Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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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)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Texas Attorney General Asks For Same-Sex Marriage Voided

Law RingsAs I have previously discussed, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a stay on same-sex marriages in the state last Thursday per the request of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. On Friday Paxton made a request to the court to void the first same-sex marriage in Texas since the state passed its gay marriage ban, which was performed last Thursday. Paxton expressed that allowing the marriage license to  be valid would result in "legal chaos." Paxton's full filing to the Supreme Court of Texas can be seen here.

See Mark Berman, Texas Attorney General Asks State Supreme Court to Void Same-Sex Marriage License, The Washington Post, Feb. 20, 2015.

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

February 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nepal Considering Same-Sex Marriage

Law RingsThe report released last week by Nepal's same-sex marriage committee is the result of research and discussion over the past four years. The government appointed national committee recommended legalizing same-sex marriage in the country and removing provisions from the Criminal and Civil Code that discriminate against same-sex individuals. If the Nepalese government follows the recommendations by changing the law on same-sex marriage, Nepal would be the first country in south Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriages.

See Francesca Washtell, Nepal Set to Become the First South Asian Country to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage, The Independent, Feb. 17, 2015.

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Right to Die Lawsuit Filed in California

Gavel2Six plaintiffs have filed a complaint in a San Francisco, California state court seeking clarification of the state's assisted suicide statute and an injunction against prosecution of the plaintiffs if they seek or provide medication  to end the life of a mentally competent and terminally ill patient. Three of the plaintiffs have cancer, which is currently in remission, and two of those three are doctors. The remaining three plaintiffs are doctors.

See Maria Dinzeo, Cancer Patients Sue California for Right to Die, Courthouse News Service, Feb. 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.

February 13, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Impressionist Painting Looted by Nazis Sells at Auction

Maurice_de_vlaminck_la_voile_blanche_a_bougival_d5868983hThe cloud over a painting by noted Impressionist painter Maurice de Vlaminck has finally lifted seven decades after being looted by Nazi troops. The painting, La Voile Blanche à Bougival, was stolen from the gallery of Joseph Bernheim-Jeune just after the fall of Paris in 1940 and eventually found its way onto the international art market.

But in the late 1970’s the heirs of Bernheim-Jeune spotted the lost work and began a multi-decade long quest to gain title to the valuable piece. After a series of public and private transactions through the 80’s and 90’s the heirs and current owner reached an agreement that would end the long battle over rightful ownership.

The painting recently sold at Christie’s Auction House in New York for $227,433 and brought to a close one more controversy from a troubled era in Western history.

See Eileen Kinsella, Nazi Looted Vlaminck Sold at Christie's Ending Decades of Controversy, Artnet News, Feb. 5, 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 10, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 9, 2015

AEG Victory in Michael Jackson Case Affirmed

JacksonAfter the death of Michael Jackson in June of 2009, Katherine Jackson, Jackson's mother, sued the promoter agency AEG Live for negligence and breach of contract in connection to them hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's doctor at the time of his death. After a jury heard five-months worth of evidence they found for AEG, and Katherine appealed.

In Jackson v. AEG Live, LLC, a California appeals court affirmed the jury verdict, finding that AEG did not breach any duty to Jackson.

See Tim Hull, Appellate Victory for AEG Live on King of Pop's Death, Courthouse News Reporter, Jan. 30, 2015.

February 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)