Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Spousal Impoverishment Figures Are Set To Stay The Same For 2016

MedicareIn 2016 spousal impoverishment and home equity limit figures are not going to be changed from their 2015 levels according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The reason for not changing these figures is because the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) has not increased. The CMS decision means that the community spouse resource allowance, maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance, the income cap, and Medicaid's home equity limits will all remain unchanged. This article provides links to more information about the 2016 policies.  People are going to need to update their budgets and estate plans to factor in the financial impact of the CMS announcement.

See CMS Confirms That Spousal Impoverishment Figures Will Remain the Same for 2016, Elder Law Answers, November 21, 2015.

November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Rules 18 Year Old Daughter Of Slain Man Can Oversee Estate

Pen and PaperThe daughter of a man slain by a University of Cincinnati police officer has been appointed overseer of her father's estate on her own behalf and that of her 10 siblings. She was challenged for the appointment by her grandmother and grandfather although the grandmother withdrew her application before the hearing. The judge found the daughter to be capable of managing the estate which follows Ohio law which favors children for estate management for single adults. As a result, negotiations with the university over the killing, which prompted enormous national media coverage, can begin and is expected to result in a huge settlement. For additional coverage, check out my colleague's Jay Brinker's blog post here for some great insights into the case.

See Kevin Grasha, Settlement talks to begin in DuBose case, Cincinnati.com, November 19, 2015.

Special thanks to Jay Brinker for bringing this article to my attention.

November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Insurance Agent Ordered To Pay Restitution Over Retirement Scam

GavelAn insurance agent in Texas has been ordered to disgorge his profits and provide restitution for getting local elderly residents to invest in a multi-million dollar scam. The agent was accused of using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and cover the payments to earlier investors which essentially created a ponzi scheme. The agent is due to pay $733,000 to 36 investors to settle the charges brought by the SEC in a US District Court.

See Karen Demasters, Elderly Cheated Out Of $4.6 Million In Retirement Money, SEC Says, Financial Advisor, November 11, 2015.

November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Rules Against California Woman Over Use Of Frozen Embryos

GeneticsA California court has ordered the destruction of embryos created for a woman with her then husbands sperm when she was facing loss of fertility due to chemo therapy. However, the embryos became the center of controversy when the woman divorced and her ex-husband requested the embryos be destroyed under the agreement the couple signed concerning their use after a seperation. The court stated that the consent form was valid and, as a result, there was nothing that could be done to allow the use of the embryos even though they were the women's last chance to procreate. In recent years, several cases along these lines have been decided with most of them reaching a similar conclusion. In the event a client is considering the preservation of fertilized eggs, make sure they understand the consequences divorce may have on the use of the embryos and check to see if they want a clause to allow for post separation use.

See Azeen Ghorayshi, A Judge Just Ruled That This Woman’s Frozen Embryos Must Be “Thawed And Discarded”, Buzzfeed, November 21, 2015.


November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Non-Probate Assets, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

State Department Might Start Revoking Passports For Unpaid Taxes

PassportThere is a proposal in the new highway-funding bill that congress is set to pass which would give the State Department the power to revoke the passports of Americans that owe the IRS more than $50,000 in back taxes. This provision would apply to Americans who have already had a levy or lien filed against them by the IRS and would probably not impact those that have already arranged a payment plan or are legally disputing a tax case. Under the proposal the State Department would still be able to issue a passport for a “humanitarian” emergency. “Critics of the measure claim there will be no judicial review and no due process if the passport revocation rule retains its current form.” The bill is currently before a conference committee and is expected to be passed in early December.

See State Department Could Soon Take Your Passport Away For Owing IRS Taxes, HNGN, November 21, 2015.

November 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Is Affluenza And How It Can Be Countered

BrainAffluenza is a recent mental health phenomena that is supposed to occur among those whose wealth and privilege creates psychological flaws that have a negative effect on their ability to function normally. In one famous case, the defense managed to convince a judge to spare a teenager from prison after a deadly car accident based on affluenza making him unable to understand the consequences of his actions. However, affluenza can be countered through actions such as closer family bonding in order to encourage a sense of love that will keep a child from developing isolationist tendencies. Encouraging family members to participate in activities that allow them to develop empathy towards people of different backgrounds can also help combat the disorder. While not all mental health specialist agree that the condition exist, making sure a child of great wealth is well rounded and exposed to the wider world is still a worthy goal whether it will prevent affluenze or not.

See Kim Kamin, Affluenza and Its Cure, Wealth Management, November 16, 2015.

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

November 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 20, 2015

California Court Rules Against Divorced Woman In Frozen Embryo Battle

Mimi_Lee_3505421bI have previously discussed a California legal battle involving a divorced woman wanting to use the frozen embryos that she created with her former husband. Mimi Lee wanted to become pregnant using frozen embryos that she had created with her former husband Stephen Findley. She considered this to be her last chance to have biological children of her own. In a landmark decision a California Judge has held that Mimi Lee had to abide by an agreement that she could only use the embryos if the couple remained married. This case should have implications for other cases involving the issue of intro-vitro fertilization. The laws governing these types of modern reproductive techniques is continuing to evolve and people should be aware of the policies that exist in the jurisdictions that they live in.

See Robert Tait, Divorced woman loses fight to become pregnant through frozen embryos, The Telegraph, November 19, 2015.

November 20, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)