Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Power of Attorney Never An Automatic Authorization For Self Dealing

Money FightMany people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what actions are authorized with power of attorney. Self dealing is the most common result of this misunderstanding and prompts many people to alter estate distributions to better suit their own desires. However, self dealing is never authorized without specific grants of power and, even then, usually cannot allow complete selfishness as holder. Every client should have specific language setting forth the duties and powers of a holder and must be clearly expressed to avoid ambiguities that may be exploited.

See Brian Spiro, Power of Attorney Not Authorized for Self Dealing, Clark & Skatoff, May 22, 2015.


May 23, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

B.B. King's Daughters Want To Help With Late Musicians Memorial

Bb kingI have previously discussed the dispute between three of B.B. King's daughters and his manager and guardian Laverne Toney.  The three sisters now hope that Toney will include them in the planning in creating a memorial for the late blues legend.  The daughters were devastated when their father passed away before they ever got a chance to say a final goodbye.

See B.B. King’s Daughters Urge Manager To Let Them Help With Memorial Plans, World Entertainment News Network, May 16, 2015.  

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


May 19, 2015 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Guardianship, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Peter Falk's Daughter Promotes Parent Visitation Rights Bill

Peter falkThe daughter of actor Peter Falk, known for his role in Columbo, is waging a campaign to give children the ability to visit an elderly or incapacitated parent who is being cared for by someone else.  Catherine Falk says that when her father was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease her stepmother restricted her access from him and even banned her from the funeral when he died in 2011.  When she contested her step mother in court she “learned that California law favors spouses in family disputes over probate, power of attorney and conservatorship, and that she would have to legally challenge her stepmother's designation as conservator.”  She is promoting a state by state effort to pass the Peter Falk Bill, which has already been introduced by lawmakers in California and New York.  Falk would also like to see the Federal Government pass similar legislation.

See Sean Piccoli, Peter Falk’s Daughter: Rights Bills Sparked By Dad’s Case, Newsmax, May 14, 2015.

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



May 19, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Virtual Representation Helps To Avoid Costly Guardian Ad Litem Fees

ChildIn almost every state, a minor who has a financial interest in a matter must be represented by a court appointed guardian rather than the parents. This requirement can lead to many unwanted fees and problems, particularly when a trust is involved, since the trustee would be unable to give notice or receive legally binding releases.

    However, the Uniform Trust Code has solved part of the issue by providing virtual representation which allows some competent adults to act on the behalf of minors, those without capacity, and the unascertained. The requirements vary but usually involve a parent being able to bind their children if there is no substantial conflict of interest. Any trust that has the potential to face a guardianship problem may include virtual representation provisions of greater depth than state law and should always be included to save much future expense and uncertainty.

See Ruth Mattson, Virtual Representation for Minor Children and Other Beneficiaries, Wealth Management, May 13, 2015.

May 18, 2015 in Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Signs To Look For Concerning Elder Abuse

ScamOne party that is has always been preyed on by the unscrupulous are the elderly. In this day and age the ability to defraud them is, unfortunately, at an all time high and all elders need to be in the position to recognize when someone is trying to take advantage of them. Some tips include going over the facts of common scams with clients, especially those that are capable of happening everyday, and making sure that their loved ones know the signs to look for if someone does manage of worm their way into a position to which they have no right.

See Dave Lindorff, Fraud Watch: Protecting Clients From Elder Abuse, Financial Planning, May 13, 2015.

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

May 14, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Battle Over Body And Estate Of Prominent Doctor Continues

Money FightComing out of east Texas is an example of the problems that may emerge from a failure to have an estate plan settled long before ones anticipated death. In this case, the remains of a prominent doctor sit in limbo as his family fights for executive rights over his body and an estate worth several million dollars. The problems started when he suffered a crippling stroke one year ago and his children began a legal battle over guardianship over their fathers person and assets. No matter how this situation resolves, it serves as a good example of why a client should always have contingency plans for incapacitation.

See Marcia Davis, Legal Battle Continues Over Late Doctor’s Remains, Estate, The Daily Tribune, May 11, 2015.

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

May 14, 2015 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Smart Planning Includes Choosing Potential Guardians For Children

ChildrenNo parent wants to think about dying and leaving their minor or incapacitated children without a guardian. However, smart planning will always look at this unhappy but potential problem and make sure that the wishes of the parents will dictate who takes care of their children rather than an unfamiliar judge. One tip included in the article is to make sure that you have a redundant list that provides more than one set of names in the event the intended guardians are unwilling or unable to take care of the children. It is also prudent practice to check with the potential guardians to make sure they are willing to take on the responsibility.

See Kyle Krull, Picking Back-Up Parents for Your Minor Children, KyleKrull.com, May 5, 2015.

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

May 12, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Judge Rejects B.B. King's Daughter's Request for Guardianship

BB KingI have previously discussed that three of B.B. King’s surviving children petitioned the court to obtain guardianship over their father.  Yet, the Las Vegas judge said in Clark County Family Court that the investigations revealed no evidence that King was being abused.  Thus, the judge ruled that Laverne Toney would remain in control of the musician’s affairs.  “We lost the battle, but we haven’t lost the war,” vowed King’s daughter Karen Williams. 

See Ted Thornhill, BB King’s Daughter Sobs in Court as Judge Rejects Her Claim the Musician is Being Abused by His Manager, Daily Mail, May 8, 2015.

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

May 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lawyer Charged With Stealing From Wards

Paul KormanikHaving served as a court appointed guardian, Columbus lawyer Paul Kormanik is now charged with stealing funds from his wards and is relinquishing his law license.  Kormanik has pleaded not guilty to 11 felony charges involving engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft from an elderly person, and tampering with records for illegally controlling his wards’ bank accounts and stealing their funds.  In addition to these charges, the Columbus Bar Association brought 15 charges of professional misconduct against Kormanik.  His attorneys are requesting the probate judge to postpone his trial, which is scheduled to begin June 22.

See Randy Ludlow, Lawyer Accused of Stealing From Wards Gives Up Law License, The Columbus Dispatch, May 7, 2015.

May 8, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Malpractice, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

B.B. King At Center of Guardianship Battle

BB KingAs blues legend B.B. King is home hospice care after a brief hospital visit, one of his eleven surviving children is petitioning a Las Vegas court to give her and an executor guardianship over King’s money and medical decisions.  Currently, Laverne Toney, King’s longtime business manager, controls King’s legal affairs.  Toney is asserting that King would want to be at home.

See Ken Ritter, B.B. King Guardianship Fight Goes to Court, U.S. News & World Report, May 7, 2015.

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

May 8, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)