Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Woman Claims to be Prince's Half-Sister

Prince's siblingsAfter Monday’s court hearing to determine Prince’s heirs, a woman is claiming to be Prince’s half-sister, alleging that his father is not his biological father. Venita Jackson Leverette claims that her and Prince share the same father, a man that was previously in a relationship with Prince’s mother. A DNA test could be permitted, but the Minnesota judge has already determined that this process will be lengthy.

See Chris Spargo, New Woman Stakes Her Claim for Slice of Prince’s $300 Million Estate as she Claims to be His Half-Sister, Alleging the Singer Was Actually the Son of His Mother’s Ex-Boyfriend, Daily Mail, June 28, 2016.

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

June 29, 2016 in Current Events, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

No Rush to Determine Prince's Heirs

Prince5The Minnesota judge overseeing Prince’s estate is in no hurry to determine the heirs to Prince’s $300 million fortune. His sister, five half-siblings, and several others have laid claim to a cut of his fortune. On Monday, there was a hearing to decide the methodology for determining heirs, and the judge noted that this could be a long process with potential legal guidance being sought from a higher court.

See Judge in ‘No Hurry’ to Determine Prince’s Heir in $300 Million Estate Case, Fox News, June 27, 2016.

June 28, 2016 in Current Events, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sacramento County Reports a Surge of Elder Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuseReports of elder financial abuse in Sacramento County surged to 72% as the public gained awareness of this type of crime and the baby boomer population increased. Technology has made it easier to take advantage of victims with declining mental and physical fitness. Sacramento County, however, reinstated their financial abuse unit in January 2015, hoping to alleviate the problem. The unit’s social workers have developed expertise in the financial abuse area and will have handled approximately 150 cases since June 2015. 

See Brad Branan, Reports of Elder Financial Abuse Surge in Sacramento County, Sacramento Bee, June 25, 2016.

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

June 27, 2016 in Current Events, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Rules No Media Allowed in Prince's Upcoming Probate Hearing

Prince19The judge overseeing Prince’s estate case will not allow media company attorneys to intervene in the upcoming hearing. He denied the media’s request for the Monday probate hearing to determine inheritance rights but left open the possibility for later access. With suspenseful paternity questions waiting to be addressed, several documents were filed under seal. The balance between the public’s right to access and confidentiality presents several legal questions for the rest of the battle over Prince’s $300 million estate.

See Prince Estate Judge: No Cameras at Monday Hearing, USA Today, June 25, 2016.

June 27, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Same-Sex Marriages Triple Four Years After Supreme Court Victory

Gay marriageLGBT Americans are rushing to the alter more than ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling four years ago, forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marraige. In fact, a survey found that the percentage of married LGBT respondents was more than triple from 2012. The percentage of LGBT respondents with children has also grown—from 23% to 36% for lesbians and from 7% to 15% for gay men.

The main focus of the study was the “LGBT financial experience.” LGBT couples used to face discrimination in areas like taxes, estate planning, and retirement planning. Many of these problems have been resolved by recognizing same-sex unions.

See Ben Steverman, Gay Marriages Triple After Four Years of Victories, Bloomberg, June 24, 2016.

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

June 26, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Inmate Will Not Share in Prince's $300 Million Estate

Prince33The judge overseeing Prince’s estate is not allowing cameras in an upcoming hearing to determine possible heir claims. According to the law, the media and public may also be banned from the hearing if the court pursues specific paternity matters. We now know, however, that Carlin Williams, an inmate serving eight years for unlawful transportation of a firearm, is not a potential heir after a DNA test came back with a 0% chance of relation. The prisoner will not share in any of Prince’s $300 million estate as paternity questions continue to arise. 

See Prince Is Not the Father of Man Serving Time in Prison According to DNA Results that Bar the Convicted Felon from Inheriting Any Part of $300 Million Estate, Daily Mail, June 22, 2016.

June 23, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michael Jackson's Estate Attempts to Shut Down Media Buzz on Recently Released Police Reports

Michael jacksonMichael Jackson’s estate attempted to shut down the media buzz surrounding a 2003 police report that was released detailing the singer’s pornography collection. The estate worries that this hype is undermining the upcoming anniversary of Jackson’s death. Photos of the investigation into child sexual assault were also released but quickly taken down. The police records, however, reveal Jackson’s alleged pornography collection; however, these records seem to be mixed with misguided information from the Internet.

See Michael Jackson’s Estate Fights Back at Report Detailing Singer’s Creepy Porn Stash, Fox News, June 22, 2016.

June 23, 2016 in Current Events, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Academy Looks to Stop the Sale of Whitney Houston's Emmy Award

Whitney houston emmyEmmy executives are trying to block the sale of Whitney Houston’s 1986 Emmy award, claiming that all winners sign an agreement that requires heirs to release the award back to the Academy in memory of the recipient. Whitney’s estate is trying to sell the award through Heritage Auctions, who has demanded proof of Whitney’s signature on that agreement. Heritage expects to sell the award for upwards of $10,000.

See Whitney Houston Emmy Battle Heading for Court, TMZ, June 22, 2016.

June 22, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Court Finds No Informal Fiduciary Relationship

Caregiver beneficiaryIn Garrett v. First State Bank of Central Texas, a Texas court of appeals decided on a dispute over the ownership of a decedent’s account. The decedent’s estate and caregiver both claimed the account proceeds. The caregiver was a signatory on the decedent’s money market account, and she claimed that the decedent had expressed his wishes for the account to pass to her upon his death. The trial court, however, ruled that her signature did not make her the beneficiary of the account rather just a signatory to pay bills. The court of appeals affirmed the trials court’s finding because often Texas courts are hesitant to find informal fiduciary relationships.

See J. Michael Young, Garrett v. First State Bank of Central Texas: No Informal Fiduciary Relationship, Texas Probate Litigation, June 20, 2016.

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

June 22, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Update on What Percentage of Americans Have Out-of-Date Wills

Old willA survey by USLegalWills.com has concluded that 72% of Americans do not have an up-to-date will. This percentage in years past has been under-reported, and now, the current data derives from 63% of Americans not having a will, a previously reported statistic, and 9% of Americans having an out-of-date will, a newly published statistic. The 9% have wills that were written before their major life events, like getting married or having children. Particularly, one in four senior citizens has an out-of-date will, which is the highest ratio across age groups, but they are also most likely to have an up-to-date will.

See US Survey Reveals that 72% of Americans Do Not Have an Up-to-Date Will, ABCNewswire, June 21, 2016.

Special thanks to Matthew Fernandez for bringing this Article to my attention.

June 22, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)