Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kidney Catastrophe

 

MalpracticeIn 2013, Christine Clark underwent months of testing so that she could donate her kidney to a longtime friend with end-stage renal disease.  On July 2, 2013, almost an hour after doctors removed Clark’s kidney, they put her friend under anesthesia to receive the transplant.  Her friend had been under anesthesia for two hours when the hospital canceled the surgery.  Clark says doctors stopped the transplant because she had tested positive for hepatitis C. 

Clark and her husband subsequently filed a complaint in the Dauphin County Court of the Common Pleas, claiming the failure to perform the correct test in time “caused catastrophic consequences.”  The complaint further stated, “had appropriate protocols been established and/or followed, the intended recipient would have received plaintiff’s harvested kidney . . . Instead, they purportedly donated the kidney to a hepatitis C-positive patient at a different facility and obtained financial gain and prestige for said transplant.”

Having never received an explanation from the hospital about the failure of the transplant, Clark says the loss of her kidney has left her with various injuries including low blood pressure, nerve damage, scarring and humiliation.  She and her husband are seeking punitive damages from the hospital, Central Pennsylvania Transplant Foundation Inc., and its doctors and nurses for negligence, misrepresentation, and battery. 

See Lana Morelli, Kidney Donor Says Surgery Was a Disaster, Courthouse News Service, March 24, 2015.

March 25, 2015 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Malpractice, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Large South African Estate Faces Complicated Estate Process After Brutal Murders

Gavel BWThe two surviving children of a couple murdered at their South African home in January may inherit a large portion of the R200 million estate. The children, Marli van Breda, 16, and Henri van Breda, 20, lost their parents and older brother in a violent attack in the family's home. Marli survived the attack though she was badly injured and left for dead, and is currently being guarded by police while she recovers in a rehabilitation center. Henri is living with his uncle, who was appointed as guardian of both children. A criminal defense team has been organized for Henri, who called for help on the night of the murders over three hours after the attacks, and said that an intruder armed with an axe attacked him and his family.

Due to the complicated nature of the tragic situation and depending on the outcome of the investigation, wrapping up the estate could take years. The length of time will depend on whether an heir is arrested for the murders, which postpones the process until the case is resolved. Though suspicion of a potential arrest in the future does not postpone the process.

See Shanaaz Eggington, Axe-Murder Kids in Line to Inherit R200m Estate, Press Reader, March 15, 2015.

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

March 18, 2015 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Google CFO Retires

Google_web_searchGoogle CFO Patrick Pichette recently announced that he will be taking an early retirement at the age of 52, after seven years with the renowned company known for its search engine. Pichette was inspired while on a trip with his wife and viewing the beauty of a sunrise on Mount Kilimanjaro  to retire, which he describes as a "perfectly fine mid life crisis full of bliss and beauty." With his children out of the house pursuing their own endeavors, Pichette plans to spend his time traveling with his wife. Travel locations planned include Antarctica and Mount Everest.

See Alyssa Newcomb, Google CFO Patrick Pichette's Goodbye Note Will Make You Dream of Quitting Your Job, ABC News, March 11, 2015.

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

March 13, 2015 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Benson Family Feud

Gavel BWAs I have previously discussed, Tom Benson, owner of two New Orleans sports teams, is battling challenges against his mental competence and ability to run his business. The challenges come from his daughter, Renee Benson, and two grandchildren. The dispute centers on deeply personal issues with each side stating a contrasting view of their motivations. Renee and her children expressed in their filings that their case was motivated by a desire to protect Benson from the manipulations of his current wife. While Benson has alluded that his daughter and grandchildren were unable to get along with his wife and were creating family strife. The legal battle does not only have deeply personal roots for the Benson family, but also for the teams' fans. The lawsuit is a frequent topic on sports radio and the talk-of-town.

See Ken Belson, A Messy Family Battle for New Orleans Teams, The New York Times, March 6, 2015.

 

March 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 6, 2015

New Suit Alleging Nazis Forced Art Dealers to Sell Artifacts Under Duress

AntiquesA lawsuit seeking return of a collection of artifacts, some dating back over 1,000 years, was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The claims are brought by heirs of Jewish art dealers that claim that in 1935 their ancestors were forced to sell the "Welfenschatz" collection to Nazis under duress and under-valued. The collection's current estimated value is between $225 million and $275 million, and was recently designated as a national cultural asset by the German government.

See Leila Boulton, Germany Sued Over Medieval Artifacts Sold to Nazis, Private Wealth, March 3, 2015.

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

March 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Webinar on Same Sex Marriage

CLEThe ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law is presenting a non-CLE free webinar entitled, Same Sex Marriage On the Cusp: Remaining Issues of Non-recognition and Guesses about the Future, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 12:30- 1:30 PM ET.  Here is why you should attend:

Speakers:

  • Professor Amy Morriss Hess, University of Tennessee
  • William P. LaPiana, Rita and Joesph Solomon Professor of Willis, Trusts, and Estates and Director of Estate Planning Studies Graduate Tax Program, New York Law Law School
  • Lee-Ford Tritt, Professor of Law; Director, Center for Estate Planning, Director, Estates &   Trusts Practice Certificate Program; and Associate Director, Center on Children and Families, Levin College of Law, University of Florida

This program will deal with a number of important recent developments for those who advise and plan for same-sex couples.  The speakers will then discuss several questions that remain and attempt to predict their most likely answers.

The speakers’ first topic will be geography: where same-sex marriage is and is not legally possible and the meaning of the cases to be argued before the United States Supreme Court this spring. Next, Professors LaPiana and Tritt will address the state of federal recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples—which agencies use a place of celebration standard and which use a place of residence standard, with special emphasis on the latest regulations dealing with the Federal Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Social Security Administration’s recognition of marriage equivalents that give inheritance rights.  Finally, the speakers will outline the transition issues will have to be faced in those states where same-sex marriage is still illegal, assuming that the result of this spring’s litigation before the Supreme Court is nationwide recognition.

March 5, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Three Parent Babies Opposed by EU MEPs

LawAs I have previously discussed, in early February Britain's House of Commons voted in favor of a bill that would allow the genetic modification of babies to prevent birth defects, which would result in the children having the DNA of three individuals.  In response, 50 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voiced their concern over the proposed law through a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. The letter describes the procedure as a violation of human dignity and that the "proposals violate the fundamental standards of human dignity and integrity of the person. Modification of the genome is unethical and cannot be permitted."

See Sarah Knapton, Three Parent Babies: Britain Has Breached EU Law, MEPs Warn, The Telegraph, Feb. 21, 2015.

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

March 4, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Learning From the Estate Problems of Robin Williams

Robin WIlliams BlogAs I have previously discussed, in spite of thorough planning, the estate of Robin Williams faces additional legal action from Susan Williams, the spouse of the late actor. The issues at the forefront concern a fund to pay for the upkeep of the home left to Mrs. Williams and the disposition of Mr. Williams' various collectable items. However, these problems may be avoided by remembering the following tips:

  • Specify who gets what item, particularly when the testator has a large or valuable collection of memorabilia.
  • Gather all the heirs for a meeting to make sure everyone is clear on the property distribution.
  • Bring in professional witnesses during the planning process to raise questions about potential problems and conflicts that might face the estate.
  • Include a will provision that will deter potential heirs from challenging the estate plan.

See Tom Nawrocki, Lessons From the Robin Williams' Estate Plan Mess, Life Health Pro, Feb. 25, 2015.

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

March 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leonard Nimoy Passes Away

Leonard_NimoyAt 83 years  of age, beloved actor Leonard Nimoy has passed away. The actor well known for his role as Star Treks' Mr. Spock passed away Friday from lung disease. Nimoy is survived by his wife and two children. His estate is a estimated to be valued at $45 million.

See William Rameau, Leonard Nimoy Net Worth, Heirs: Star Trek's Mr. Spock Survived by Wife Susan, CHildren Julie and Adam, Breathe Cast, Feb. 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.

March 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rights and Obligations of Sperm Donors for Same-Sex Couples

BabyRecent case involving sperm donors for lesbian couples gaining visitation rights and being ordered by courts to pay child support raises important legal questions on the current law involving rights of donors and paternity presumptions.

It can be difficult for couples that acquire the help of a sperm donor to birth children to keep the donor out of the child's life if strict procedures, such as going through a sperm bank, are not followed, which can be very expensive. Even lesbian couple's in states that recognize their union, face additional difficulty than opposite-sex married couples due to the presumption of paternity not being applied to either female parent. However, California has interpreted its paternity presumption broadly and has allowed the presumption to attach to one member of a same-sex couple.

See John Culhane, Sperm Donors are Winning Visitation Rights, Slate, Feb. 20, 2015.

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

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