Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rights and Obligations of Sperm Donors for Same-Sex Couples

BabyRecent case involving sperm donors for lesbian couples gaining visitation rights and being ordered by courts to pay child support raises important legal questions on the current law involving rights of donors and paternity presumptions.

It can be difficult for couples that acquire the help of a sperm donor to birth children to keep the donor out of the child's life if strict procedures, such as going through a sperm bank, are not followed, which can be very expensive. Even lesbian couple's in states that recognize their union, face additional difficulty than opposite-sex married couples due to the presumption of paternity not being applied to either female parent. However, California has interpreted its paternity presumption broadly and has allowed the presumption to attach to one member of a same-sex couple.

See John Culhane, Sperm Donors are Winning Visitation Rights, Slate, Feb. 20, 2015.

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

February 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Texas Attorney General Asks For Same-Sex Marriage Voided

Law RingsAs I have previously discussed, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a stay on same-sex marriages in the state last Thursday per the request of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. On Friday Paxton made a request to the court to void the first same-sex marriage in Texas since the state passed its gay marriage ban, which was performed last Thursday. Paxton expressed that allowing the marriage license to  be valid would result in "legal chaos." Paxton's full filing to the Supreme Court of Texas can be seen here.

See Mark Berman, Texas Attorney General Asks State Supreme Court to Void Same-Sex Marriage License, The Washington Post, Feb. 20, 2015.

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

February 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nepal Considering Same-Sex Marriage

Law RingsThe report released last week by Nepal's same-sex marriage committee is the result of research and discussion over the past four years. The government appointed national committee recommended legalizing same-sex marriage in the country and removing provisions from the Criminal and Civil Code that discriminate against same-sex individuals. If the Nepalese government follows the recommendations by changing the law on same-sex marriage, Nepal would be the first country in south Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriages.

See Francesca Washtell, Nepal Set to Become the First South Asian Country to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage, The Independent, Feb. 17, 2015.

February 18, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Right to Die Lawsuit Filed in California

Gavel2Six plaintiffs have filed a complaint in a San Francisco, California state court seeking clarification of the state's assisted suicide statute and an injunction against prosecution of the plaintiffs if they seek or provide medication  to end the life of a mentally competent and terminally ill patient. Three of the plaintiffs have cancer, which is currently in remission, and two of those three are doctors. The remaining three plaintiffs are doctors.

See Maria Dinzeo, Cancer Patients Sue California for Right to Die, Courthouse News Service, Feb. 11, 2015.

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

February 13, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Impressionist Painting Looted by Nazis Sells at Auction

Maurice_de_vlaminck_la_voile_blanche_a_bougival_d5868983hThe cloud over a painting by noted Impressionist painter Maurice de Vlaminck has finally lifted seven decades after being looted by Nazi troops. The painting, La Voile Blanche à Bougival, was stolen from the gallery of Joseph Bernheim-Jeune just after the fall of Paris in 1940 and eventually found its way onto the international art market.

But in the late 1970’s the heirs of Bernheim-Jeune spotted the lost work and began a multi-decade long quest to gain title to the valuable piece. After a series of public and private transactions through the 80’s and 90’s the heirs and current owner reached an agreement that would end the long battle over rightful ownership.

The painting recently sold at Christie’s Auction House in New York for $227,433 and brought to a close one more controversy from a troubled era in Western history.

See Eileen Kinsella, Nazi Looted Vlaminck Sold at Christie's Ending Decades of Controversy, Artnet News, Feb. 5, 2015.

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

February 10, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 9, 2015

AEG Victory in Michael Jackson Case Affirmed

JacksonAfter the death of Michael Jackson in June of 2009, Katherine Jackson, Jackson's mother, sued the promoter agency AEG Live for negligence and breach of contract in connection to them hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's doctor at the time of his death. After a jury heard five-months worth of evidence they found for AEG, and Katherine appealed.

In Jackson v. AEG Live, LLC, a California appeals court affirmed the jury verdict, finding that AEG did not breach any duty to Jackson.

See Tim Hull, Appellate Victory for AEG Live on King of Pop's Death, Courthouse News Reporter, Jan. 30, 2015.

February 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gaye's Children Lose Pre-Trial Appeal Motion

Marvin_GayeAs I have previously discussed, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford Harris Jr. (T.I) are seeking declaratory judgment in a California district court that their song Blurred Lines did not infringe on the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s song Got to Give It Up. The family lost their motion for a pre-trial appeal to be certified by the court and the case is scheduled to begin February 17. The Gaye's family attempted to appeal the court's decision to disallow the original recording of Gaye singing his song because the judge reasoned it would be too prejudicial for the jury to hear Gaye singing the song, which is not protected by the copyright. Another version of the song has been submitted to the court by Gaye's children.

See Eriq Gardner, 'Blurred Lines' Trial Moving Forward After Judge Rejects Appeal Bid, The Hollywood Reporter, Feb. 7, 2015.

February 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Neverland Ranch For Sale

House - SaleThe Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, California may soon have a new owner. The ranch was owned by the late Michael Jackson before being transferred to Thomas Barrack, a real-estate investor, who has a goal of $75 million for an upcoming sale of the ranch. Two bids have come in by potential bidders that plan to turn the ranch into a place for visitors to remember Jackson's musical accomplishments. Another bid of $40 million has been made that would use the ranch as a rehab facility for children that have experienced sexual-assault.

See Bang Showbiz, Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch to Become Rehab Facility, Contact Music, Feb. 1, 2015.

February 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Estate Planning Strategies Targeted in President's Comprehensive Plan

Tax3The comprehensive plan by President Barack Obama within the FY2016 budget includes significant tax changes, which will remove the availability of common estate and tax planning strategies. The plan suggests reducing the estate tax exemption to $3.5 million. Additionally the changes put the existence of GRATs, annual exclusion gifts, and generation-skipping trusts at risk.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Obama Budget Would Upend Estate Plans, Forbes, Feb. 5, 2015.

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

February 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Oswald Casket to be Returned to His Family

GavelAs I have previously discussed, the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald sued Baumgardner Funeral Home after the funeral home attempted to sale Oswald's original casket through an auction. In a Friday ruling, a Tarrant County judge ruled that the casket must be returned, at the funeral home's expense, to Oswald's brother Robert Oswald, who plans to destroy it, and pay him damages of $87,468. The funeral home is considering an appeal, and maintains that the casket purchased by Robert was a gift to his brother, and thus not his property to reclaim.

See Associated Press, Judge: Funeral Home Wrongly Sold Lee Harvey Oswald's Casket, Fox News, Jan. 31, 2015.

February 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)