Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Judge Finds James Brown Was Married When He Died

James BrownAs I have previously discussed, a legal battle over James Brown's estate centered around Brown's marital status at the time he died has been ongoing since 2007. Tomi Rae Hynie Brown, who was not included in Brown's will, claimed to be his surviving spouse, but that claim was challenged based on her being already married at the time she and Brown were wed.

In In re the Estate of James Brown, Judge Doyet Early III held that Hynie Brown was legally married to Brown at his death his 2006, because her previous marriage was annulled due to it being found void based on bigamy, as her previous husband was already married.

See Meg Mirshak, Tomi Rae Hynie Brown Ruled James Brown Widow, The Augusta Chronicle, Jan. 27, 2015.

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

January 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back Yard Burials in UK, Calls for Social Reform of Funeral Costs

CemeteryThe rising cost of funerals in the UK is resulting in poor families going into debt or turning to self remedies such as burying their loved ones in their backyard, according to Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck. Lewell-Buck introduced a bill that calls for a review of the issue of funeral poverty and would introduce a simple funeral concept into the funeral payments social fund system. The average funeral cost is currently £3,551, and a report by the Royal London insurance company revealed that one-in-five families that face the loss of a loved one are incurring debt from the funeral expenses.

See Press Association, Rising Funeral Costs 'Causing People to Bury Loved Ones in Back Garden', The Guardian, Dec. 9, 2014.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Law Office of Lewis J. Saret, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 23, 2015 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rich Expected to Get Richer

BagA large world-wide wealth transfer is expected over the next 30 years according to a recent report released last week by Wealth-X and NFP Family Wealth Transfer. The expected $16 trillion dollars to pass to the next generation in the next three decades, and $6 trillion in the U.S., is expected to create newly ultra-rich individuals, with proper planning, suggests the report. The report's authors warn that since over half of the world's ultra rich are self-made, it is important that they also pass down the values and work ethic to their children that got them to where they are. The report also warns that proper estate planning is a must as up to half of the next generation's inheritance could go to inheritance taxes.

See PW Staff, Rich Families Set to Transfer $16 Trillion, Financial Advisor, Jan. 16, 2015.

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

January 20, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Supreme Court Agrees to Decide On Gay Marriage

Supreme court gay marriage

On Friday the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether all 50 states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. 

Largely as a consequence of the Supreme Court’s failure to act in October, the number of states allowing same-sex marriage has since grown to 36, and more than 70 percent of Americans live in places where gay couples can marry. 

The Court said it would hear two and a half hours of argument in the last week of April.  The first 90 minutes will be appropriated to the question of whether the Constitution requires states “to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.”  The last hour will address whether states must “recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.” 

Many observers believe the Court will establish a nationwide constitutional right to same sex-marriage.  However, the Court often navigates with caution in this area. 

See Adam Liptak, Supreme Court to Decide Whether Gays Nationwide Can Marry, The New York Times, Jan. 16, 2015.

January 17, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Huge Worldwide Wealth Transfer Coming

BagAccording to a recently published report, the world's ultra-rich, those with worth at or over $30 million, are expected to pass $16 trillion through inheritance to their younger family members over the next 30 years. The Wealth-X and NFP Family Wealth Transfers Report also estimates that charitable donations will make up $300 billion of wealth transferred over that time. The report frames the huge wealth transfer as a beneficial event to the global economy as it will spread out the current concentration of wealth being held by a small percentage of the world's population, and will encourage the younger generation to invest their inheritance.

See Andrew Soergel, World's Super Wealthy to Transfer $16 Trillion in Inheritance Over Next 30 Years, US News, Jan. 14, 2015.

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

January 16, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Accused Murderer May Inherit Trust Fund

JailThomas Gilbert Jr. is facing murder charges for allegedly shooting his father early this year over a dispute involving Gilbert Jr.'s monthly allowance being reduced by his millionaire father, Thomas Gilbert Sr. The trust fund is estimated to include $1.6 million in funds and Gilbert Sr.'s will named Gilbert Jr. along with his sister and mother as beneficiaries. While a guilty verdict may prevent Gilbert Jr. from receiving the funds, he may still inherit through a successful insanity plea and the estate may still be petitioned to pay his legal defense fees.

See, Son Accused of Killing Hedge Fund Founder Dad Stands to Inherit Part of $1.6M Estate, Fox News, Jan. 15, 2015.

Special thanks to Kristen Vander-Plas (Candidate for Doctor of Jurisprudence 2016, Texas Tech University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

MLK Bible and Nobel Peace Prize Case Continues

MLKAs I have previously discussed, the fate of the Bible and 1964 Nobel Peace Prize of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is currently being decided in an Atlanta court. The dispute is between  Kings' sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King who want the historic possessions returned to King's estate, and King's daughter Bernice King, who had possession of the items before turning them over to the court. Counsel for Bernice King expressed at a Tuesday hearing on the case that the Bible and Peace Prize should not be sold by the estate due to their importance to King's legacy, and Dexter King has framed the dispute as a "business issue" in a recent media interview. Fulton County superior court judge Robert McBurney decided on Tuesday to not yet rule on the case, and the battle over the possessions continues with a trial scheduled to begin in February.

See Tom McCarthy, Martin Luther King: How a Bible and Nobel Medal Have Split His Family, The Guardian, Jan. 13, 2015.

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

January 14, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teen Facing Death Penalty For Murder of Family Begins Prison Sentence for Separate Crime

CrimeAs I have previously discussed, last October, 19-year-old Alan Hruby was charged with the murder of his parents and sister after telling police he killed them to receive an inheritance by collecting on a life-insurance policy. Prior to the murders, Hruby was in a delayed sentencing program after pleading guilty to using his grandmother's name to fraudulently open a credit card. His delayed sentence has been revoked, and he has been move to the Department of Corrections’ facility in Lexington to serve a three-year sentence for that crime.

See Associated Press & Louise Boyle, Teenage Son 'Who Murdered His Parents and Sister for Inheritance' Begins Three-Year Sentence for Opening a Credit Card in Grandmother's Name, Daily Mail, Jan. 12, 2015.

January 13, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Article on Artwork in Disputes

AntiquesLeila Alexandra Amineddoleh (Fordham University School of Law, St. John's University) recently published an article entitled, Artwork in Disputes, Family Law Newsletter, Boston Bar Association, Fall 2014. Provided below is the abstract from SSRN:

As with the passing of all testate and intestate property, the distribution of artwork can be accompanied with controversy and family disputes. These disputes cover a wide range of objects, from antiquities and musical instruments to Nazi-looted art. This short article primarily focuses on disputes involving art objects looted during World War II.

January 9, 2015 in Articles, Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Same-Sex Couples Gather at Florida Courthouses for Wedding Ceremonies

RingsMany same-sex marriages, including large multi-couple ceremonies, have been held in Florida this week after the temporary stay was lifted on a Federal district court ruling that the state ban was unconstitutional and a clarifying ruling by that court that the ruling applies to all counties in the state. The first same-sex marriage ceremony was held in Miami-Dade by a state judge on Monday night, and the ruling requiring all county clerks to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples went into effect on Tuesday. Some county clerks, such as Broward County clerk of courts Howard C. Forman who led a five-minute ceremony for 20 couples in the early hours of Tuesday morning, are positively embracing the change. Other counties, such as Duval County, have responded by no longer conducting any courthouse weddings. Florida is the 36th state that legally recognizes same-sex marriages.

See Lizette Alvarez & Nila Do Simon, Same-Sex Pairs in Florida Say Jubilant 'I Dos', The New York Times, Jan. 6, 2014

January 8, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)