Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Joan Rivers Leaves Over $125 Million to Daughter

Joan_RiversAs I have previously discussed, Comedian Joan Rivers passed away at 81-years-old early last month after complications arose from a routine outpatient surgery. A large portion of River's estate will pass to her daughter Melissa Rivers. Melissa is expected to receive over $85 million and River's condo valued at $40 million. In addition, Cooper, Melissa's son who is 13-years-old, will also likely receive an inheritance from his grandmother's estate.

See David K. Li, Melissa Rivers to Inherit Over $125 Million of Joan River's Estate, New York Post, Oct. 23, 2014.

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

FATCA Enforcement Efforts Continue to Increase

OfficerAs I have previously discussed, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires financial institutions to report large accounts held by U.S. account holders to ensure compliance with U.S. tax laws. Commitment to enforcement has been demonstrated through the use of investigative resources to indict alleged violators. Enforcement actions continue to increase, and the IRS has begun using customs holds as another method of catching those attempting to avoid taxes through foreign accounts.

See Sean M. Golding, FBAR & FATCA Tax Attorney – IRS Will Use Customs Holds to Facilitate FATCA Compliance, PR Log, Oct. 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.

October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Son Accused of Shooting Parents, Sister Over Inheritance

JailA 19-year-old Oklahoma College Student has been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting that resulted in the death of his immediate family. Prosecutors believe that Alan Hruby shot and killed his parents and sister in order to inherit enough cash to pay off a debt he owed to a loan shark.

See Associated Press, Oklahoma Teen Accused of Killing Family Was Hoping to Inherit Money, KEYE TV, Oct. 15, 2014.

October 22, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Documents Faked to Steal from Dead Woman

TheftPhiladelphia resident Dorothy Kennedy died at age 79 without any heirs in 2010. Her property, including her house and car, were going to pass to the state, but instead her neighbor, Romanoff Quarlas, concocted an elaborate scheme with the help of his attorney to become the administrator of Kennedy's estate and inherit the property, according to police. The alleged plan involved the assistance of two funeral directors, a real estate agent, and a car salesman to fake documents that resulted in Quarlas becoming administrator and receiving the house and car. After four years, the police discovered the scheme and plan to charge the men with multiple criminal charges including conspiracy and theft.

See Meg Wagner, Band of 6 Philadelphia Crooks Concoct Elaborate Plot to Steal Dead Woman's House, Car: Police, New York Daily News, Oct. 18, 2014.

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

October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Las Vegas Ready for Same-Sex Weddings

CoupleAs I have previously discussed, the 9th circuit struck down the same-sex marriage bans of Nevada and Idaho earlier this month. Leading up to the decision, Las Vegas was gearing up for same-sex weddings. The city known for high wedding volumes and large variety of wedding options, including of course an Elvis impersonator officiant, was ready to facilitate legal same-sex marriages even before the ruling. The county had already changed their marriage licenses to be gender neutral, and individual chapels made sure their photographers knew how to take to perfect wedding day photos when both members of the couple are wearing white wedding dresses.

See Kimberly Pierceall, Land of Chapels Ready for Gay Weddings, The Fresno Bee, Oct. 8, 2014.

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

John Wayne Trademark Case Dismissed

John_WayneAs I have previously discussed, the family of movie legend John Wayne is in a trademark battle over the word “Duke.” The family's attempts to market a line of bourbon under the brand name “Duke,” have received backlash from Duke University. The family's attempt to have the trademark issue resolved in a Santa Ana, California federal district court resulted in the judge dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction. However, the family is viewing this as just one battle in a larger fight for the rights to the name “Duke.”

See Emily Foxhall, John Wayne Family Loses Round 1 to Duke University in Trademark Fight, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 2, 2014.

October 17, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Attempt to Terminate Superman Rights Ends With Supreme Court Cert Denial

GAVELThe rights to superhero character Superman remain with Warner Bros. after the Supreme Court of the United States denied cert earlier this month in a case challenging their rights. The estate of Joseph Shuster, co-creator of Superman, attempted to reclaim their rights to the character. The decision from the 9th Circuit found that a 1992 contractual agreement blocked the estate's attempt to terminate Warner's rights. The agreement was between Shuster's sister, Jean Peavy, and Warner, and gave the rights to Warner in exchange for payment that covered Shuster's debts and expenses shortly after his death.

See Eriq Gardner, Supreme Court Denies Review of Superman Rights, The Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 6, 2014.

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

October 17, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fire at Virginia Crematorium

FireA crematorium in Virginia caught fire on Wednesday, as a result of a 500-pound body being cremated. The size of the body resulted in body fat going up a smoke stack, which caught the roof on fire. It took firefighters 30 minutes to put out the blaze at Southside Cremation Services. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

 

See WBTW News Staff, 500 Lb Body Sparks Large Fire at Crematory in Va., WSPA, Oct. 8, 2014.

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

October 11, 2014 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Effect of SCOTUS Denial to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Gavel-marriageAs I have previously discussed, the Supreme Court of the United States decided yesterday to not hear any of the same-sex marriage ban appeals cases. This decision has had direct and indirect effects on the bans of many states. A description of these changes for each affected state can be found here.

See Tom McCarthy, US Same-Sex Marriage Decision: A Stat-by-State Guide to When Bans Have Fallen, The Guardian, Oct. 6. 2014.

October 7, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Anticipated Vote on Mitochondrial Replacement In UK May Be Delayed

DNAAs I have previously discussed, the UK is considering legalizing a procedure called mitochondrial replacement, which is used to prevent mitochondrial disease in babies born to mothers who carry the genes for the disease. It works by replacing genes in the mother's egg with those of another woman that does not carry the mitochondrial disease gene. Babies born from this procedure have three genetic parents.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, a government watchdog group, announced in July that its research found the procedure “not unsafe” and gave approval for Members of Parliament to vote on whether to make the procedure legal. However, opponents, including many scientists, are asking for the vote to be delayed until further research can be done.

See Jonathan Petre & Stephen Adams, Bid to Delay ‘Three Parent Babies’ Through IVF as Tests Find Fears Could Suffer Reduced Fertility, Learning Difficulties and Even Cancer, Daily Mail, Oct. 4, 2014.

October 6, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)