Madeline and the Family Business, Forbes, Nov. 27, 2013.

November 28, 2013 in Books - Fiction, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Dead Ringer" -- New Thriller Based on Body-Snatcher Syndicates on Sale for the Holidays

Dead_RingerAmazon has chosen Dead Ringer for their Special Holiday Seasonal Promo and are selling it for just $1.99. See http://amzn.to/VxNnsz.

The following is from the press release for Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler:

While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver’s head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed by what’s staring back at him: The face of his best friend, Andy Baer.

Stunned, McCrae races back to Seattle to discover that Andy is in fact missing and may have been murdered by a gang of body snatchers who operate a legit funeral business and make a fortune by selling recovered body parts to medical researchers.

McCrae teams up with an unlikely pair—a beautiful but hardnosed female cop and a gang member whose family was victimized by the cadaver ring—to try and expose a macabre web of corruption that involves law enforcement, politicians, funeral home curators and murdered prostitutes.

Internationally renowned neurosurgeon Allen Wyler takes us deep into a nightmarish scenario, shockingly ripped from recent headlines, to deliver a horrifically plausible, page-turning thriller.

December 7, 2012 in Books - Fiction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Dead End Deal" -- Medical Thriller Based on Possible Cure for Alzheimers

Dead_EndThe following is from the press release for Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler:

World renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world.  His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions.  But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt.  Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same. 

Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter turns to his long-time colleague, corporate biotech CEO Richard Stillman, for help.  Together, they conspire to conduct a clandestine clinical trial in Seoul, Korea.  But the danger is more determined, and more lethal, than Ritter could have imagined.

 After successful surgical trials, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario: 
The trial patients have been murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, now the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin named Fiest. 

Dead End Deal is a fast paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler—who often draws from experience, actual events and hotbutton issues when writing—Dead End Deal is unmatched as a technical procedural. Its medical and scientific details can impress even the most seasoned medical practitioners. And yet, the technical expertise is seamlessly woven into a riveting plot, with enough action and surprises to engross even the most well-read thriller enthusiast.

June 26, 2012 in Books - Fiction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)