Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Monday, September 15, 2014

One Man’s Same-Sex Marriage Recognized in Arizona

RingsFred McQuire and his late husband George Martinez were married in California this past summer after 45 years together. Martinez, who passed away due to pancreatic cancer attributed to his exposure to Agent Orange while he was serving in the Vietnam War, wanted to marry his long time partner before he passed away. After Martinez’s death, McQuire ran into trouble when he tried to claim death benefits since Arizona does not recognize same-sex marriage.  U.S. District Judge John Sedwick ruled that McQuire should be allowed to be listed as Martinez’s spouse on his death certificate. However, McQuire will likely still not be able to collect death benefits due to unrelated regulations. The decision is limited to McQuire’s specific situation, but may signal the outcome of a pending case in Arizona challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

See Jacques Billeaud, Man Wins Fight to Get Same-Sex Union Recognized, My San Antonio, Sept. 12, 2014.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 15, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Home Video Reveals Elder Abuse by Home Care Aides

Elder Care

Peter Mazza needed assistance with daily activities at the age of 99, but wanted to live out his days at his home in Staten Island, N.Y. To honor Mazza’s wishes, his family hired home-health aides through Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Partners in Care. The family had previously had a bad experience with home health aides so they installed video cameras in the home prior to hiring the new aides, and say that they informed both the company and the aides of the presence of the cameras.

Mazza sustained injuries due to a fall in April and died in a nursing home in June. Mazza's family claims that the cameras reveal multiple incidences of severe abuse and neglect, including an aide refusing to assist Mazza to reach his walker, which resulted in the fall that caused his injuries. The family is currently suing Partners in Care. The company has fired or suspended the aides involved.

See Frank Donnelly, Shocking Video at Center of Lawsuit Alleging Home Health Aides Abused 99-Year-Old Staten Island Man, SILive, Sept. 9, 2014.

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

September 13, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dead Man Blamed For Speeding Tickets

Speeding CarA dead man in the United Kingdom was accused of being the driver of a car caught on camera speeding. The man’s son Vasille Georgiou blamed three speeding tickets on his father to get out the tickets, two of which occurred after the man’s death. After Georgiou’s blame-the-dead-man scam was discovered, a court sentenced him to four months in jail for his dishonest conduct. Georgiou has also lost his driving privileges for eight months.

See Richard Smith, Driver Who Flicked V-Sign at Speed Camera Blamed His Dead Dad For Speeding Offenses, Mirror, Sept. 5, 2014.

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

September 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Bans Struck Down by 7th Circuit

RingsAs I have previously discussed, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments the last week of August on the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s and Indiana’s same-sex marriage bans. Nine days after hearing oral arguments, the court held in Wolf v. Walker that the bans violate equal protection. The court’s ruling was written by Judge Richard Posner. The same outcome has been reached in cases regarding state same-sex marriage bans in the 4th and 10th Circuits.

See Martha Neil, With 'Eye-Popping Speed,' 7th Circuit Strikes 2 States' Same-Sex Marriage Bans 9 Days After Argument, ABA Journal, Sept. 4, 2014.

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

September 9, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Joan Rivers' Funeral Plans

Joan rivers

Joan Rivers is famous for her ability to turn anything into a joke, including her own funeral.  Unearthed by Mashable’s Brian Ries, the comedian concocted a specific (and funny) burial service wish list in her 2012 book entitled, “I Hate Everyone . . . Starting With Me.”

Rivers explained, “When I die . . . I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action . . . I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way.”  Furthermore, Rivers would rather have “Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing ‘Mr. Lonely.’  I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive.  I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag.”

As a woman who has been a trailblazer for others in entertainment, we can only hope Rivers gets her wish.  As of Friday, Rivers’ service was set for Sunday at Manhattan’s Temple Emanu-El.

See Breeanna Hare, What Joan Rivers Wanted at Her Funeral, CNN Entertainment, Sept. 5, 2014. 

September 6, 2014 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Prince Harry and Prince William to Inherit Diana’s Wedding Dress

Princess_Diana_wedding_dressAs I have previously discussed, Prince Harry will inherit more than £10 million this month when he turns 30. Even though his share from his mother’s estate is equal to the share received by Prince William, Prince Harry will receive more due to the interest that has accrued since Prince William received his share in 2012. Additionally, Prince William and Prince Harry will receive other items such as Princess Diana’s wedding dress, which has been cared for by her brother until both princes reach age 30.

See Corey Charlton, Prince Harry to Inherit £10 Million Share of Diana’s Fortune When he Turns 30 Next Month, Aug. 31, 2014.

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

September 4, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rosa Parks’ Estate Sale

Rosa ParksOver 8,000 items and artifacts from the life of civil rights activists Rosa Parks may soon be displayed in a museum and viewable by scholars and the public. The Buffett Foundation is now the owner of the collection, which it purchased at Parks’ estate sale. The Foundation has not yet decided which museum or institution will be chosen to house the collection. The proceeds from the estate sale will be split amongst Parks’ 15 heirs and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.

See Bill Laitner, Rosa Parks’ Heirs and Institute Gain From Estate Sale, Detroit Free Press, Sept. 2, 2014.

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

September 3, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Children With Three Biological Parents

DNAAlana Saarinen seems like an average teenager, but her DNA is not. She has DNA from three different people. Between 30 and 50 people around the world share Saarinen’s unique situation of having three biological parents. This is due to a procedure called cytoplasmic transfer, which is an infertility treatment that was done in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before the FDA requested the clinics to stop the treatment in 2002. The procedure involved using the cytoplasm from a female donor and transferring it to the mother’s egg prior to the egg being fertilized by the father’s sperm.

The practice resulted in healthy babies being born to parents that had spent years trying to conceive a child, like Saarinen’s parents who had tried various methods to conceive for 10 years. But it also had possible side effects and raised ethical and safety issues, which concerned the FDA. Now, the UK is considering legalizing a similar procedure called mitochondrial replacement, which would be used to treat and cure genetic diseases. The debate on whether Parliament should pass the proposed legislation is stirring much controversy and debate on the issue.

See Charlotte Pritchard, The Girl With Three Biological Parents, BBC, Aug. 31, 2014.

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

September 3, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lou Reed’s Executors Request Surprisingly Low Payment

Lou ReedAs I have previously discussed, the estate of Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed has increased to $20 million since his death last year and is now worth $30 million. Compared to executors of other famous estates, Reed’s executors will be paid a small sum for fees, as they are requesting a total of $220,000. In contrast, the executors for Michael Jackson’s estate are being paid 10 percent, which results in a huge sum considering just one business deal of the estate with Sony was for $250 million.

See Bonnie Kraham, Trusts Can Keep an Estate Private, Times-Herald-Record, Aug. 28. 2014.

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

September 2, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Man Pronounced Dead Found Breathing

MistakeTwo hours after the family of Valdelucio de Oliveira Goncalves, a 54-year-old terminally ill cancer patient, was told that he had died of respiratory and organ failure, the family discovered the doctors had made a mistake. The family found Goncalves in a body bag, tied up, with cotton wool in his nose and ears, and breathing.  The family wants answers to how their family member was mispronounced as dead, and hospital directors plan to check with those involved to find out how this mistake occurred.

See Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, ‘Dead’ Man Rescued 2 Hours Later When Family Notices Body Bag Moving, Fox News, Aug. 26, 2014.

September 2, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)