Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

More Relatives Making Claims On Prince’s Estate

Prince3I have previously discussed the ongoing issues surrounding the estate of legendary musician Prince who passed away intestate.  Now there are more people coming forward claiming to be descended from Prince’s half-brother Duane Nelson.  “The two new potential heirs both said they were descended from Prince's older half-brother Duane Nelson, who died in 2011, and was once head of security for the singer.”  There is another person who is claiming that she had a child with Duane Nelson.  “Another woman, Jeannine Halloran, said that she had an 11-year-old daughter with the late Duane Nelson Jr.”  The mother and daughter are willing to undergo DNA testing to try to prove their claims, and both claimers also filed their birth certificates with the probate court. 

See Tom Wyke, Two more ‘relatives’ stake their claim to a share of Prince’s fortune: Family of singer’s late half-brother say birth certificate proves they are rightful heirs, Daily Mail, May 19, 2016.

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

May 19, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When Political Humor Is Included In An Obituary

NolandWith the Presidential election coming up this year sometimes people can attempt to use political humor in unlikely places.  There was recently an obituary that made humorous remark about the upcoming election.  Provided below is a sample of the obituary:

NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68. Born in Danville, Va., Mary Anne was a graduate of Douglas Freeman High School (1966) and the University of Virginia School of Nursing (1970). A faithful child of God, Mary Anne devoted her life to sharing the love she received from Christ with all whose lives she touched as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and nurse. Mary Anne was predeceased by her father, Kyle T. Alfriend Jr. and Esther G. Alfriend of Richmond. She is survived by her husband, Jim; sister, Esther; and brothers, Terry (Bonnie) and Mac (Carole). She was a mother to three sons, Jake (Stormy), Josh (Amy) and David (Katie); and she was "Grammy" to 10 beloved grandchildren. A visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., in Henrico. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 1 p.m., with a reception to follow, also at Trinity UMC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to CARITAS, P.O. Box 25790, Richmond, Va. 23260.

See Obituary of Mary Ann Noland, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 17, 2016.

Special thanks to Turney Berry for bringing this obituary to my attention.

May 18, 2016 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Retirement Problems That Baby Boomers Face

Check writingThe baby boomer generation started going into retirement at the beginning of this decade and there are more and more exiting the work force each day.  This article discusses some of the financial problems that many baby boomers are probably going to face.  There are many baby boomers who rely heavily on Social Security benefits for survival, and this could be a problem in the future as the Social Security system continues to face financial strains and the government has to make reforms that could change the rules for receiving benefits.  Sadly, there are many senior citizens who have neglected to properly save ahead for retirement and many people have to postpone their retirements to keep up with expenses.  Debt is another problem that many baby boomers are having to deal with.  It is important for people to develop a game plan for dealing with their retirement.

See Baby Boomers’ Retirement Woes Summed Up in 5 Statistics, Fox Business, May 15, 2016.

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

May 15, 2016 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Current Value Of Michael Jackson’s Estate

New jacksonThe passing of Prince has brought the topic of celebrity estate planning back into public attention.  Celebrity estates can continue to generate revenue long after the person passed away. This column discusses the current value of the Michael Jackson estate.  “As I noted in yesterday's blog post, Michael Jackson's estate is claiming a value of $2,105 ... but the IRS number is in excess of $434 million.”  There is an ongoing dispute between the Michael Jackson estate and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  “Adam Streisand, a probate attorney who has worked with celebrity estates such as those of Ray Charles, Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe, thinks the IRS will not successfully point to the post-death earnings of other celebrities as part of the valuation process.”

See Kyle E. Krull, What is Michael Jackson “Worth” These Day$?, The Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull P.A., May 10, 2016.

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

May 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ongoing Discovery Dispute In “Stairway To Heaven” Lawsuit

Led zeppelinI have previously discussed the ongoing copyright dispute between Led Zeppelin and the estate of Randy Wolfe, who was a guitarist for the group Spirit.  The lawsuit alleges that the hit song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was plagiarized from Taurus which was a 1967 instrumental by Spirit.  “With a jury trial scheduled to begin in just over a month, Led Zeppelin, their music publisher and record label continue to feud with the estate of a founding member of the rock band Spirit over the allowance of expert depositions in a copyright infringement case surrounding the song ‘Stairway to Heaven.’” These developments show why it is important for musicians and creative artists should protect themselves by speaking with an experienced intellectual property and entertainment lawyer. 

See Discovery Dispute Lingers in “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Infringement Case, Klein Moynihan Turco LLP, May 12, 2016.

May 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some Of The Ins And Outs Of Italy's New Civil Union Law

ItalyRecently Italy joined the ranks of nations that recognize same-sex civil unions. The law is a major change for Italian law and comes with loads of new laws to go along with the new found legal status. Provided below are some of the key point:

  • Those entering into a civil union are obligated to provide assistance and support to the other member of the union. In addition, partners are granted the right to inherit in much the same way as a spouse.
  • The law specifically denies the right of partners of a union from adopting step-children even if the assumed a parental role.
  • The choice of surname for is left up to the individual partners. Italy has strict registration requirements when it comes to names so allowing those in the civil union to have a choice is a major step forward.
  • No requirements regarding fidelity are imposed on those in civil unions. This will result in legal separations having no need to blame a party it is the result of cheating on the other.

See, What Italy’s New Civil Unions Law Entails, Corriere Della Sera, May 12, 2016.


May 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New Workplace Injury And Illness Reporting Requirements Issued By OSHA

OSHAThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will now require skilled nursing facilities to electronically submit their workplace injury and illness data “under a new final rule released Wednesday.”  This new rule will helpful improve standards at nursing facilities.  “Requiring employers in high-hazard industries — including skilled nursing, one of the most injury prone — to electronically submit the injury and illness data will help “modernize” data collection, OSHA officials said.”  Employers in these high-risk industries are already required to collect and submit this data, but electronic submissions will make it easier for OSHA to publicly share the information in a large public database of work injuries and illnesses.  “Increasing access to injury data also will help the agency send compliance resources to workplaces where employees are at greatest risk, and allow researchers to mine the data for studies on injuries causation, safety hazards and prevention activities, Michaels added.”

See Emily Mongan, OSHA releases new workplace injury and illness reporting requirement, McKnight’s, May 11, 2016.

May 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

First ABLE Accounts Should Come Into Existence This Summer

ABLEIt has been more than a year and a half since legislation was passed that should make it easier for people with disabilities to save money without jeopardizing their federal benefits.  The first ABLE accounts are expected to become available this summer as a handful of states open up their ABLE programs.  The State of Nebraska was the first to announce a launch date of June 30, but Ohio could also offer ABLE accounts even sooner.  “The new offering was created by the federal Achieving a Better Life Ex perience, or ABLE, Act, which became law in 2014.”  The programs will be different in each state and it is important for people to be aware of the local rules and regulations.  If done right this program can be very beneficial for people who are disabled. 

See Michelle Diament, First ABLE Accounts Expected This Summer, disability scoop, May 10, 2016.

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

May 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boozy Lunch Leads To Lost Corpse In Germany

BeerWhile making a road trip to Poland from Italy it is natural to want to stop for a bit to unwind from the journey and take a little break. But one man decided he needed something extra and decided to have a drink or two to celebrate making it to his halfway mark in Germany. But before he could get in his, presumably, hard earned break he had to park his vehicle which just happened to a hearse complete with a corpse and coffin. Problem was he ended up forgetting where he parked the vehicle which lead to a day long search before the car as found about two miles from where the man claimed to have left the hearse. Police suspect that the man's apparent embrace of the phrase "it's five o'clock somewhere" when he had his meal contributed to the memory lapse. But, in any case, all ended well although there might be some doubts about the driver's future employment.

See, Undertaker loses hearse, body during boozy lunch, Fox News, May 11, 2016

May 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inmate Claims To Be Son of Prince

GeneticsThe death of legendary musician Prince shocked the world and set off a scramble to find his various heirs due to the lack of a will. Until now, it has been assumed by many that he was survived by no relations closer than his full blooded sister and cluster of half-siblings which is the same tack that a Minnesota court took when it stated all possible heirs had been contacted. However, a man is claiming to be the son of Prince from a relation the signer had with the man's mother before he shot to stardom. The man is currently being held in federal prison over gun charges and when reached by the media his family declined to issue any comment about the claim. However, despite the Minnesota court announcing that all heirs were located, it ordered the preservation of a DNA sample that can be used to test any familial claims. But, at this time, no test has been done to confirm or deny the man's claim.

See Sara Sidner, Prince estate: Colorado inmate says he is singer's son, sole heir, CNN, May 1, 2016.

May 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)