Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Federal Court Sustains Vivian Maier Copyright Claim

11111A federal court in Chicago held that the estate of Vivian Maier may pursue various claims, copyright infringement among them, against Jeffrey Goldstein. Maier died intestate in 2009 with no known heirs. At the time, she had gained no recognition for her photographic works. Goldstein was one of a number of buyers who purchased a number of her prints, negatives, and undeveloped film from a storage locker after her death. He started peddling these works through a website in 2010 and began selling them to galleries by 2012. Goldstein attempted to persuade the court that his purchase of Maier’s works occurred prior to her death, thereby removing it from her estate and providing him a “rightful claim of ownership.” The court did not buy Goldstein’s pre-death-purchase argument and said that the timing of his acquisition of the works was irrelevant anyway. The date for trial has not yet been set.

See David Walker, Federal Court Sustains Vivian Maier Copyright Claim, PDN Pulse, November 21, 2017.

Special thanks to Victor Salas for bringing this article to my attention.

November 23, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Charles Manson’s Grandson Wants to Give the Cult Leader a Proper Burial

Manson21n-1-webCharles Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, is interested in providing the cult leader with a proper burial. Freeman’s father was Charles Manson Jr., who was the product of Manson’s first marriage to wife, Rosalie. Freeman believes that his grandfather is a murderer, but does not feel as though he should have been held accountable for his part in the heinous murders of Sharon Tate and four others in 1969. Freeman attempted to visit Manson prior to his death, but Manson refused the visit: “He’s taken the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he doesn’t think it’d be in my best interest to take on his name and be involved with him.”

See Tom Porter Charles Manson’s Grandson Wants to Give the Cult Leader a Proper Burial, Newsweek, November 21, 2017.

November 21, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Charles Manson: 10 Days and He’s Dust

1120-charles-manson-photos-footer-3Charles Manson’s body will be kept in Corcoran State Prison for up to ten days if left unclaimed. If no one comes for the body, then the prison has the option to bury or cremate the remains. Cremation is the more likely option, as sources indicate the prison is not interested in taking the time or making the effort to bury Manson’s corpse. Any property Manson left behind will be forfeited to the state, and any funds he had will be used to cover the expense of cremation.

See Charles Manson: 10 Days and He’s Dust, TMZ, November 20, 2017.

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

November 20, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

From Secret Regrets To a Glimpse of Heaven, Hospice Nurses Reveal Heart-wrenching Final Words of Patients Before they Die

Download (1)For hospice nurses, death is simply a part of the job. They are often with patients at the end of their lives and care for them in their final dying moments. A few of these stoic health workers have come forward to share heart-warming stories about their most memorable patients. In a particularly heart-wrenching case, one hospice nurse recalled a sickly older couple’s request to have their beds placed together before they passed away within days of one another. Some requests are simple: dying patients wanting to see their pets for the last time or wanting their favorite cup of tea. Despite these lovely anecdotes, many in hospice care die painful, lonely deaths. A year ago, Government officials declared their commitment to improving the care for the dying in England through their General Election Manifesto. As it stands, there is still much work to be done.

See Kara O’Neill & Rachel Bishop, From Secret Regrets To a Glimpse of Heaven, Hospice Nurses Reveal Heart-wrenching Final Words of Patients Before they Die, Mirror, November 14, 2017.

Special thanks to Molly Neace, estate tax attorney, for bringing this article to my attention.

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What It Feels Like to DIE: People Who Have Narrowly Escaped Death Describe Their ‘Last Moments’ – from a Deep Sense of Calm To the ‘Worst Loneliness’

DownloadDeath is inevitable. Every person who has ever existed, does exist, or will exist must someday come face to face with the hideous visage of the Grim Reaper. For most, the existence of an afterlife is an unknown. Whether it actually exists or in what form is a question pondered by man throughout the ages. For a select few though, those who have watched the creeping shade of Death stalk a little too close, the answer is clearer. Christopher Mooney, once certain he was seconds from death, described the experience as one of the most peaceful moments of his life. Kiara St. Clara, after suffering anaphylactic shock, described her near-death experience as a time of utter darkness and being totally alone. Whether destined for fire and brimstone or the pearly gates, most have some curiosity about the possibility of existence after death. A few lucky, or perhaps unlucky, souls have had the rare opportunity to get a glimpse through the curtain separating life and death.

See Siofra Brennan, What It Feels Like to DIE: People Who Have Narrowly Escaped Death Describe Their ‘Last Moments’ – from a Deep Sense of Calm To the ‘Worst Loneliness’, DailyMail.com, November 14, 2017.

November 14, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Plans Don’t Have to Be Just for People

Look-at-this-adorable-dog-who-looks-like-a-bear-2-24445-1499701791-0_dblbigThe death of a loved one entails more than just emotional and psychological trauma. Many times, travel arrangements, funeral and burial expenses, receptions, etc. demand additional attention. With so many requisite issues needing to be addressed, the family pet and its ultimate destination can get lost in the flurry of activity. In order to make sure their beloved pet is taken care of after their death, many pet owners create formal estate plans. When considering such a plan, pet owners should name a caregiver, set aside a reasonable amount of money, outline a care plan, and create formalized agreements.

See Cheryl Winokur Munk, Estate Plans Don’t Have to Be Just for People, The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2017.

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

November 14, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Widows at War: British and American Wives of War Hero Banker Both Want Him Buried in Their Own Local Cemetery – on Opposite Sides of the Atlantic – So They Can Visit His Grave

MaxresdefaultPaul Lewis Morigi was a WWII hero and a successful financier at Morgan Stanley. He passed away last year at age 97. Toward the end of the war, Morigi married Olive Murphy in Sussex. The marriage lasted only a few years and the couple divorced in 1948 due to Murphy’s refusal to leave her family and reside in the U.S. That same year, Morigi married his second wife, Muriel Morigi, who he divorced in 2011. In 2011, he returned to his first love and remarried Murphy. Now that he has passed, the two women are fighting over whether Morigi should be buried in Connecticut or in East Sussex. His body has been in storage while the families battle in court.

See Mark Duell, Widows at War: British and American Wives of War Hero Banker Both Want Him Buried in Their Own Local Cemetery – on Opposite Sides of the Atlantic – So They Can Visit His Grave, DailyMail.com, November 3, 2017.

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

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Michael Jackson Tops Forbes' Top-Earning Dead Celebrities List

Michael-jackson-Victory-Tour-July-1984-billboard-1548Michael Jackson’s death was mourned the world over nearly eight years ago. Despite this small obstacle, Jackson is still generating millions of dollars in revenue. This year marks the fifth consecutive time that Jackson has been number one on the Forbes lists of highest-earning dead celebrities. This is in part due to a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and a new album.

See Michael Jackson Tops Forbes' Top-Earning Dead Celebrities List, billboard, October 31, 2017.

November 2, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Special Report: In the Market for Human Bodies, Almost Anyone Can Sell the Dead

KidneyThe death of a loved one can be a financially difficult time. The costs of a funeral service, burial, and other associated expenses may add strain to already tight budgets. Southern Nevada Donor Services (SNDS) offers a means for struggling families to pay these expenses: donate the corpse of the loved one for use in medical studies in exchange for free cremation. This deal seems to be a win-win for both the family and the donor service, but SNDS has recently been shown to engage in some troubling practices. As early as 2015, neighboring tenants started noticing an odd smell emanating from the SNDS warehouse. There were also some reports of bloody boxes left in a dumpster.

In December of 2015, health inspectors were called out to SNDS in response to a complaint. They arrived to witness a SNDS employee thawing a frozen torso in the courtyard with a garden hose. Pieces of tissue and blood were actively being washed into a nearby gutter. Though this apparent desecration of a corpse seems deserving of some serious reprimand, the inspectors could do nothing other than issue a citation. In this unregulated market, there is little oversight and the consequences for traditionally abhorrent acts are minimal. Joe Collazo, a SNDS employee not involved in the incident, was apologetic and said of the industry: “To be honest with you, I think there should be regulation. There’s too much gray area.”

See Brian Grow & John Shiffman, Special Report: In the Market for Human Bodies, Almost Anyone Can Sell the Dead, Reuters, October 24, 2017.

Special thanks to Deborah Matthews for bringing this article to my attention.

October 31, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Devastated to Learn Their Missing Daughter, 28, Was Actually Found Dead EIGHT Years Ago and Buried in an Unmarked Grave After a “Mix-up”

45D5F92E00000578-5031851-image-m-27_1509374781468Crissita Cage-Toaster, 28 at the time she went missing, disappeared in Detroit in October of 2009. In an effort to locate her, Cage-Toaster’s parents put up missing-persons signs throughout the city and provided authorities a detailed description of their daughter. Cage-Toaster’s parents were informed this past September that their daughter had actually been found five months after she was reported missing. A mix-up by local police led to Cage-Toaster being buried as a Jane Doe. Wayne County officials are planning to exhume the body for a proper burial.

See Emily Crane, Parents Devastated to Learn Their Missing Daughter, 28, Was Actually Found Dead EIGHT Years Ago and Buried in an Unmarked Grave After a “Mix-up”, DailyMail.com, October 30, 2017.

October 31, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)