Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Alexia Echevarria Acuses Stepsons of Seizing Her Assets After Husband's Death

AlexiAlexia Echevarria recently filed court documents, alleging that her stepsons are attempting to seize her Miami Beach mansion and Maserati only months after her husband’s death. Both sons are heirs to their father’s estate and co-personal representatives of his probate estate, but Echevarria claims they are clearly ignoring their father’s wishes. The couple’s prenup stated that upon the husband’s death, the Miami Beach house would be transferred solely to his wife.

See Amanda Ulrich, EXCLUSIVE: Real Housewives of Miami Star Alexia Echevarria Accuses Her Stepsons of Trying to Seize Her $3 Million Miami Beach Home and Maserati After Her Husband’s Sudden Death, Daily Mail, March 21, 2017.

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Phyllis Schlafly's Children Are at War over Their Inheritance

SchlaflyThe children of late conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly are ignited in a legal battle over their inheritance, which has continued ever since their mother expressed her support for Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries. Schlafly’s daughter filed legal documents this week, alleging that her brother sabotaged her inheritance by influencing their mother to change her will before she died. Specifically, the daughter claims that the will was amended to include a clause that states any legal disputes must be paid out of their inheritance. Further, Schlafly’s daughter has fought to ban her mother’s “hand picked successor” from using her mother’s legacy to raise money

See Jennifer Smith, Children of Late Conservative Icon Phyllis Schlafly at War over Their Inheritance and Have Been Fighting Since She Threw Her Support Behind Donald Trump, Daily Mail, March 23, 2017.

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

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Rules Obergefell Applies Retroactively

Common law marriageA South Carolina judge recently ruled that a same-sex couple who split up after thirty years together had a common-law marriage. This potentially marks the first time that a judge determined Obergefell applies retroactively. The case originated when one of the partners asked for a division of property. The opposing party argued that she did not consider their relationship a marriage. Ultimately, the judge concluded that the common-law marriage started when one of the women divorced her husband in 1987. The couple owned a home together and shared joint bank accounts.

See Stephanie Francis Ward, Family Court Judge Rules Obergefell Applies Retroactively, and Women Had a Common-Law Marriage, ABA J., March 20, 2017.

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Self-Driving Cars Could Help Transportation Efforts for Aging Americans

Autonomous vehiclesSelf-driving cars might be a viable means of getting from place to place for older adults in the near future. Currently, approximately 16 million Americans sixty-five and older live in communities where the public transportation is poor or nonexistent. That number is expected to grow rapidly as the baby boomer generation continues to remain outside the major cities. Autonomous vehicles could be the key for closing this concerning mobility gap for an aging society, while automakers are vying in the race to reduce or eliminate the amount of time a person actually spends driving in a vehicle. However, there are several impediments that would need to be worked out, as the elderly understandably have a harder time adjusting to such technology. Accordingly, automakers should be aware of older drivers because if they do not trust the technology, the business will potentially slow.

See Mary M. Chapman, Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles, N.Y. Times, March 23, 2017.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Judge Allows Wife to Undergo IVF with Dead Husband's Sperm

IvfA Barcelona judge is allowing a woman to use her dead husband’s sperm to undergo in vitro fertilization. The prosecution argued against the ruling, stating that it was not possible to obtain her late husband’s consent—a moral argument, not a legal one. The couple started the process back in 2014, when the husband froze his sperm before undergoing an aggressive cancer treatment that potentially would make him sterile. One day before the cancer took the man’s life, the couple got married in the hospital. In the year proceeding, the woman tried to get pregnant four times, but Spanish law only permits the use of genetic material from a deceased person for twelve months after their death. With this ruling, the woman intends to make the most of her husband’s legacy.

See Judge Allows Woman to Undergo In Vitro Fertilization with Dead Husband’s Sperm, Fox News, March 23, 2017.

March 23, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Tools for Elder Financial Abuse Are on the Rise

Elder financial abuse2Artificial intelligence, data, and virtual reality may become future tools for elder financial abuse. In the age of technology, elders rely on direct mail and telephone solicitation to become familiar with non-profits and give to charity, which means charity scammers can still easily defraud them. Further, with these new options, fraudsters will have intimate knowledge on how to appeal to the emotional triggers of elders. The potential for manipulation is huge.

See Ted Knutson, Al, Big Data May Become Tools for Elder Financial Abuse, Financial Advisor, March 22, 2017.

March 22, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marilyn Monroe's Intimate Pictures Hit the Auction Block

MmonroeA substantial collection of photos of the late Marilyn Monroe that chart the icon’s transformation are going up for sale. From a shy Norma Jean Baker to her final moments as a screen siren, more than 100 photos capture her journey. The images include promotional shots from Niagara in 1952, photos from her visit to the Korean troops in 1954, and photos with her husband in 1960. Additionally, there are thirty-three photos of Monroe taken just weeks before the legend’s untimely death. The photos are suspected to sell for $90,000.

See Ekin Karasin, The World’s Last Glimpse of Marilyn: Star’s Final Photoshoot Is Among Trove of Classic Monroe Images Going Up for Auction, Daily Mail, March 21, 2017.

March 22, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bataan Death March Memorial Draws in Record-Breaking Crowds

Bataan death march The 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March drew in record crowds of 7,200 retired and active-duty military personnel and civilians, who were honoring the victims of World War II. Participants gathered to trek the 26.2-mile course, which represents the 65 miles many American and Filipino service members were forced to walk without food and water during the war. For many who attended, the March was an opportunity to shake the hands of the eight survivors in attendance and pay their respects to the many service members who lost their lives.

See Jennifer G. Hickey, Bataan Death March Memorialized with Record-Setting Crowd, Fox News, March 21, 2017.

March 21, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tupac "Dear Mama" Lyrics Go Up for Sale

Tupac dear Tupac wrote out the lyrics to his popular 1995 song, “Dear Mama,” on three sheets of notebook paper, and now, each one of those sheets will cost you $25,000, totaling $75,000, if you want to be the owner of a piece of hip hop history. The lyrics originally came from the studio where Tupac recorded the track; the auction house then acquired them from a private collector. The lyrics the famous rapper wrote down were just as you hear them today with a couple notes he wrote down in the margins, specifically other rappers’ names—perhaps those he intended to feature on the song.

See Tupac ‘Dear Mama’ Lyrics Up for Sale, TMZ, March 20, 2017.

March 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

In a World Where Your Boss Is Half Your Age

Young bossToday, companies are looking to fill their management roles with people who are “digital natives,” normally millennials and Gen X-ers. All the while, baby boomers are staying on the job longer, and retirees are looking for a second act and rejoining the ranks. Consequently, these older generations will be answering to managers much younger than them. In fact, a recent study found that 38% of American workers had a younger boss. Further, research shows that older workers are less responsive to their younger bosses because it is difficult to adjust to such power rankings. Rightfully so, our technology-oriented society has made it more difficult for older workers to adapt to the ever-changing workplace flow. We just have to figure out how to make it work.

See Joanne Kaufman, When the Boss Is Half Your Age, N.Y. Times, March 17, 2017.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

March 20, 2017 in Current Events, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)