Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Families of Miners Killed in Explosion Seek Restitution

Gavel2Over four years ago, a mine explosion in the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed many miners, and a year later the mine's owner agreed to pay restitution to the miners' families as part of a non-prosecution agreement. Now, some of the families have filed a lawsuit against the company claiming they were never paid their restitution and seeking payment to be made.

See Yawana Wolfe, Miner's Families Sue Over Death Payments Delay, Courthouse News Service, Nov. 25, 2014.

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, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Proposed Changes to Canada's Income Tax Act Could Have Significant Estate Planning Effects

ChangeA bill that includes draft legislation from Canada's Department of Finance that proposes an addition to the Income Tax Act is currently being considered by Parliament. The changes will significantly impact estate planning for Canadian couples by treating the income from a spousal trust as income of the deceased spouse, which will be taxed to the spouse instead of the trust. Concerning implications of this change were addressed during the comment period for the draft legislation by The Joint Committee on Taxation of the Canadian Bar Association and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, but the draft legislation was included in the bill without changes.

See Kim G. C Moody, Canada: New Draft Legislation Will Have A Great Impact On Traditional Estate Planning For Canadians, Mondaq, Nov. 11, 2014.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 24, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Billionaire Spanish Duchess Leaves £2.2 Billion Estate to Children

WillThe funeral of the Duchess of Alba was attended by thousands including dignitaries, and members of the public filled the streets to watch her funeral procession. The Spanish Billionaire and direct royal descendent of King James II of England, died at 88-years-old due to pneumonia. The Duchess left her £2.2 billion estate to her six children. Each child is expected to receive a palace of their own. Her third husband Alfonso Diez, who is 24 years younger than the Duchess, was not included in her will and signed an agreement prior to the wedding that he would not receive any of her fortune. The agreement is believed to have been used to resolve a family feud over disapproval of the marriage.

See Ted Thornhill & Emma Glanfield, Duchess of Alba, Who Died Aged 88, Leaves Nothing to Her 64-Year-Old Toyboy While Her Six Children Get the £3 Billion Fortune, Daily Mail, Nov. 21, 2014.

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

November 22, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Car Wreck Victim's Organs Removed Too Soon According to Family

HospitalThe family of 26-year-old Martha Perez is questioning the actions by doctors in connection with the removal of the woman's organs after she was involved in a car accident that occurred Wednesday in Arlington, Texas. Perez's family says her heart and lungs were still functioning when she was declared brain dead and her organs removed. The family is seeking legal advice on their options related to the incident.

See, Family Says Doctors Removed Deceased Girl's Organs Too Early, Fox News, Nov. 17, 2014.

Special thanks to Joshua Dietz (Dietz Law Firm, PLLC) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

University Addresses High Local Rates of Alzheimer's With Workshops for Children

SchoolThe University of Antioquia in Medellin, Columbia offers workshops to grade-schoolers to help them prepare for the devastating realty that they may be required to step into a caretaker role for their parents while still children. In the region, familial Alzheimer's rates are the highest in the world and is almost certain to pass to the younger generation even if only one parent has the genetic mutation that causes it. This devastatingly common form of Alzheimer's has an early onset and often begins to affect an individual slightly before they reach the age of 50, and the life expectancy for an individual that begins showing symptoms is roughly 10 years. The workshops are intended to prep children for what will happen if one of their parents begins to show symptoms, and prep the family as a whole on what to expect and how to handle the situation when it surfaces.

See Gary Stix, Learning About Your Family's Elevated Alzheimer's Risk--As Early as Age 8, Scientific American, Nov. 15, 2014.

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

November 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Napoleon's Hat Sold at Auction

NapoleonOne of the hats worn by Napoleon Bonaparte in battle was purchased at auction for £1.5 million. The hat is one of 20 known to currently exist around the world and one of roughly 120 hats that Napoleon wore during his life. This highly valued hat was recovered by Napoleon's vet and remained in his family until Prince Louis II of Monaco purchased it. After the prince's death, his family displayed many historical items from his collection in the Napoleon Museum of Monaco. The family decided to sell some of the items, including the hat and other items that had belonged to Napoleon, to help refurbish their Monaco palace and in an interest to pursue other museum projects.

See Peter Allen, Hat Worn by Napoleon During One of His Greatest Victories Sells For £1.5Million at Auction, Daily Mail, Nov. 16, 2014.

November 18, 2014 in Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Increase in U.S. Second Marriages

MarriageA report by Pew Research Center reveals that the occurrence of remarriages, either as a result of divorce or the death of a spouse, is on the rise in the United States. According to the report, out of all new marriages in 2013, forty percent were remarriages, and the number of people who remarried last year nearly doubled since 1980.

Additionally, the report showed both gender and generational differences in remarriage rates. Men are not only more likely than women to remarry, but are also more likely to marry a younger partner. While rates for older individuals remarrying are on the rise, rates for younger individuals are down. Researchers attribute the increase in remarriages to the large number of baby boomers, increased divorce rates, and changing views on marriage.

See Fredrick Kunkle, Forty Percent of New U.S. Marriages Are Remarriages, Report Finds, The Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2014.

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

November 16, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Woman Mistakenly Declared Dead Wakes Up in Cold Storage

HearseAfter the family of 91-year-old Janina Kolkiewicz called her doctor because they believed she had stopped breathing, the doctor went to the woman's home in Poland and declared her dead. Kolkiewicz was transported to a funeral home and her family began planning her funeral, but 11 hours later Kolkiewicz woke up in cold storage. She is now home with her family. The doctor has said that she checked for signs of life and found none before making the call and signing the death certificate. The Lublin Prosecutor's Office is investigating the incident and the doctor's actions.

See Ralph Ellis, Declared Dead, 91-Year-Old Woman Wakes Up 11 Hours Later in Funeral Home, CNN, Nov. 14, 2014.

Special thanks to Professor Adam Hirsch (University of San Diego) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 16, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Jersey Attorney Facing Prison After Stealing From Elderly Clients

JailNew Jersey attorney Barbara Lieberman was charged in March for taking control of financial accounts and stealing funds from her elderly clients. Lieberman was accused of forging documents to make herself power of attorney over clients and adding her name to their bank accounts. Lieberman plead guilty to money laundering, and will face prison time at her February sentencing hearing, which according to the terms of her plea deal will be recommended by prosecutors to be a 10 year sentence.

See David Gialanella, NJ Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Robbing Elderly Clients, New Jersey Law Journal, Nov. 3, 2014.

November 14, 2014 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stay on Kansas Same-Sex Marriages Lifted by Supreme Court

Gavel-marriageKansas has become the 33rd state to recognize legal same-sex marriages. Following 10th Circuit precedent, a federal judge in Kansas struck down the state's marriage ban for same-sex couples. The Supreme Court has lifted the stay on that decision, without giving explanation or reasoning. The lift of the stay will result in same-sex marriage licenses being issued in Kansas. Two justices did not agree with the lift of the stay, Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas.

See Robert Barnes,  Supreme Court Allows Same-Sex Marriages to Proceed in Kansas, Lifting Stay, The Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2014.

November 13, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)