Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, July 3, 2015

Brevity Is The Soul Of... An Obituary?

Article PictureA man in Fargo, North Dakota had a strange request for his eventual death, he only wanted a two word obituary that said "Doug died." The man felt that going on about where you work, and the like, after death was unnecessary. But he seems to have only gotten part of his wish; while his obituary was appropriately brief, the newspaper wrote a separate article that ran several hundred words and essentially acted as the last ode to the gentleman's life.

See Kate Seamons, Fargo Man Sums It All Up in 2-Word Obit, Newser, July 2, 2015.

 

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Of Legendary Musician Nina Simone Faces Sony In Court

Article PictureAfter years of legal wrangling the estate of Nina Simone is heading back to court after a settlement with Sony fell through. The controversy revolves around the rights Ms. Simone's music being sold online to iTunes, Amazon, and other digital music services. Sony acquired the rights after buying the original distributor and has been fighting the estate for a long while. No trial date has yet been set.

See Ann Brown, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood: Nina Simone’s Heirs In Another Legal Battle With Sony, Madame Noire, May 22, 2015.

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

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Legal Secretary Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Estates

HandcuffsAn Ohio legal secretary has pled guilty to stealing over $100,000 from several estates who's cases were being handled by her employer. The prosecution has recommended a two year sentence but the judge has not yet issued the penalties to be imposed. She might also face years of post release supervision.

See, Ex-legal secretary admits estate thefts, WHIO, June 29, 2015.

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

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Court Ends Conservatorship Of Zsa Zsa Gabor

Article PictureA Los Angeles County judge has ended the conservatorship of Zsa Zsa Gabor by her husband, Prince Von Anhalt, following the death of Gabor's daughter who originally brought suit. In the past, there were mutual accusations between Anhalt and the daughter that each was stealing from Gabor's estate which lead to a bitter feud and several court filings. The estate appears to consist largely of a Bel-Air mansion that is scheduled to be sold in September 2018 in order to allow the actress, who has suffered from severe health complications recently, to likely die in her own home.

See Colleen Park, Judge ends Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband’s conservatorship, My News LA, June 4, 2015.

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

June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hepburn Heirs Continue Estate Battle 20 Years After Mother's Death

Article PictureThe two sons of legendary actress Audrey Hepburn have been reported to be battling each other other a storage unit full of their late mothers personal belongings. The two sons were born ten years apart and from different fathers and have a history of disagreement. A judge is expected to divide the items as they were not specifically covered in the will.

See Derrick Bryson Taylor, Audrey Hepburn’s kids still fighting over her stuff, New York Post, May 27, 2015.

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

June 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Broadway Production Sued Over Alleged Copyright Violation

Article PictureThe estates of comedy duo Abbot and Costello are suing a Broadway production for alleged copyright infringement. The play is accused of using material from the famed "Who's On First" baseball routine that eventually got the pair into the MLB Hall of Fame. No court date has yet been set.

SeeNana Sidibe, Abbott & Costello's heirs sue play for use of 'Who's on First?', CNBC, June 5, 2015.

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

June 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court's Holding On Same Sex Marriage

Supreme CourtFollowing a split between multiple circuit court concerning the prohibition against same sex marriage, the United States Supreme Court took up the issue to unify policy. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the court held that the 14th Amendment required that same sex couples be allowed to marry in the same manner as heterosexual couples. The ruling clearly represents a massive change in policy and will have a huge impact on the estate planning community as many new families will require legal assistance.

 

June 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Klimt Painting Sells At Auction For Millions

KlimtThe Gustav Klimt painting "Portrait of Gertrud Loew" sold at auction for just under $40 million which exceeded pre-sale expectations. The painting was from the estate of a German art dealer connected to looted art but was sold in conjunction with family of the original owner and the Klimt foundation. This sale is a further example of the red hot art market and we should expect to see more high prices for all manner of art and antiquities in the coming years. Any client holding art that might have appreciated should closely monitor values as underestimating the worth of a piece may lead to estate tax consequences.

See David Ng, Gustav Klimt painting sells for $39 million at Sotheby's auction, LA Times, June 25, 2015.

 

June 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democratic Presidential Candidate Proposes Estate Tax Increase

Bernie SandersSen. Bernie Sanders called for legislation that would radically overhaul the current estate tax system. His proposal lowers the tax exception to $3.5 million per person and applies multiple rate tiers, ranging from %40 to %65, to an estate based on value. These changes conflicts with recent Republican efforts to repeal the estate tax, a measure that found support in the House which passed 240-179. As election season progresses, more proposals will emerge from candidates and offer a glimpse into the future of the estate tax.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Bernie Sanders Calls For 65% Top Estate Tax Rate, Forbes, June 25, 2015.

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

June 26, 2015 in Current Events, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Benson Family Seeks Interdiction Order From Appeals Court

Tom BensonThe daughter and grandchildren of Saints owner Tom Benson have appealed a denial of an interdiction requested by the family that was issued by a Orleans Parish District judge. The family sought to have control of various business transferred to their control based on the "hazy" state of Mr. Benson's memory and supposed mental incompetence. However, a recent trial found Mr. Benson to be competent to control his estate and refused to block a transfer of shares in two pro sport franchises. This suit is the latest in a series over the Benson business empire and will likely only represent the latest development in a never ending saga.

See Ousted heirs of Tom Benson appeal interdiction ruling, WWLTV, June 24, 2015.

 

June 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)