Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

James Brown and Wife's Marriage was not Bigamous

JamesTommie Ray Brown and the late singer James Brown were married in 2001, 4 years after Tommie married Javed Ahmed. The previous marriage was annulled in 2003 on the grounds that it was invalid due to Ahmed being married already.

At first glance this may seem confusing, and the six children of James Brown were irked enough to contest Tommie's  contesting of Brown's will - which she won on the grounds of "omitted spouse." The children claimed that their father's and Tommie's marriage was invalid, but the courts disagreed. Because Tommie's and Ahmed's marriage was invalid with or without its eventual annulment, it had no capacity to invalidate Tommie's and James Brown's marriage.

Therefore, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's grant of summary judgement to Tommie Ray Brown.

See Brown v. Sojourner (In re Estate of Brown), 2018 BL 263330, S.C. Ct. App., No. 5578, 7/25/18.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 1, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Youtube Holographic Will

Will and testamentA holographic will must be handwritten, dated, and signed by the testator and it must be proven that they had the intent and sound mind necessary to write the will. And yes, a holographic will can also be truly holographic.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS187oqLZLo

 

July 23, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

LSU Fan's House Presents Unusual Challenges

Big leeA split-level yellow house has just hit the market last week in New Orleans and brings along a mountain of goodies for just the right person: Jacuzzi, pool table, tons of free LSU gear, several Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra posters, and some large photographs of President Donald Trump. Not to mention the purple and gold coffin which was used only for the deceased owner and then placed back inside the home because "there was no where else to put it."

The owner, Lee “Big Lee” Martin, 53, was killed in a dispute with his 78-year-old next-door neighbor, who is now in jail awaiting trial on second-degree murder. The broker of the home retained by the decedent's family in Texas, Matthew Grass, believes that he will be able to sell the home quickly despite its recent notoriety. “I understand human beings, in general, are curious,” he said. “But my job is to sell the real estate, and that’s what I’m doing here.”

"Big Lee" had always been an interesting character and an avid LSU fan, and his collection of LSU memorabilia was astounding. Grass says that he has been contacted by collectors but as of now the gear is being sold with the house. "It’s being sold as lagniappe. We live in Louisiana; that’s lagniappe.”

See Chad Calder, With 'Lagniappe' LSU Gear, Notoriety, Selling 'Big Lee' Martin's House Present Unusual Challenges, New Orleans Advocate, July 17, 2018.

Special thanks to Elizabeth R. Carter (Judge Anthony J. Graphia & Jo Ann Graphia Professor of Law, LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 21, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Protecting Your Pets: How to Make Financial Provisions in a Will or Trust

GarfieldIn our modern society pets are no longer simply considered an animal - they are members of a family, providing emotional support and comfort. Laws have not evolved to the point to see pets as not property, though, so certain steps but be taken to provide for your furry loved one after your passage.

Just as children with their growing list of sports, scholastic activities, and college tuition, pets can be quite expensive. According to a Harris Poll survey, Americans spend an average of nearly $1,500 on essentials such as food, grooming, boarding and trips to the veterinarian’s office for their pets each year. Horses are the most expensive at roughly $13,000 a year.

Here, National Head of Trusts and Estates, Gerry Joyce, answers commonly asked questions such as:

  • Should I Use a Will or a Trust to Protect My Pet after I’m Gone?
  • Could I Simply Leave Money to a Trustworthy Friend?
  • Why Is the Trust Document so Important?
  • How Long Can a Pet Trust Continue?
  • How Much Money Can I Leave to Care for My Pet?
  • What Are the Most Unusual Trust Provisions You Have Seen?

See Protecting Your Pets: How to Make Financial Provisions in a Will or Trust, Fiduciary Trust International, June 19, 2018.

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

July 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Codicil Written in Blood Found to be Valid [New Jersey]

BloodThe Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, decided the case IN THE MATTER OF THE WILL OF E. WARREN BRADWAY, affirming the judgement of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division that the decedent's 2006 codicil, handwritten in his own blood, was valid due to clear and convincing evidence it was the decedent's intention to modify the previous will, and affirming an order denying sanctions and attorney's fees against the defendant because the eccentricity of the blood transcribed codicil allowed for the litigation to not be frivolous.

The decedent, E. Warren Bradway, had executed a will in 2001, effectively replacing his prior 1977 will. The 2001 will named his significant other at the time, Mark Coleman, as the prime beneficiary and executor. The two broke up in 2004 and no longer lived together. Later that year, Warren began a relationship with Kirston Baylock. Early 2006 Bradway wrote a codicil with his blood, naming Baylock as the prime beneficiary and executor, replacing Coleman in the 2001 will.

In 2011 Bradway moved in with Baylock, bringing along the 2001 and 2006 codicil. Bradway died unexpectedly in April of 2017. Bradway filed as executor, but Coleman claimed the domicil was not valid due to the nature of the instrument. Both parties had DNA and handwriting experts as witnesses, and had to use Bradway's brother's DNA to determine that the blood on the document was 99.99% related to the brother. At trial the court found for the estate by directed verdict.

See IN THE MATTER OF THE WILL OF E. WARREN BRADWAY, 2018 WL 3097060 (N.J. June 25, 2018).

July 6, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

South African Woman Pronounced Dead, Found Alive Inside Morgue Refrigerator

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-07-03/392676b0-e9fe-4245-a0b3-c89ceb072521.pngA South African woman was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene of a car accident on June 24 that left two others dead. Some time later though a mortuary employee went to check on the body and found that she was still breathing. The paramedics claim that at the scene she had shown "no forms of life," and the manager of the ambulance company defended his employees, stating that they were not improperly trained and that there was no negligence.

The family of the unidentified woman wants answers and there is now an investigation into the incident. The woman was transferred to a hospital where she is recovering.

See Benjamin Brown, South African Woman Pronounced Dead, Found Alive Inside Morgue Refrigerator, Fox News, July 2, 2018.

July 3, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Viral Photo of Nigerian Man Being Buried With $90,000 BMW SUV

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-15/590d1b7d-d20f-4253-aaa4-c72ba6328d50.pngA Facebook picture supposedly showing a Nigerian man being buried with a brand new BMW X6 SUV in a small village in Nigeria recently went viral. The story was picked up by several news stations and continued to be shared via social media. Upon further investigation, the picture and story most likely is not legitimate.

The picture was originally posted onto the account of Nigerian filmmaker and artist Zevi Gins. Several commentators appeared to be getting annoyed by the rumor of waste and selfishness the photo stirred up, saying such things as "this is a film that's being directed by Tchidi chikere." Also, it appeared that numerous people recognized in the picture were well known Nigerian actors and actresses.

See Gary Gastelu, Photo of Nigerian Man Allegedly Being Buried in New BMW SUV Goes Viral, Fox News, June 13, 2018.

June 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Lost Skill Among the Elderly: How to Have Fun

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-13/fbe70167-be93-4098-8afb-b6a531393e22.pngWhen one thinks of elder law it usually brings to mind nursing homes, finances, age-related diseases, insurance policies, etc. But what about things to do with the often abundant amount of leisure time? Older adults have much more time on their hands for fun - 7½ hours of leisure a day compared with 35-to-44-year-olds, who have only around 4 hours, according to a 2016 study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a consulting firm specializing in age-related issues. Often, 48 hours of the week are spent in front of the television for retired adults because they have lost the skill to simple have fun and enjoy themselves.

The idea of an activity being "fun" depends on the person. It could be involves well thought out plans like traveling to a new locale or a smaller, spontaneous adventure like a sudden pick up game of softball.

Psychologist Elizabeth Skibinski-Bortman, 71, asks each client at their first session: “What do you do for fun?” Many do not have a response at all, while others take a minute to think of an answer. This does not mean they are glum or down, but simply that they have spent the last few decades of their lives working 40 hours a week and playing around always seemed to slip their mind.

Brenda Spradlin, 62, moved to Kentucky to be closer to her only grandchild and now plays pickleball 3 times a week at a local gym with other retirees. She said she did not have time to play and have fun while she was busy raising her children and succeeding at a rewarding career. "Now I do."

See Clare Ansberry, An Overlooked Skill in Aging: How to Have Fun, Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2018.

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

 

June 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Rich Kids Are Counting On Inheritance to Pay for Retirement

RichieAron Levine, head of Merrill Edge, commissioned a survey of 1,000 “mass affluent” Americans. The survey discovered a startling trend: " 63% of affluent children between the ages of 18 and 22 say financial stability in retirement will depend on inheriting money."

The adjective "affluent" is added on to the demographic that has investable assets between $50,000 to $250,000, or with investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 and annual income of at least $50,000. 18-22 years olds, the so-called Generation Z, within this income bracket also believe that their inheritance will not only come from their parents and grandparents, but receive some money from their friends - 17% of Generation Z members in fact, compared to just 4% in other age groups.

Levine believes that the reason this generation feels this way about sharing wealth with their friends is because they are accustomed to a sharing economy with such business as Uber, Lfyt, and Airbnb.

See Suzanne Woolley, Rich Kids Are Counting On Inheritance to Pay for Retirement, Bloomberg, June 7, 2018.

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

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

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

June 8, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Humor, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now

Having a pet is a privilege as well as a responsibility. Some believe that this responsibility is on par to caring for children, especially when they themselves do not have children of their own. In this sense their pet is truly their family and would like to see them taken care of after their death. There are several ways to make sure that your pet is provided for in your will after you pass on.

  • Leave money to a pet-loving friend or family member.
    • This is an informal way of asking a friend or relative to take care of your pet. The downside is that the gift may not be used how you would truly like and they cannot be sued because of it.
  • Create a pet trust.
    • All 50 states and Washington D.C. acknowledge trusts for pets. One person is set up as the trustee of the funds, one person as caregiver of the pet, and another with the right to take the trustee or caregiver to court if the guidelines in the trust are not being followed. This makes it so that the person(s) you trust with your pet can be sued.
  • Leave money to a pet rescue organization.
    • This can done if you'd like to benefit a charity or organization as well. Basically the rescue or charity would care for your pet for the life of the animal, and then can use the rest of the money for the organization itself.

See MJCAtlanta, What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now, Milwaukee Community Journal, June 5, 2018.

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

June 7, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)