Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Florida Financial Advisor Liable For Failure To State Tax Implications

GavelIn Florida, a financial advisor, and his firm LPL Financial, have been hit with a $53,000 judgement by an arbitrator following a failure to inform the client about serious tax implications of a trade. The genesis of the case was when the advisor had an elderly women transfer a large sum from an individual retirement account into another investment which resulted in a $9,000 tax hit. This represented nearly %20 of the total investment and, according to the arbitrator, should have been obvious to the advisor who acted callously towards the small time clients. The award was boosted by treble damages due to a finding that a Florida elder protection law was violated. LPL has indicated they will appeal the ruling.

See Megan Leonhardt, LPL to Pay Treble Damages to Elderly Client, Wealth Management, November 24, 2015.


November 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Louisiana Attorney Charged With Falsifying Will

HanduffsAn attorney in Louisiana has been charged with falsifying a will that disinherited the testator's son and leaving everything to the lawyer and his wife. The controversy arose over a holographic will written close to death that was used to disinherit the testators only child. According the attorney, that was done to spite the stepfather of the child who had taken custody, along with the biological mother, after a bitter dispute with the father. Last month, a judge overturned the will in part because the attorney served as a notary even though he was never licensed. As of now, the attorney is free on bond and no trial date has been set.

See Gerry May, "I truly do hate him." Sole heir speaks out on arrest of attorney, wife in theft case, KTBS, November 25, 2015.

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

November 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Unexpected Hitch In Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Leaves Some Unable To Marry

Weding RingsWhen the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal, couples across the nation rejoiced that they were suddenly able to marry freely. However, some soon discovered that the ruling did not extend to tribal lands due to their status as sovereign nations. Since tribes are not bound by the Constitution, they remain free to regulate same-sex marriage as they like with many opting to keep bans in place. As a result, any change must come from within the tribe leading to intense lobbying of the leadership of various tribes to lift bans that are in place. Only time will tell if shifts in popular opinion will lead to reform within the tribal communities that do not accept universal marriage.

See Felicia Fonseca, GAY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL BUT NOT ON TRIBAL LANDS, Associated Press, November 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.

November 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Major Art Gallery Sued Over Piece Alleged To Be Looted During WWII

ArticlePictureThe estate of a Jewish art dealer has sued the Helly Nahmad Gallery over the ownership of a painting that is alleged to have been looted from a Paris gallery by the Nazis in the 1940's. The work, "Seated Man With a Cane," by Amedeo Modigliani is worth an estimated $25 million and has been pursued since 1948 by the original owner and his estate. However, the case is complicated by the fact the entity being sued is not the true owner although estate claims it is a shell corporations that controls the current owner the International Art Center. This case is just the latest in the ongoing battle to return to the rightful owners artwork and other valuables looted in WWII. No trial date has yet been set.

See Doreen Carvajal, Estate Sues Nahmad Gallery Network for Modigliani Portrait, New York Times, November 24, 2015.

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

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Questions Over Benson Participation Hover Over Pending Mediation

BensonQuestions hang over the upcoming mediation between Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his estranged daughter Renee concerning Benson's personal participation. Benson's lawyer has stated that they have the right to send a representative instead of personal participation while still remaining in compliance with the court ordered mediation. In Texas, mediation has a good faith standard that requires a willingness to listen to the other side's offers and arguments rather than actual face to face resolution. There has not yet been confirmation that Benson will not attend although indications are that he will send Saints president Dennis Lauscha in his stead.

See Katherine Sayre, Will Tom Benson, estranged daughter come face to face in mediation?, Nola.com, November 24, 2015.

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

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Nevada Moves To Regulate Dubious Treatment Following Death Of Woman

ColdNevada has moved to regulate the use of cryotherapy following the death of a woman from asphyxiation after using the treatment unsupervised. Cryotherapy involves a person being exposed to ultra cold temperatures for a few minutes at a time which, purportedly, promotes tissue regeneration and other health benefits. These claims have caused the treatment to be popular with celebrities and pro athletes leading to explosive growth in the number of facilities that offer it. However, a growing chorus of critics have spoken up including doctors who point out there is little evidence to support any of the beneficial claims. In addition, the treatment can easily lead to injury or, as in this case, death if not administered properly due to the use of liquid nitrogen. As of now, the new regulation represents guidelines rather than rules as no penalties exist for enforcement; but authorities have indicated no other regulatory action will be taken if providers voluntarily comply.

See, After Death, Nevada Issues Cryotherapy Guidelines, New York Times, November 21, 2015.

Special thanks to Jerry Cooper for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Judge Rules 18 Year Old Daughter Of Slain Man Can Oversee Estate

Pen and PaperThe daughter of a man slain by a University of Cincinnati police officer has been appointed overseer of her father's estate on her own behalf and that of her 10 siblings. She was challenged for the appointment by her grandmother and grandfather although the grandmother withdrew her application before the hearing. The judge found the daughter to be capable of managing the estate which follows Ohio law which favors children for estate management for single adults. As a result, negotiations with the university over the killing, which prompted enormous national media coverage, can begin and is expected to result in a huge settlement. For additional coverage, check out my colleague's Jay Brinker's blog post here for some great insights into the case.

See Kevin Grasha, Settlement talks to begin in DuBose case, Cincinnati.com, November 19, 2015.

Special thanks to Jay Brinker for bringing this article to my attention.

November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas Insurance Agent Ordered To Pay Restitution Over Retirement Scam

GavelAn insurance agent in Texas has been ordered to disgorge his profits and provide restitution for getting local elderly residents to invest in a multi-million dollar scam. The agent was accused of using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and cover the payments to earlier investors which essentially created a ponzi scheme. The agent is due to pay $733,000 to 36 investors to settle the charges brought by the SEC in a US District Court.

See Karen Demasters, Elderly Cheated Out Of $4.6 Million In Retirement Money, SEC Says, Financial Advisor, November 11, 2015.

November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Rules Against California Woman Over Use Of Frozen Embryos

GeneticsA California court has ordered the destruction of embryos created for a woman with her then husbands sperm when she was facing loss of fertility due to chemo therapy. However, the embryos became the center of controversy when the woman divorced and her ex-husband requested the embryos be destroyed under the agreement the couple signed concerning their use after a seperation. The court stated that the consent form was valid and, as a result, there was nothing that could be done to allow the use of the embryos even though they were the women's last chance to procreate. In recent years, several cases along these lines have been decided with most of them reaching a similar conclusion. In the event a client is considering the preservation of fertilized eggs, make sure they understand the consequences divorce may have on the use of the embryos and check to see if they want a clause to allow for post separation use.

See Azeen Ghorayshi, A Judge Just Ruled That This Woman’s Frozen Embryos Must Be “Thawed And Discarded”, Buzzfeed, November 21, 2015.


November 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Non-Probate Assets, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Is Affluenza And How It Can Be Countered

BrainAffluenza is a recent mental health phenomena that is supposed to occur among those whose wealth and privilege creates psychological flaws that have a negative effect on their ability to function normally. In one famous case, the defense managed to convince a judge to spare a teenager from prison after a deadly car accident based on affluenza making him unable to understand the consequences of his actions. However, affluenza can be countered through actions such as closer family bonding in order to encourage a sense of love that will keep a child from developing isolationist tendencies. Encouraging family members to participate in activities that allow them to develop empathy towards people of different backgrounds can also help combat the disorder. While not all mental health specialist agree that the condition exist, making sure a child of great wealth is well rounded and exposed to the wider world is still a worthy goal whether it will prevent affluenze or not.

See Kim Kamin, Affluenza and Its Cure, Wealth Management, November 16, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)