Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vincent Lambert Case Fuels French Right-To-Die Debate

VincentAn emotional right-to-die case is fueling a major debate in France over the issue of death with dignity.  Vincent Lambert is a former psychiatric nurse who became tetraplegic after suffering in a horrible car accident seven years ago.  He is now being kept alive in a vegetative state, and a dispute has broken out between Lambert’s parents who want to keep him alive and his wife who claims her husband would have wanted his feeding tube removed.  This case is bringing attention to a debate that is happening all over the world.  Similar debates are taking place in the United States.  For example, the State of California is currently considering right-to-die legislation.  As the population continues to age this issue is only going to become more prevalent.

See John Lichfield, Vincent Lambert Case: France gripped by ‘right to die’ of tetraplegic former nurse and attempt to ‘kidnap him from his hospital bed,’ The Independent, July 27, 2015.

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

July 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Whitney Houston’s Daughter Has Passed Away

BrownI have previously discussed the ongoing legal dispute over the estate of Whitney Houston.  The musician’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, has passed away this Sunday at the age of 22 according to a family representative.  Brown had been in hospice care since June 24, she has also been in a medically induced coma.  There has been a bitter legal battle between members of her family over both the estate and her medical care.  Up until her death she had been cared for by her father, Bobbi Brown, who was her guardian. 

See Lisa Respers France, Bobbi Christina Brown dies at 22, CNN, July 27, 2015. 

July 27, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Impact Estate Planning Has On Single People

SinglePeople who are single often face their own set of issues when estate planning.  If a single person dies intestate then their property will be distributed in accordance to the laws of that person’s state.  It is usually just as important for a single person to have a will as it is for a married couple.  A person making a will should put some thought into who will inherit their personal property.  It is a good idea to designate who will have power of attorney to make medical and financial decisions in the event the single person loses capacity.  Making sure to plan ahead for possible state and federal estate taxes is also a wise strategy.  Any single person who wants to make an estate plan should speak with an Estate Attorney and Financial Planner to get professional advice. 

See Douglas Rothermich, Estate Planning For Single People, Forbes, June 18, 2015.

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

July 26, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Important Things To Remember When Making An Estate Plan

Estate planning 2Putting together an estate plan is a very important task that many people often neglect to do.  This column includes a 14-point checklist of important things people need to remember when making an estate plan.  One of the most important things a person should do is seek out assistance from a competent and honest financial adviser who can help put together an estate plan that can accomplish the client’s goals.  The checklist includes things people need to do to plan ahead for the distribution of their estate and to determine who will have power of attorney and guardianship in the event something happens.  Going through this checklist will help people identify the important details that they need to remember when speaking with an adviser.  This column will hopefully provide more people with the tools they need to make better financial planning decisions. 

See Art Koff, Review your estate plan against this 14-point checklist, Market Watch, July 20, 2015.

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

July 22, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

CMS Proposes Changing Regulations Of Long-Term Care Industry

DementiaThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed revisions to the regulations on the long-term care industry.  The goal behind the proposals is to reduce hospital re-admissions, cut down on the rate of infections, and improve the standards of nursing homes.  Modification of meal plans to better cater to individual cultural, religious, or nutritional needs is also part of the proposed revisions.  The proposal will also include a “competency-based” approach that will encourage health care facilities to live up to CMS standards.  The 403-page CMS report can be read here

See Emily Mongan, CMS proposes massive regulation revision for LTC, McKnight’s, July 13, 2015.

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

July 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On The Inheritance Rights Of Posthumously Conceived Children

InheritanceJeffrey Walters (Valparaiso University School of Law, J.D. 2015) recently published an article entitled, Thawing the inheritance rights of maybe babies: an answer to Indiana's statutory silence on posthumously conceived children, 48 Val. U. L. Rev. 1229-1268 (2014). Provided below is an excerpt from the article:

This Note argues that Indiana should adopt legislation creating a right for posthumously conceived children to inherit from their parent's intestate estate.First, Part II of this Note provides a general background of what constitutes a posthumously conceived child, the technology that allows for their conception, recent court decisions that have addressed the constitutional protections that should be afforded to children, and model codes that provide potential remedies. Second, Part III analyzes the constitutionality of limiting a posthumously conceived child's right to inherit and evaluates the competing state and personal interests at stake.Finally, Part IV proposes that Indiana should adopt legislation creating a right for posthumously conceived children to inherit, but should provide for the right only if certain requirements are met.

July 22, 2015 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Due Process Required Reasonable Notice Of Stock Share Transfer

JudgmentFlorida's Fourth District Court of Appeals held that four daughters were deprived of due process rights when a guardianship court ordered the transfer of disputed stock shares without giving notice.  The case involved the joint titling of stocks that were held in a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship between a ward and his daughters.  The ward passed away while he was involved in a lawsuit with his four daughters over the stock shares.  A fifth daughter who had been appointed emergency temporary guardian petitioned for the disputed stocks to be transferred to her from the joint tenancy.  The court granted the transfer order without notifying the other four daughters or holding a hearing.  The Florida appeals court has held this to be a violation of due process rights.  The court’s ruling can be read here.

See Anya Van Veen, Interested Persons In Florida Guardianship Entitled to Due Process, Clark Skatoff PA, July 20, 2015. 

July 20, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips For Every Common Law Couple

MarriageCommon law couples lack certain protections that ceremonially married couples receive and, as a result, must take additional steps to protect themselves. Here are some tips that any common law couple should follow:

  • A will is essential as intestacy may not favor the common law spouse and cause the estate to pass to other relations that were never intended to inherit. For those that want maximum protection, a living trust created years before death can control the distribution of assets better than a will with the added benefit of being harder to challenge in court.
  • Create a document which declares that one spouse wants the other to have power of attorney in certain circumstances as well as detailing the duties and duration of the power.
  • Draw up a living will that clearly states the end of life wishes of a spouse and a health care proxy document that grants the power to make health care decisions.
  • Make sure that retirement and insurance policies list the other spouse as the beneficiary of the plan at death and make sure that they any preexisting plans are amended to name the current spouse.
  • Search federal and state laws to determine eligibility for spousal benefits and other favorable benefits. Many options that are available to ceremonially married couples may not automatically apply to common law couples but may still be awarded if requested.

See Judy Martel, 5 Essential Life Documents For Common Law Couples, Forbes, June 26, 2015.

July 20, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Alzheimer’s Association International Conference Meeting In D.C.

AlzheimersThis week more than 4,000 scientists from around the world will be meeting in D.C. for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.  Attendants of the conference will be discussing current and future trends in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.  Right now more than 5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to rise to 13.5 million by the year 2050.  Scientists want to hurry up and find either a cure or improved treatment methods because they understand that more people are going to be diagnosed with this disease in the future.  Researchers at the conference will be representing 65 different countries with 40 percent of the attendees being international. 

See Fredrick Kunkle, Alzheimer’s scientists to meet in D.C. amid signs of progress for treatment, The Washington Post, July 18, 2015.

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

July 19, 2015 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Estate Planning For Blended Families

Blended familiesThings can get complicated when planning for the estates of blended families, and with the number of remarriages on the rise these issues are going to become more common.  One of the biggest issues that people in blended families face is planning where their assets will be distributed after they die.  This article offers some estate planning advice for blended families. 

Getting the beneficiary designations right is crucial for making sure property is correctly distributed.  It is common for remarried couples to use revocable or irrevocable trusts to spell out distributions.  Having a prenuptial agreement is also good way to make sure estate planning is done right.  People should also not forget to make plans for issues like guardianship or power of attorney in the event someone loses capacity.  These are all issues a person needs to consider when designing an estate plan for a blended family.

See Judy Martel, Estate Planning Tips For Your Blended Family, Forbes, June 23, 2015.

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

July 18, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Intestate Succession, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)