Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hoffman Refused to Leave Money for Children

Seymour hoffman

According to court documents, Phillip Seymour Hoffman rejected his accountant’s suggestion that he set aside money for his three children because he did not want them to be “trust fund kids.”

In a Manhattan Surrogate Court, Hoffman desired that his $35 million fortune to go to his longtime partner and the children’s mother, Mimi O’Donnell.  According to the filing, Hoffman’s accountant says O’Donnell was treated “in the same manner as if she were a spouse.”  A court-appointed attorney believes the actor’s will should be approved by the court.

See Associated Press, Hoffman Didn’t Want ‘Trust Fund’ Kids, USA Today, July 21, 2014.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

July 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paying vs. Playing

Texas a&mTexas A&M recently paid Cedric Ogbuehi more than $50,000.  The star offensive tackle said that he would have fled to the NFL had the school not come through with the money to pay for the costly insurance premium.  Ogbeuehi said he cannot afford the insurance that would cover a drop in draft position because of injury. 

Although no NCAA bylaws were violated and the money came from a Student Assistance Fund set up by the association, the problem becomes defining the fine line that between paying for playing.  “We can argue about the word ‘paid,’ but Ogbuehi was awarded that money because he’s an athlete.  It was given in good faith and ostensibly to keep the kid in school, but it was there because he’s a highly skilled player. 

This may be a recruiting advantage available to other schools, but for now it is an advantage that A&M has gained better than anyone.  As some onlookers have pointed out, a recruit could demand insurance coverage out of the Student Assistance Fund as a condition of signing.  It then becomes a case of how the school parcels out its recruiting promises. 

See Dennis Dodd, Texas A&M Paid Star Tackle $50k to Stay in School; What Could Go Wrong? CBS Sports, July 21, 2014.

July 22, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where is Casey Kasem’s Body?

Casey KasemAs I have previously discussed, Casey Kasem’s body is yet to be buried. Kasem’s daughter was issued a restraining order that prevents Kasem’s wife from having his remains cremated, but it is unknown where his remains are and what has or will happen to them. The funeral home has declined to give any information to the attorney for Kasem’s daughter. The restraining order was issued so that an autopsy of the body could be done, but it is possible that the remains have already been cremated.

See Phuong Le & Gene Johnson, Associated Press, Lawyer: Unclear Where Casey Kasem’s Body Is, SF Gate, July 19, 2014.

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

July 21, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mickey Rooney’s Heartfelt Speech On Elder Abuse

Mickey RooneyAs I have previously discussed, Mickey Rooney, who died earlier this year, was the victim of elder abuse. He spoke publically about his experience at a Senate hearing in 2011. Part of his testimony can be seen here.

Rooney used the platform he had to talk boldly about the terrible experience he was put through, call for an end to the problem of elder abuse, and told fellow victims that they are not alone and plead for them to speak out about their elder abuse.

See Alana Karsch, A Former Movie Star and Veteran Gave a Passionate Speech About a Topic No One Wants to Discuss, Upworthy, July 2014.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 21, 2014 in Current Affairs, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Assisted Dying Bill Being Debated by House of Lords

Health LawAs I have previously discussed, the House of Lords is currently considering legislation to change assisted dying laws, which if passed would allow doctors to assist terminally ill patients to die. Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill is being carefully debated, and nearly 130 speakers shared their thoughts and stories on the topic. The debate is split by those that believe this bill is a compassionate response to individuals near death dealing with serious and painful illnesses, and those that have concerns about abuse of the practice or religious beliefs that oppose the practice.

See John Bingham & Matthew Holehouse, Assisted Dying: The Day the House of Lords Bared Its Soul, The Telegraph, July 18, 2014.

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

July 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Overturned

Gavel2

On Friday, a Federal appeals court ruled that Oklahoma must allow gay couples to wed.  A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a federal judge’s ruling striking down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban, which had been approved by more than 75 percent of voters in 2004. 

The court put its 2-1 ruling on hold pending an appeal, thus same-sex couples will be unable to marry in Oklahoma for the time being.

“We are so grateful that the 10th Circuit understands what more and more people across this country are beginning to realize—that gay and lesbian people are citizens who should enjoy the same rights as straight people under the law.”  Proponents of gay marriage instantly planned rallies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to celebrate their victory. 

Yet attorney’s for the clerk said they are considering their options, noting that changing the definition of marriage is a right belonging to Oklahoma residents, not a federal court.  “Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Oklahoma confirmed that at the ballot box when they approved a constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as a man-woman union.”    

Friday’s decision comes after the same three-judge panel ruled in June that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution.  This was the first time an appellate court determined that last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act meant states couldn’t deny gays the ability to marry.  That ruling is also on hold, as Utah’s attorney general has said he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

See Sean Murphy and Nicholas Riccardi, US Appeals Court Tosses Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban, My San Antonio, July 18, 2014.

July 19, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Casey Kasem's Body Is Yet To Be Buried

Kasem

A month after Casey Kasem’s death, his daughter is claiming that he is yet to be buried. 

Although the iconic radio personality died on June 15th, a spokesperson for his daughter Kerri Kasem says that his body remains unburied at a funeral home in Tacoma.  Casey’s second wife Jean Kasem has the rights to his body and has yet to make burial arrangements for her late husband. 

A hospital spokesman said that Jean did collect her husband’s remains, but she made no mention of what she plans to do with them.  Casey’s children are hoping to bury their father at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.

See Casey Kasem’s Body Still Not Buried, Daughter’s Rep Claims, Fox News, July 16, 2014.

July 18, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Political Commentary on the Estate Tax With a Dash of Humor

John OliverJohn Oliver addressed the politically hot topic of income inequality through his combination of news, commentary, and comedy on ‘Last Week Tonight’ on Sunday. At about minute seven of the segment he directly addressed the estate tax.

See Patrick Kevin Day, John Oliver Tackles Income Inequality on ‘Last Week Tonight’, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2014.

Special thanks to Michael Booth (Chicago Estate Planning Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 18, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Tax, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Minnesota Addresses Thefts by Court-Appointed Guardians

MinnesotaAfter the discovery of abuse by court-appointed guardians in Minnesota, the state audited 24 random accounts handled by Alternate Decision Makers, Inc. The findings uncovered problems with ten accounts ranging from missing documents to possible indications of theft. Allegations of theft by the guardians include unreasonably high fees accessed, missing property, and personal items sold off after the protected person died. The suspicious accounts discovered by auditors are being sent to judges for review and to be remedied.

See James Eli Shiffer, Conservator’s Thefts Prompted 24 State Audits, Star Tribune, July 14, 2014.

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

July 15, 2014 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Guardianship, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Church of England Supports Review of Assisted Dying Law

Church of EnglandAs I have previously discussed, the House of Lords is currently considering legislation that would change the assisted dying laws. If passed, the new law would allow doctors to assist terminally ill patients to die through the use of prescription drugs. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, sent shock waves through the community when he wrote an article for a newspaper in support of passing an assisted dying law. The church is not officially advocating the new legislation, but rather expressing support for a review of the issues surrounding the assisted dying debate through a royal commission.

See John Bingham, Church of England Calls For Review on Assisted Dying, The Telegraph, July 12, 2014.

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

July 14, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)