Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

Prince’s Overdose Death Results in No Criminal Charges

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-04-20/9c02d950-c4f4-4437-9ca5-f6084e51fa2c.pngPrince Rogers Nelson was found dead in an elevator in Paisley Park at the age of 57. A toxicology report revealed high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer’s blood, stomach, and liver. Though fentanyl is a legal prescription, it is often used to manufacture knock-off pills, like oxycodone and other painkillers, that are sold on the black market. Minnesota law enforcement announced Thursday that no one would be charged for Prince’s death as they could not determine who actually provided the drug that killed him. Mark Metz, a Carver county attorney, said that they “ have no direct evidence that a specific person provided the fentanyl to Prince.” He also noted that the investigation found “no sinister motive, intent or conspiracy to murder Prince.”

See Joe Coscarelli & Sheila M. Eldred, Prince’s Overdose Death Results in No Criminal Charges, The New York Times, April 19, 2018.

April 20, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Eldest Children of ‘French Elvis’ Johnny Hallyday Win Legal Battle to Freeze His Assets in Bitter Family Feud over His £100 Million Fortune

Johnny Hallyday seance studio.Johnny Hallyday, called the “French Elvis,” passed away last December after struggling with lung cancer. Though Hallyday died with a will, it was drafted and executed in the United States, which means it does not apply in France. His two eldest children, Laura Smet and David Hallyday, have been involved in a dispute over the estate, which includes a £100 million fortune, with Hallyday’s widow, Laeticia Hallyday. Laura and David recently gained a legal victory when a French court placed a temporary freeze on several of Hallyday’s French estates. The most important question for the beneficiaries is whether France’s law or US law applies. Under French laws, Laeticia and her two adopted children are entitled to the whole of the estate.

See Charlotte Dean, Eldest Children of ‘French Elvis’ Johnny Hallyday Win Legal Battle to Freeze His Assets in Bitter Family Feud over His £100 Million Fortune, Daily Mail.com, April 14, 2018.

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

April 18, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 13, 2018

‘Hero’ Humbolt Broncos Player Taken Off Life Support, to Donate Organs

DaN0pW9VMAEey-CA bus carrying the Humbolt Broncos, a Canadian hockey team, crashed in the late afternoon on Friday. It was carrying twenty-nine passengers, fifteen of whom did not survive. Of the deceased, Logan Boulet, a 21-year-old defenseman and an organ donor, has turned his personal tragedy into stories of hope for at least 6 others. The family said in a statement that “Logan made it clear previously that he signed his donor card as soon as he turned 21. Even in his eventual passing, he will be a selfless hero.”

See Edmund DeMarche, ‘Hero’ Humbolt Broncos Player Taken Off Life Support, to Donate Organs, Fox News, April 9, 2018.

April 13, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kat West Killed with Lucid Absinthe Bottle, Records Indicate

-8b946935dfdf3b65Kathleen “Kat” West was a mother and wife leading a double life as an online exhibitionist in Calera, Alabama. Her body was found around 5 a.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2018 in a neighbor’s yard. She was completely nude expect for a sports bra. Court records reveal that West had been hit on the head with a liquor bottle, which was the immediate cause of death. A 19-year-old on her way to work spotted West’ body as she was driving through the neighborhood. Near the body was a cell phone with a green liquor bottle resting  atop it. Witnesses to the scene claim it looked staged. William “Jeff” West, Kat’s husband, was arrested for her murder and remains at the Shelby County Jail with bond set at $500,000.

See Kat West Killed with Lucid Absinthe Bottle, Records Indic]ate, AL.com, February 23, 2018.

April 11, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Couple Charged in Gravestone Scam Took $64k from Grieving Families, Police Say

1523093777802Tunis and Georganne Selby, a North Carolina couple, were arrested and charged with obtaining property by false pretense and felony conversion. The pair ran Memorial Design Concepts, a company that designed and sold headstones for gravesites. Unfortunately, though they were good at marketing their trade and accepting cash from grieving families, they did not do so well on the design and delivery aspect of the business. At least 34 families ordered headstones from the couple, paying cash up front, and never received anything in return. Both are being held on $50,000 bond and are scheduled to appear before a judge on May 11.

See Stephen Sorace, Couple Charged in Gravestone Scam Took $64k from Grieving Families, Police Say, Fox News, April 7, 2018.

April 11, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Farewell To a Genius: Stephen Hawking’s Family Say Their Last Goodbyes As Thousands Line the Streets of Cambridge for the Physicists Funeral, Where Eddie Redmayne Paid Tribute To the Scientist He Played on Screen

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-04-02/45d6a2ab-91e6-4e4c-979a-fc7ebfbf3d8d.pngThousands of mourners lined the streets of Cambridge last week to say farewell to Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist who passed away in March. Though Hawking was a professed atheist, the ceremony was a traditional Anglican service. His family believed it would offer a better opportunity for friends and Hawking’s many fans to pay tribute. A spontaneous round of applause greeted porters when they carried the coffin from the hearse to the church as the gathered crowd showed their appreciation for Hawking and his work. The bell of the church tolled seventy-six times, once for each year of Hawking’s life.

See Rod Ardehali, Farewell To a Genius: Stephen Hawking’s Family Say Their Last Goodbyes As Thousands Line the Streets of Cambridge for the Physicists Funeral, Where Eddie Redmayne Paid Tribute To the Scientist He Played on Screen, Daily Mail.com, March 31, 2018.

April 2, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What To Know

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-29/2440cefc-dfb7-450f-a5fe-b31765a90c25.pngThe idea of a typical American funeral tends to elicit images of a polished, wood coffin, bouquets of delicate flowers resting nearby, and the musty, darkened chapel where family and friend will gather to mourn. A question that many are now asking is: “How necessary are all these accoutrements?” Markets have responded to the query, albeit minimally at this stage, with the “green burial.” Though the specific procedures entailed by a green burial vary widely, they generally require far fewer resources than a traditional burial or cremation. The procedure skips the embalming process, forgoes the concrete vault, and aims to protect nature from the environmentally destructive traditional burial or cremation. Michelle Acciavatti, who works for a service that helps families peruse their end-of-life options, warns, “scattering small amounts can be hazardous in a delicate environment such as an alpine environment or vernal pool.”

See Sonya Vatomsky, Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What To Know, The New York Times, March 22, 2018.

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

March 29, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Stephen Hawking’s Ashes to Sit near Graves of Newton and Darwin

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-21/126d2110-7705-4233-966b-8ce45b694a8a.pngStephen Hawking’s ashes will be interred near the graves of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton in London’s Westminster Abbey. The Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, Dean of Westminster, declared it a “fitting” tribute to Hawking, who passed away last week. In a statement, Hall said, “We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe.” There will be a service of thanksgiving to honor Hawking later in the year.

See Ben Westcott, Stephen Hawking’s Ashes to Sit near Graves of Newton and Darwin, CNN, March 21, 2018.

March 21, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Charles Manson Death: Grandson to Get Body

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-13/090a4ed3-1c96-4e35-a557-e6a7dae27517.pngKern County Superior Court Judge Alisa Knight ended an ongoing legal battle between claimants to Charles Manson’s remains by awarding them to his grandson, Jason Freeman. Freeman is the son of Charles Manson Jr., who ended his own life in 1993. In the process, Judge Knight dismissed a claim by Matt Lentz, who said that Manson had fathered him in a Wisconsin orgy and another claim by Michael Channels, who had a will allegedly penned by Manson in 2002. Manson’s remains have been kept at an undisclosed location since his death on November 19, 2017.

See Charles Manson Death: Grandson to Get Body, BBC, March 13, 2018.

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

March 13, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Another Lawsuit Emerges in the Aaron Hernandez Legal Saga

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-08/87c04c82-2c3b-45c8-a771-dedae0ae6ff6.pngShayanna Jenkins Hernandez recently filed suit on behalf of her daughter against the estates of the three men Aaron Hernandez was accused of killing. Shayanna is hoping that by filing the suit she can protect the proceeds gained from the sale of Hernandez’s former home. Massachusetts state law permits homeowners who have filed a “declaration of homestead” to shield the value of their property by protecting it against seizure, levy, sale for payment of debts, and execution on judgment. The limit of the protection is $500,000 per home.

See Danny McDonald, Another Lawsuit Emerges in the Aaron Hernandez Legal Saga, Boston Globe, February 24, 2018.

March 9, 2018 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)