Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Staying Ahead Of Alzheimer’s Disease

AlzheimersAlzheimer’s is a terrible disease that impacts the lives of millions of people.  Many people who have a genetic disposition to getting Alzheimer’s are making major changes to their lifestyles in order to try to stay ahead of the disease.  This article discusses some of the things people are doing to cope with Alzheimer’s and to try to live a productive and wholesome life.  It examines many of the changes people are making on things like diet, exercise, and mental health.  Research is being conducted on this disease and better treatments are being developed each year.  Alzheimer’s is still a horrific destructive disease, but there is hope that as more knowledge is gained then improved treatments will come about. 

See Fredrick Kunkle, Alzheimer’s spurs the fearful to change their lives to delay it, The Washington Post, July 4, 2015.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 5, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

New Laws Seek To Protect Dementia Sufferers

DementiaDementia has become increasingly common among the elderly with a staggering five million Americans having the disease. Unfortunately, many people seek to take advantage of a dementia patient's diminished capacity. Family members, or anyone else who is familiar with the dying person, are usually the perpetrator of any fraud but telemarketers and the like are also a threat. A few states have passed laws that require financial advisers and institutions to report suspicious activity around the account of vulnerable clients. This reporting requirement is not yet expected to be widely adopted but it is a good step to protect the finances of the impaired.

See Suzanne Barlyn, Protecting dementia sufferers from scammers gains ground in U.S., Reuters, July 1, 2015.

July 4, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In Florida, A Lawyer For A Guardian Vicariously Liable To Ward

GavelKarim Saadeh was an elderly immigrant who had accumulated a sizable fortune when, in his old age, he lost control of his estate after making a series of gifts to a younger women.  The court appointed a guardian for Mr. Saadeh and the guardian in turn hired an attorney of their own who assisted in advising Mr. Saadeh to sign a trust instrument that had negative implications for the estate. As a result, the guardians attorney was sued, among others, for malpractice but the case was initially thrown out for a lack of privity between Saadeh and the attorney.

In Saadeh v. Connors, the Florida District Appeals Court held that the attorney was liable to the ward of a guardian that was a client. The duty of care owed by an attorney, in these situations, extends to a third party that was intended to benefit from any advise offered. The third party may sue for malpractice and the claim will not be barred due to a lack of privity.

See Brian Spiro, Florida Attorney for Emergency Temporary Guardian Owes Duty of Care to Temporary Ward, Clark Skatoff, June 26, 2015.

- See more at: http://www.clarkskatoff.com/news-resources/blog/florida-attorney-for-emergency-temporary-guardian-owes-duty-of-care-to-temporary-ward/#sthash.LV6NvW00.dpuf

June 30, 2015 in Guardianship, Malpractice, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Battle Over Tom Benson’s Estate Is Not Finished

BensonI have previously discussed Tom Benson’s victory in the court battle between him and his child over the New Orleans Saint’s owner’s competency.  Despite Federal District Judge Kern Reese’s ruling in Bensons favor, this legal battle is far from over.  The decision sets the stage for more litigation; Benson’s daughter has already indicated that she will attempt to appeal the decision.  The attempt to challenge Tom Benson’s competency through an interdiction also sets the stage for a future will contest.  Benson’s heirs will want to claim that Tom Benson lacked capacity when contesting his will in the future.

See Andy Grimm, Legal battle for saints owner Tom Benson’s fortune is likely far from over, NOLA Media Group, June 18, 2015. 

June 20, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Anthony Marshal’s Will Leaves Nothing For His Sons

Anthony marshallAnthony Marshal was the son of writer and philanthropist Brooke Astor, who passed away eight years ago at the age of 105.  Anthony's relationship with his two sons turned sour when the sons reported their father to the authorities for elder abuse when they discovered that their father might have been mistreating their grandmother.  Anthony ended up being sentenced to three years in prison, but was released early because of health problems.  When Anthony passed away in 2014 his sons were explicitly excluded in the will.  The will left all of his $14.5 million estate to his wife and step-children.  The two sons, Philip and Alex, are not bothered by their father’s decision to write them out of the will and remain active in speaking out against elder abuse. 

See Sam Naimi, Anthony Marshall Disinherits Sons As Widow Reaps a Windfall, Wealth Management, June 16, 2015.

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

June 17, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

How The Upcoming Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision Will Affect Couples

Same-sex marriageThe Supreme Court will come out with a decision this month that could potentially legalize same-sex marriage marriages nationwide.  If the Supreme Court does rule in favor of same-sex marriage it will impact affected couples in a number of ways.  Married same-sex couples will be able to file joint tax returns.  The upcoming Supreme Court decision would also cause major changes in the way States will treat same-sex estate planning and divorces.  Same-sex couples would also be treated equally to heterosexual couples on matters dealing with social security and veterans’ benefits.  A change in the law would also give same-sex spouses the ability to make important medical decisions. 

See Tara Siegel Bernard, The Same-Sex Marriage Decision: What’s at Stake for Couples, The New York Times, June 14, 2015.

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

June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Guardianship, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

B.B. King’s Daughters Enlist Benjamin Crump To Review Estate Allegations

B.B. King GuitarI have previously discussed the ongoing conflict surrounding B.B. King’s death and estate.  The late musician’s daughters are accusing LaVerne Toney of hastening the musician’s death with poison and embezzling $1 million from his estate.  King’s daughters have recently enlisted attorney Benjamin Crump to review the situation.  Crump is known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Alesia Thomas, and Tamir Rice.  A hearing over the estate has been scheduled in the Las Vegas probate courts for June 25.

See Ken Ritter, B.B. King Kin Enlist New Lawyer to Probe Estate Suspicions, ABC News, June 12, 2015.

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

June 13, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lack Of Notice To The Biological Father Does Not Invalidate Long-Established Adoption.

GavelIn 1961, a non-marital child was properly adopted under Texas law which at that time required consent only of the child’s mother; father had no notice of the birth or adoption. Thirty-six years later, the child found the father and they established a relationship. After father’s death intestate in Florida, the child and the father’s remote cousins filed competing petitions for administration. The trial court found for child, holding that the Texas adoption was not entitled to full faith and credit.

In Kemp & Assocs. v. Chisholm, the Florida intermediate appellate court reversed, holding that the adoption was entitled to full faith and credit, both for public policy reasons favoring the finality of adoptions and because the United States Supreme Court decision in Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1971), requiring notice to the biological father of a non-marital child of the pending adoption of the child could not be retroactively applied to long-closed cases such as this adoption completed in 1961.

Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.

June 13, 2015 in Guardianship, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tom Benson’s Lawyer and Psychiatrist Testify in Competency Trial

BensonI have previously discussed the Tom Benson competency trial.  Tom Benson’s attorney and psychiatrist have both recently testified on the stand.  Paul Cordes, who is the estate lawyer that helped Mr. Benson remove his daughter and two children from New Orleans Saints ownership positions, testified on Thursday to Benson’s mental soundness.  The final defense witness was Mr. Benson’s psychiatrist, Dr. John Thompson, who also testified on Thursday and will resume testimony today. 

See Brett Martel, Estate lawyer, psychiatrist testify in Benson trial, Go Erie, June 11, 2015. 

June 12, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Known Sperm Donor Need Not Receive Notice Of Adoption Of Child Conceived Through IVF

Gavel 2A and B, a married same-sex couple, petitioned for joint adoption of their son, N, who was conceived through IVF using a known sperm donor and born to A during the marriage. A and B appear on the birth certificate as N’s parents. The trial court denied the petition, holding that the sperm donor must receive notice of the adoption.

In In re Adoption of a Minor, 29 N.E.3d 830 (Mass. 2015), The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court transferred the issue on its own motion, reversed the trial court and remanded, holding that because A and B are N’s only lawful parents, the child having been born through assisted reproduction to A with the consent of her spouse, and that the possibility that the sperm donor could establish parentage does not require notice of the adoption. 

Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.

June 12, 2015 in Guardianship, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)