Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Robin Williams Estate Dispute An Example Of Why Careful Estate Planning Is Important

Robin williamsI have previously discussed the claim by Robin William's widow Susan Schneider Williams that her husband suffered from Lewy body dementia. This type of dementia is a brain disease that can cause hallucinations and severe anxiety. The bitter estate feud that took place after the comedians death is a reminder of why married couples need to be prepared for the sudden and unexpected passing of a spouse. This article suggests resources that people can go to for estate planning assistance. It is also extremely important to speak with an estate planning professional to avoid the type of bitter estate disputes that are growing increasingly common.

See Kyle E. Krull, More on the Robin Williams Estate, The Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull P.A., November 24, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Major Art Gallery Sued Over Piece Alleged To Be Looted During WWII

ArticlePictureThe estate of a Jewish art dealer has sued the Helly Nahmad Gallery over the ownership of a painting that is alleged to have been looted from a Paris gallery by the Nazis in the 1940's. The work, "Seated Man With a Cane," by Amedeo Modigliani is worth an estimated $25 million and has been pursued since 1948 by the original owner and his estate. However, the case is complicated by the fact the entity being sued is not the true owner although estate claims it is a shell corporations that controls the current owner the International Art Center. This case is just the latest in the ongoing battle to return to the rightful owners artwork and other valuables looted in WWII. No trial date has yet been set.

See Doreen Carvajal, Estate Sues Nahmad Gallery Network for Modigliani Portrait, New York Times, November 24, 2015.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Oversight Proposed For Nevada Guardianship Cases

GavelThe Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court has proposed changes to the state guardianship system that would create a monitoring board answerable to the states highest court. This proposal is in response to a series of newspaper articles that exposed a lack of oversight for many cases which resulted in financial abuse of wards by guardians. Another component of the proposed changes would require legal representation for every guardianship case although skeptics have question the willingness of local governments to cover the cost. Public hearings are ongoing on the subject and it will likely be the new year before final recommendations are issued.

See Colton Lochhead, NEVADA'S TOP JUDGE WANTS PERMANENT OVERSIGHT OF GUARDIANSHIP SYSTEM, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 23, 2015.


November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Questions Over Benson Participation Hover Over Pending Mediation

BensonQuestions hang over the upcoming mediation between Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his estranged daughter Renee concerning Benson's personal participation. Benson's lawyer has stated that they have the right to send a representative instead of personal participation while still remaining in compliance with the court ordered mediation. In Texas, mediation has a good faith standard that requires a willingness to listen to the other side's offers and arguments rather than actual face to face resolution. There has not yet been confirmation that Benson will not attend although indications are that he will send Saints president Dennis Lauscha in his stead.

See Katherine Sayre, Will Tom Benson, estranged daughter come face to face in mediation?, Nola.com, November 24, 2015.

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

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lawsuit By Former Girlfriend Alleges That Sumner Redstone Is Unable To Make Decisions

Sumner redstoneA former girlfriend of billionaire Sumner Redstone has filed a lawsuit alleging that the 92-year-old media mogul is mentally impaired and unable to make decisions. The lawsuit questions his ability to continue to oversee Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., which are the two media companies that Mr. Redstone controls. An attorney for Sumner Redstone has called the lawsuit “meritless” and described it as an “invasion of privacy.” Mr. Redstone is currently estimated to be worth $5.5 billion and much of his wealth is tied up in Viacom and CBS stock. Manuela Herzer was in charge of Redstone's advance healthcare directive until his decision in October to expel her from his home and life. A preliminary hearing on the lawsuit was held Wednesday morning and the sitting judge has set a scheduling conference to be held on Monday.

See Meg James, Billionaire Sumner Redstone unable to make decisions, says lawsuit by ex-girlfriend, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2015.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Guardianship, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Provides Guidance On ABLE Accounts

ABLEThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently issued Notice 2015-81 that provides interim guidance which clarifies the criteria for establishing qualified Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. Until final regulations are issued taxpayers and states may use the interim guidance when implementing qualified ABLE account programs. The purpose of an ABLE account is to provide a person with a disability the ability to accumulate assets tax-free without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The proposed regulations will implement a number of safeguards that commentators have noted might impose administrative cost burdens on the states that are administering ABLE programs. There is also mention of new recording requirements for contributors. This article discusses some of the policy changes in more specific detail.

See Bernard A. Krooks and Amy O'Hara, IRS Issues Guidance to Simplify ABLE Accounts, Wealth Management, November 25, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nevada Moves To Regulate Dubious Treatment Following Death Of Woman

ColdNevada has moved to regulate the use of cryotherapy following the death of a woman from asphyxiation after using the treatment unsupervised. Cryotherapy involves a person being exposed to ultra cold temperatures for a few minutes at a time which, purportedly, promotes tissue regeneration and other health benefits. These claims have caused the treatment to be popular with celebrities and pro athletes leading to explosive growth in the number of facilities that offer it. However, a growing chorus of critics have spoken up including doctors who point out there is little evidence to support any of the beneficial claims. In addition, the treatment can easily lead to injury or, as in this case, death if not administered properly due to the use of liquid nitrogen. As of now, the new regulation represents guidelines rather than rules as no penalties exist for enforcement; but authorities have indicated no other regulatory action will be taken if providers voluntarily comply.

See, After Death, Nevada Issues Cryotherapy Guidelines, New York Times, November 21, 2015.

Special thanks to Jerry Cooper for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Court Orders Adult Son To Pay For Mother's Care-giving Expenses Despite Claims Of Childhood Abuse

Business_expenseA Pennsylvania Appeals Court has held that under the State's filial responsibility law an adult son is obligated to pay for his mother's health care expenses even though he claimed that he had an abusive childhood. There are a handful of States that have filial responsibility laws that obligate adult children to care for indigent parents. The Pennsylvania Court held in Eori v. Eori that there was no evidence Joshua Ryan was abandoned by his mother for a 10-year period. The full text of the Pennsylvania Appeals Court decision can be read here.

See Son Must Pay for Mother's Care Under Filial Responsibility Law Despite Abusive Childhood, Elder Law Answers, November 24, 2015.

November 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Busch Brothers Involved In Legal Fight Over Grant’s Farm

Busch brothersBilly and Adolphus Busch are currently involved in a legal dispute with four other siblings over the fate of Grant’s Farm. The brothers would like the farm to stay in the family while the other siblings want it to be sold to the Saint Louis Zoo, all six of the siblings currently share ownership of the property. The Zoo would like to expand to Grant’s Farm so that it can do more work around endangered species and expand its educational program. Money that would be used to purchase the farm would come from a $30 million donation from ABInBev. The Busch brothers have made a counter offer to their siblings to buy the property, and they would like to build a brewery for their Kraftig beer on the farm. A ruling on this dispute is expected to be delivered by Thanksgiving.

See Casey Nolan, Two Busch brothers prepare for legal battle about Grant’s Farm, KSDK, November 23, 2015.

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

November 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

Transitioning Into Retirement Rather Than A Sudden Jump Into The Deep End

Old AgeWhen workers gets close to retirement, they often desire to be able to go right into retirement and leave work completely. But many people find that full on retirement might not be as fulfilling as they thought and instead chose to take a shallower path into retirement with a gradual reduction in work time. This option is particularly compelling for many professionals that have a greater ability to arrange shorter working weeks although anyone can take a similar path as long as they are self employed or have cooperative management. The greatest advantage to this strategy is that it allows a person to figure out how they will spend their newfound leisure slowly rather than figure out what to do while facing the overwhelming shift between extremes. Just keep in mind that, with a little bit of planing, almost anyone can accomplish a phased in retirement.

See Mitch Anthony, Phasing In To Retirement, Financial Advisor, November 22, 2015.

November 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)