Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

More Alzheimer's Deaths Occurring at Home

Brain_slicesAlzheimer’s deaths increased by more than 50% from 1999 to 2014 in the US. These numbers are expected to rise given America’s aging population and increasing life expectancy. While the number of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s has gone up, the number of these individuals being treated in a medical facility has actually declined. Over the same fifteen-year period, Alzheimer’s sufferers being treated in a medical facility fell from 14.7% in 1999 to 6.6% in 2014. Many of these individuals are instead being cared for at home with family supervision. Considering the burden placed on these families, it is likely they would benefit from services such as respite care and case management. This trend of taking Alzheimer’s sufferers into the home in lieu of a medical facility will likely continue as the debilitating disease is expected to affect 13.8 million adults over 65 by 2050.

See Julie Steenhuysen, U.S. Alzheimer's Deaths Jump 54 percent; Many Increasingly Dying at Home, Reuters, May 25, 2017.

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

May 27, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Joliet Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor Finally Will Be Laid to Rest

FuneralAfter more than 75 years, Michael Galajdik, killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor while aboard the USS Oklahoma, will finally reach his ultimate resting place. Galajdik, a Navy Fireman 1st Class, will be buried at Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood. Through the use of DNA and dental records, the Navy was able to successfully identify the previously unidentified corpse. George Sternisha, Galajkik’s nephew, will travel with the body from Hawaii to Joliet. Sternisha recalls his mother’s desire to bury her brother. Despite her passage in 1993, he is still happy to be able to fulfill her wish.

Ginger Dudek, a resident of Joliet, was concerned the funeral route would be bare. But, with the aid of social media, she was able to elicit a powerful response from the local community. Dudek asked residents to volunteer to line the streets as the funeral procession traversed its route. Calls soon came in with offers of aid. Dudek expressed her amazement and gratitude for those who were willing to honor the memory of Galajdik and his sacrifice.

See Alicia Fabber, Joliet Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor Finally Will Be Laid to Rest, Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2017.

May 26, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Walking May Help with Dementia

Brain A new study indicates that exercise may bolster the brain function and thinking skills of people afflicted with a certain type of dementia. Vascular cognitive impairment, the second most frequent form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, is caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. The condition typically stems from damaged blood vessels and is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease.

In the early stages of the disease, the brain begins to function less efficiently. Areas of the brain associated with memory, attention, and decision-making show increased levels of neural activity. The damaged brain is being forced to work harder when dealing with routine processes relative to a normal, healthy brain. Researchers at the University of British Columbia decided to see if moderate exercise might potentially alleviate these symptoms. The researchers divided previously sedentary volunteers afflicted with the disease into two groups: a group that would begin working out for one hour at the lab three times a week, and another that would remain inactive.

At the end of six months, members of the exercise group showed less activation in the portions of their brains required for attention and rapid decision-making than did the control group. While the differences were subtle, the results of the study were encouraging.

See Gretchen Reynolds, A 1-Hour Walk, 3 Times a Week, Has Benefits for Dementia, N.Y. Times, May 24, 2017.

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

May 26, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fans Mourn Chris Cornell's Passing

ChrisCornellChris Cornell, best known as lead vocalist for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, was cremated this past Tuesday. Those present included a small and select group of family and friends. The memorial service will be held on Friday and is also intended only for close friends and family. After the ashes are buried, fans will be allowed to enter Hollywood Forever cemetery in order to pay their respects. Officials at the cemetery are expecting a huge crowd after the service. Cornell joins legends like Mikey Rooney and Mel Blanc, who have also been laid to rest at the site.

See Chris Cornell Cremated, Private Service Planned but Fans Not Forgotten, TMZ, May 24, 2017.

May 25, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Estate Planning Enchiridion

NV-PeoplesBranchThe Estate Planning Enchiridion of Rushforth, Lee & Kiefer, LLP, contains up-to-date news on both trust and estate legislation in the great state of Nevada. Assembly Bill 314 passed both houses and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor shortly. This bill serves to clarify a number of Nevada laws relating to trusts and estates including clarifications in the probate code, court jurisdiction, and creditor’s claims against nonprobate assets. Assembly Bill 239 is expected to become effective in early October. This bill declares the law in respect to a decedent’s digital assets; this includes access to online financial sites and social media. Assembly Bill 413, if passed, would revise Nevada law dealing with certain electronic documents, including electronic wills. But, while not dead, Bill 413 has stalled in the Assembly and its passage is questionable.

See Layne T. Rushforth, Estate Planning News: Law Updates, Estate Planning Enchiridion of Rushforth, Lee & Kiefer, LLP, May 23, 2017.

May 25, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

I've Got Not So Much to Give

BarryBarry White’s son, Darryl White, is alleging that his father’s widow, Glodean White, is wasting monies left in trust on an opulent lifestyle. After his father’s death, Darryl agreed to forgo looking at the will in exchange for a promise from Glodean that she would continue to support him. The arrangement apparently worked until 2015. Now penniless, Darryl is filing suit so he examine the will to determine what his father actually left him.

See Barry White's Son Suing Late Singer's Estate and Widow, TMZ, May 24, 2017.

May 25, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Fiduciary Rule Guidance from US Labor Department

US Dept LaborThe U.S. Labor Department has released new fiduciary rule guidance on their website. The rules affect financial advisors, retirement plan sponsors, and individual workers and retirees. This release comes in advance of the June 9 applicability date.

See New Fiduciary Rule Guidance from US Labor Department, United States Department of Labor, May 22, 2017.

May 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Making Friends with Fido

PuppyThe Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization, conducts oncology research and education. The Institute is currently interested in designing and implementing a pet therapy program. The program would reach out primarily to children and the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. The overall goal of the program is to relieve some of the tension and stress experienced by susceptible demographics when moved into new and strange environments.

The dogs participating in the program must pass through certification and training to act as therapy dogs. The volunteers offering their pets for services must also undergo training, background checks, and certification in order to participate in the program.

The question for The Institute was whether the contemplated service would fall under an exempt purpose under the IRC. Prior rulings have determined that non-medical services, like reading to patients to improve their mental state, do qualify as carrying out an exempt purpose. Additionally, because the elderly are more immunologically susceptible to high levels of distress, alleviating this heightened emotional state may also qualify as an exempt purpose. In the instant case, the IRS considered the purpose of the program and ruled that lessening distress in hospital patients was, indeed, a charitable purpose.

See Dawn S. Markowitz, Making Friends with Fido, Wealth Management, May 17, 2017.

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

May 23, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michael Jackson's Estate Poised for Suit

502536-michael-jackson-617-409Both Lifetime and Netflix have soon-to-be-released movies with Michael Jackson as their centerpiece. While it may be unthinkable to release a cinematic depiction of the beloved pop star absent his unique music balancing the soundtrack, the networks would be better off without. Neither program has been officially authorized by Jackson’s estate. Given this, there are attorneys waiting on the sidelines to see if either film uses any unauthorized materials. The estate representatives have not seen the movies as of yet, so no action is currently underway. This circumstance may change by Monday.

See Michael Jackson Estate: Hey, Lifetime & Netflix...Make Your Movies, Just No MJ Tunes, TMZ, May 22, 2017.

May 23, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Thief Steals Hearse

Hearse-CamperThis past Friday, Bryan police officers found themselves handling a macabre case. At a local McDonald’s on Friday morning, a funeral home employee parked a loaded hearse and left it unattended. Taking advantage of the abandoned vehicle, a thief jumped in and drove away. The thief, upon finding he was riding with an unwelcome passenger, dumped the body on the side of the road. The body was eventually reported found and returned to the funeral home. Police are still looking for the hearse. 

See Erica Young, Thief Steals Hearse, Dumps Body in Bryan, Police Say, Click 2 Houston, May 19, 2017.

May 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)