Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

David Cassidy’s Estate Is Sued for $102,000 by Law Firm for Five Years of Unpaid Legal Bills – Putting $150,000 Worth of Assets in Peril

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-12/1352dabd-4c69-4e6a-b81e-bf359e3a516f.pngDavid Cassidy passed away with an estate estimated to be worth about $150,000. Very intentionally excluding his daughter from the will, he left everything to his only son, Beau. Now Cassidy’s former lawyers are suing the estate for $102,000, which represents the remaining balance of over $134,000 in legal fees. Though Cassidy listed the law firm as a creditor when he filed for bankruptcy in 2015, the debt was not discharged.

See Matthew Wright, David Cassidy’s Estate Is Sued for $102,000 by Law Firm for Five Years of Unpaid Legal Bills – Putting $150,000 Worth of Assets in Peril, DailyMail.com, December 9, 2017.

December 12, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Court Adds Seven New Cases To Merits Docket

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-11/e6940245-d8d0-4142-967c-0aea55ef815e.pngThe Supreme Court issued a preliminary set of orders that served to add seven fresh cases to its merits docket. Among them is Sveen v. Melin, a case that involves spouse-beneficiaries and state laws that automatically revoke their beneficiary status upon divorce. The question before the court is whether this is a violation of the Constitution’s contracts clause.

See Amy Howe, Court Adds Seven New Cases To Merits Docket, SCOTUSblog, December 8, 2017.

Special thanks to Paul Cathcart for bringing this article to my attention.

December 11, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Glen Campbell’s Will Doesn’t Include Three of His Eight Children

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-11/38fb5675-84b2-4718-9a05-2afb1e6bcf6e.pngAccording to documents filed in a Nashville court, Glen Campbell excluded his daughter, Kelli, and two sons, William and Wesley, from receiving any benefit from his estate. Campbell fathered a total of eight children over the course of four marriages. The children that were excluded from his will were all from his second marriage to Billie Jean Nunley. Kim Campbell, his fourth wife, is currently serving was the executor of his estate, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $50 million. Given the exclusion of three of Campbell’s children and his history of Alzheimer’s, the January 18 hearing on the filing may be the impetus for a protracted legal battle.   

See Glen Campbell’s Will Doesn’t Include Three of His Eight Children, Fox News, November 30, 2017.

December 11, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

DC Funeral Homes Put on Notice After Attorney General Investigation

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-09/0ca78198-3844-41d0-b3d9-620766ec7931.pngFuneral homes in Washington D.C. operate under a number of laws that both prohibit and compel certain actions. These facilities are not allowed to charge more for a death certificate than the standard fee set by the District. They may not tell customers that they are not allowed to cancel pre-planned funeral contracts or purchase caskets from another location. Funeral homes in D.C. are also required to list their prices and refund any unused portion of insurance money. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and his office have recently cracked down on facilities in the area. Surprisingly, they have issued warnings to almost 25% of the currently operating funeral homes. Racine commented on the situation saying, “When we saw evidence that was clear violation of D.C. law that impacted D.C. residents, we had no choice but to act.”

See Kristi King, DC Funeral Homes Put on Notice After Attorney General Investigation, WTOP, December 5, 2017.

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

December 9, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Charles Manson Grandson Files Probate Docs: Manson’s Body Still on Ice

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-08/93ffe324-a4e8-4302-af3b-f08bc353e2c1.pngCharles Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, filed documents asking a court to appoint a personally selected individual to handle his grandfather’s estate. This creates real potential for a legal battle, as Michael Channels, a long-time acquaintance of Manson, claims that he holds Manson’s valid will that names him executor and beneficiary to the estate. As these post-death dramatics ensue, Manson’s corpse remains in cold storage in prison.

See Charles Manson Grandson Files Probate Docs: Manson’s Body Still on Ice, TMZ, December 8, 2017.

December 8, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

New U.S. Tax Law Could Curb Charitable Donations

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-08/09361590-ed91-4ccb-b048-6b1a812207d4.pngThe tax bill currently meandering its way through Congress may inadvertently impact end-of-year charitable giving. Many taxpayers wait until late December to provide their donations to charity in order to make the timing cut-off for taking a deduction in that tax year. With standard deductions likely going up, these last-minute donors have less incentive to itemize their deductions, which may lead to fewer gifts to charities. The increase and possible abrogation of the estate tax may also negatively affect donations to charity, as fewer high-net-worth taxpayers will be concerned with the tax consequences of passing their estate on to their beneficiaries.

See Beth Pinsker, New U.S. Tax Law Could Curb Charitable Donations, Reuters, November 30, 2017.

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

December 8, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Man’s Tattoo Left Doctors Debating Whether to Save His Life

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-07/986e7391-6920-482c-b499-f415dc422a33.pngA group of doctors at a Florida hospital were recently faced with an odd set of circumstances. An unidentified 70-year-old patient with serious prior health issues and a high blood alcohol level came in with a tattoo on his chest that read, “Do Not Resuscitate”. At first, the medical team chose to ignore the instructions given the ambiguity of the notation. But, after speaking with the hospital’s ethics consultant, they decided to stop treatment. Fortunately, hospital staff were able to locate the man’s out-of-hospital do not resuscitate order. The patient ultimately died.

See A. J. Willingham, A Man’s Tattoo Left Doctors Debating Whether to Save His Life, CNN, December 2, 2017.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 7, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

David Cassidy Cut Daughter Katie Cassidy out of His Will

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-07/d6d1887c-ee8d-40ce-bc8c-a2df6ce3819c.pngDavid Cassidy, former teen idol and star of The Partridge Family, died last month under the parting words: “So much wasted time”. His daughter, Katie Cassidy, later tweeted that those words would act as a “daily reminder for me to share my gratitude with those I love as to never waste another minute.” Though Cassidy indicated he was proud of his daughter before his passing, he very clearly cut her out as a beneficiary of his $150,000 estate.

See Christie D’Zurilla, David Cassidy Cut Daughter Katie Cassidy out of His Will, Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2017.

December 7, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ralphie May's Cause of Death was High Blood Pressure and an Unhealthy Heart

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-06/a7667ad3-8766-464f-8737-623ef5d50ab0.pngComedian Ralphie May died in early October from hyptertensive cardiovascular disease. Simpler, May died from high blood pressure and an unhealthy heart. Individuals who suffer from obesity have a tendency for high blood pressure. John Fudenberg, Clark County coroner, reported that May’s weight was a contributing factor toward his death.

See Ralphie May's Cause of Death was High Blood Pressure and an Unhealthy Heart, TMZ, December 6, 2017.       

December 6, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

In-N-Out Owner Lynsi Snyder: Buy My House…It’s on a Double-Double Lot

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-05/712502fb-1def-457c-8378-54bd1d705574.pngLynsi Snyder, owner of the In-N-Out burger chain, is attempting to sell her 19,000 square foot mansion for nearly $20 million. The home boasts a number of spectacular amenities including eighteen bathrooms, ten bedrooms, a private bowling alley, and a batting cage. Snyder, only 35-years-old, became one of the youngest billionaire in the US when she inherited 50% of the company’s stock on her 30th birthday. The home is located in the San Gabriel Valley, near the current In-N-Out University and where the first In-N-Out was opened by Snyder’s grandparents.

See In-N-Out Owner Lynsi Snyder: Buy My House…It’s on a Double-Double Lot, TMZ, December 5, 2017.

December 5, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)