Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Frank Vincent's Body Cremated for Presentation at Memorial Service

0915-frank-vincent-getty-7Frank Vincent, a star of “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas”, died last Wednesday during open-heart surgery due to complications. The body was transported to a funeral home in Montclair, New Jersey where it was cremated. The memorial service will feature Vincent’s ashes in an urn surrounded by phots of the actor at various stages of his life.

See Frank Vincent's Body Cremated for Presentation at Memorial Service, TMZ, September 15, 2017.

September 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bobbi Kristina's Estate Joins Bobby Brown in Suing Over Biopic

BobbiBobbi Kristina’s estate has paired up with Bobby Brown to prevent TV One from releasing a show about Kristina’s life. The estate is arguing that the release would be a violation of Kristina’s right to privacy, despite her passing in 2015. Bobby Brown is alleging that the show is defamatory in that it portrays him as violent and abusive toward his former spouse, Whitney Houston. The estate and Brown are seeking $2 million in damages along with an injunction preventing TV One from airing the show.

See Bobbi Kristina's Estate Joins Bobby Brown in Suing Over Biopic, TMZ, September 12, 2017,

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

September 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Police Hunt for Thief Seen on Camera Taking Dead Man's Clothes at Funeral Home

ThiefPolice in Leitchfield, Kentucky are currently searching for a man who broke into a funeral home and stole a dead man’s clothes and the jewels from his casket. The man broke in through the front door of the funeral home and was caught on video as he napped in a chair, stole a PlayStation 3, and took the keys to a hearse in addition to stealing the dead man’s suit and jewelry. Jason Watson, the funeral director, believes that man is probably the same person who was chased out of a Wal-Mart for shoplifting shortly prior to the break-in.

See Police Hunt for Thief Seen on Camera Taking Dead Man's Clothes at Funeral Home, Fox News, September 15, 2017.

September 21, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 15, 2017

BE OUR GUEST: The Secret Code Disney Theme Park Staff Use to Describe the Rudest Visitors – So Have YOU Been Called It?

ZDisney has implemented a strict set of standards for employees that restricts their use of negative language in front of guests. This may seem strange, but little Sally’s summer vacation might be remembered for the wrong reasons if she happened to overhear Cinderella cursing like a sailor. A very natural response to this limitation has been the introduction and use of colorful colloquialisms by Disney staff.

Difficult guests that are causing a disruption or being extra rude are labeled as “treasured guests”. Rather than say “vomit” or “puke” when a guest tosses their cookies in the park, employees refer to the incident as a “protein spill”. While these descriptors are amusing, perhaps the oddest of the bunch is the “white powder alert”. This call goes out on staff radios when a guest spreads the ashes of a deceased loved one from a ride or a special place at the park. The sentimental nature of the park apparently lends itself to these activities, as there are multiple instances each year where guests successfully spread the ashes of a decedent. In these instances, the “white powder alert” goes out, the ride is stopped, and a smiling Disney staff member is sent to clean up the remains.

See Caroline McGuire, BE OUR GUEST: The Secret Code Disney Theme Park Staff Use to Describe the Rudest Visitors – So Have YOU Been Called It?, The Sun, September 7, 2017.

September 15, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Woman Is Not Salvador Dali's Daughter, DNA Test Proves

ZoltarPilar Abel, the now-infamous Spanish tarot-card reader, is now officially not the heir to Salvador Dali’s estate. It seems her gift to see others’ futures was not introspective. The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation announced that a DNA test had disproved Abel’s claim that her mother engaged in an affair with Dali that produced the alleged heir while she was working as a domestic caretaker. Abel, so certain of her lineage, once told a Spanish newspaper that the “only thing I'm missing is a mustache." The pieces of Dali that were removed during the court-ordered exhumation have been restored to their owner.

See Woman Is Not Salvador Dali's Daughter, DNA Test Proves, Fox News, September 6, 2017.

September 13, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Book on Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

BSheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant recently published a book entitled, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (2017). Provided below is a summary of the book:

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build. 
Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

September 11, 2017 in Books, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Book on Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life

EndVictoria Brewster & Julie Nierenberg recently published a book entitled, Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life (2017). Provided below is a summary of the book:

In Journey's End, many and varied collaborators write about death, dying, and the end of life. We attempt to describe real life issues and circumstances, and we discuss ways to proactively deal with them. Useful training, resource, and reference material is also included.

Death, dying, and end of life are topics many prefer to avoid. This book suggests that we benefit from having frank discussions, living life to the fullest, and planning for our own journey's end, whenever that may be. Everyone who is born eventually will die, whether or not we want to embrace that fact.

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Though few of us know when we will die, we and our family or friends can be well prepared. We can have discussions and create written directives for what we want, if we are unable to verbally state them ourselves. Do we want life support? Do we want interventions that may or may not have any benefit to our quality of life if we are in the hospital or in an accident? Do we want to be involved in planning our funeral, memorial, or celebration of life?

The submissions within are from professionals in the field of death and bereavement support and from laypeople, all of whom share stories of dying family members, friends, clients, and patients. Julie and Victoria, the coauthors of this book, also share stories from their personal and professional experiences. Journey's End is a broadly comprehensive book about death, dying, and the end of life.

September 10, 2017 in Books, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dying Eagles Fan Requested Players as Pallbearers to 'Let Him Down One Last Time'

EaglesNFL fans, especially those with a favored team, will venture through driving rains, frigid temperatures, and pelting snow to show their loyalty and support. For these fans, games won build into tidal waves of emotional triumph and shared victory. Losses, on the other hand, bring with them the wailing and gnashing of teeth that can cause grown men to break down and weep. Jeffrey Riegel, who recently died from cancer at age 56, was one of these adoring but perpetually heartbroken fans. His team: the Philadelphia Eagles. When Riegel knew his battle with cancer was coming to an unfortunate end, he took a final opportunity to take one last dig at his team. As a final wish, Riegel requested eight Eagles players to act as pallbearers at his funeral so that his team could “let him down one last time.” Although no Eagles players answered the call, the acting pallbearers at Riegel’s funeral donned Eagles jerseys to acquiesce to Riegel’s final wish.

See Dying Eagles Fan Requested Players as Pallbearers to 'Let Him Down One Last Time', Fox News, August 25, 2017.

September 8, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

After Their Beloved Dog Passed Away, Couple Spent $150,000 to Bring Him Back To Life

LancelotLike many pet owners, Nina and Edgar Otto adored their pet Labrador, Sir Lancelot, as though he were another member of the family. While most understand that the passing of a beloved pet is a sad, but intrinsic part of owning a pet, Nina and Edgar were not so passively accepting. With the expertise of BioArts, a San Francisco-based firm, and $150,000, the couple cloned their beloved Sir Lancelot. Now, Lancelot Encore is a welcome new addition to the Otto family.

See Christine, After Their Beloved Dog Passed Away, Couple Spent $150,000 to Bring Him Back To Life, Goodfullness.

September 6, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Driver with Casket on Roof Leads Police on Chase Down Arkansas Interstate

Little-girl-running-from-police (1)Kevin Cholousky was arrested and jailed in Arkansas after fleeing from police. The chase started after police noticed Cholousky stopped on the side of the road with a casket fasted to the roof of his Hummer. When police stopped to offer assistance, Cholousky sped off. He now faces charges for fleeing from the police, having fake tags, and reckless driving. It is still unknown why Cholousky had the coffin on his roof, but it had been confirmed that the casket was empty.

See Jake Ingrassia, Driver with Casket on Roof Leads Police on Chase Down Arkansas Interstate, Fox News, August 24, 2017.

September 6, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)