Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Using Marriage as Deciding Factor for Death Benefits Ruled Unconstitutional in Alaska

GavelAfter the tragic death of Kerry Fadely, who was murdered while working a shift as a manager at Millennium Hotel, her same-sex partner Deborah Harris filed for workers compensation death benefits. Harris’s claim was denied because she wasn’t married to Fadely, which was based on the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board's interpretation of “widow” in the statute. The couple had been together for over ten years and shared responsibility for bills and raising their children.

In Harris v. Millennium Hotel, the Alaska Supreme Court overruled the denial of the death benefits. The court reasoned that using marriage as the test for awarding the death benefits was a violation of equal protection, and the case was remanded.

See Stephanie Goldberg, Same-Sex Partner of Murdered Woman Due Comp Death Benefits: Alaska High Court, Business Insurance, July 29, 2014.

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

July 31, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Article on Midsummer’s Madness-2014: The Tragic Case of Casey Kasem

CrazyRobert L. Moshman, recently published an article entitled, Midsummer’s Madness-2014: The Tragic Case of Casey Kasem, The Estate Analyst, July 28, 2014. Provided below is the introduction to the article:

Once more into the breach as we embark on what has become our annual journey to Crazy Town in a quest to cover inexplicable developments that strain reason, challenge credulity, and burst free from the shackles of logic. Once again, there is an abundance of material fitting this description.

This collection reviews the recent developments in the estate of Casey Kasem, a 164% estate tax hazard inside New York’s new estate tax law, slayers successfully suing their victims, a lawsuit by the estate of John “Duke” Wayne against Duke University, and some surprising potential hazards of using a software program for writing a will.

July 31, 2014 in Articles, Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Florida Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down

RingsA Florida State judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Friday on equal protection and due process grounds. The ruling mirrored the reasoning of other state and federal courts to strike down similar state bans, including the reasoning that the only purpose for such a law is discrimination and thus not a legitimate governmental purpose. The ruling has been stayed pending an appeal by Florida Attorney General.

See, Same-Sex Marriage: Florida Ruling Adds to List of Defeats for State Ban, The Guardian, July 25, 2014.

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

July 28, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Assisted Dying Bill Being Debated by House of Lords

Health LawAs I have previously discussed, the House of Lords is currently considering legislation to change assisted dying laws, which if passed would allow doctors to assist terminally ill patients to die. Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill is being carefully debated, and nearly 130 speakers shared their thoughts and stories on the topic. The debate is split by those that believe this bill is a compassionate response to individuals near death dealing with serious and painful illnesses, and those that have concerns about abuse of the practice or religious beliefs that oppose the practice.

See John Bingham & Matthew Holehouse, Assisted Dying: The Day the House of Lords Bared Its Soul, The Telegraph, July 18, 2014.

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

July 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Church of England Supports Review of Assisted Dying Law

Church of EnglandAs I have previously discussed, the House of Lords is currently considering legislation that would change the assisted dying laws. If passed, the new law would allow doctors to assist terminally ill patients to die through the use of prescription drugs. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, sent shock waves through the community when he wrote an article for a newspaper in support of passing an assisted dying law. The church is not officially advocating the new legislation, but rather expressing support for a review of the issues surrounding the assisted dying debate through a royal commission.

See John Bingham, Church of England Calls For Review on Assisted Dying, The Telegraph, July 12, 2014.

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

July 14, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Indiana and Wisconsin Same-Sex Marriage Cases to be Appealed Together

Marriage CaseWisconsin’s general has filed to appeal the decision by a federal judge that struck down Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban. The case has been combined with a similar case from Indiana, and the United States Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit has ordered that briefs be filed for the combined case by August 4, 2014 and has not yet scheduled oral arguments.

See Associated Press, Appeals Court Joins Indiana, Wisconsin Gay Marriage Cases, WSBT, July 11, 2014.

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

July 13, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Issued in Denver & Boulder

FlagAfter the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban in June, Boulder's County Clerk, Hillary Hall, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Colorado’s Attorney General brought suit to stop Hall from issueing licenses and claiming that they are invalid under state law. A Boulder district judge denied the AG’s request since Hall, while engaging in civil disobediance, is not causing the state any harm. Now, the Denver County Clerk has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as well.

See Sunnivie Brydum, Denver Now Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses, Advocate, July 10, 2014.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Donald Sterling’s Emotional Trial Testimony

SterlingAs I have previously discussed, Donald and Shelly Sterling are currently in court battling over the sale of the Clippers and the decision by doctors on Donald’s mental fitness. When Donald took the stand on Tuesday, he was anything but a cooperate witness for opposing counsel. He berated the 85-year-old attorney, asking him about is legal experience and criticizing his questions. He also went after the doctors involved in him being declared mentally unfit and the NBA. His angry outbursts were interrupted at least once with crying, but after regaining his composer he continued his angry rant, which lasted nearly an hour.

See Nathan Fenno, Donald Sterling Verbally Attacks NBA, Lawyer in Trial Testimony, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2014.

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

July 10, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Schwartz Estate Settles With Ponzi Scheme Victims

BagFamily members and the estate of Richard Schwartz have settled with ponzi scheme victims for an undisclosed amount. Schwartz claimed to be a wealth manager to steal up to $25 million from victims over the span of 15 years. The settlement will partially compensate the victims involved in the suit, and they plan to continue their lawsuit against additional defendants not involved in the settlement.

See Pat Munsey, Settlements Reached in Schwartz Case, Kokomoperspective.com, July 8, 2014.

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

July 9, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sterling Case Halted

SterlingAs I have previously discussed, Shelly and Donald Sterling were scheduled to have their day in probate court yesterday. However, Donald’s move to try to remove the case to a Federal district court postponed proceedings. Donald is claiming that he had given his wife his consent to negotiate the sale of the Clipper’s, but that she was to maintain a stake, but the deal she negotiated was for a complete sale of the team. Donald is further arguing that his privacy was violated by Shelly under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and thus the case should be removed to Federal court to deal with that Federal statute.

See James Rainey, Tension Between Shelly and Donald Sterling Plays Out in Court Papers, LA Times, July 7, 2014.

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

See Eric Kelsey, Trial Over $2 bln Clippers Sale Waits on Federal Ruling, Reuters, July 7, 2014.

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

July 8, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)