Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Out of the Ordinary Obituary


Instead of a traditional obituary, Sweden’s Stig Kernell instead published one simple line: “I am dead.”

Kernell was 92 when he passed.  His son said he had a great sense of humor and wasn’t afraid of death.  Although Kernell wanted to keep his obit simple, newspapers around the world picked up on this odd obit, probably giving Kernell’s death much more acknowledgement than he intended.

See Man’s Three-Word Obit Goes Viral, AOL, Apr. 14, 2014.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 16, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Poetic Mishap Leads Couple to Quarrel in Court


A poem written by Jennifer Koerner recently became the subject of contentious litigation between her and Kent Nielsen, her live-in boyfriend. 

Koerner adopted a dog named “the Stig,” and on Christmas Day Koerner wrote a poem in which she expressed her intent to give the Stig to Nielsen. 

Once Koerner and Nielsen ended their relationship, Nielsen took the Stig with him.  Koerner pleaded for Nielsen to bring Stig home, but Nielsen refused.  After a bench trial, the judge found Koerner gifted the Stig to Nielsen by way of the poem and Nielsen was the Stig’s rightful owner.  On appeal, the court affirmed the judgment of the Cook County court, holding that Koerner made a valid inter vivos gift of the Stig to Nielsen.

 See Jeffrey R. Gottlieb, Gift by Poetry: Dogged Unfairness or Poetic Justice? , Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch, Apr. 1, 2014.

April 9, 2014 in Humor, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Meat Eater Leaves Estate to Vegetarian Society

Full English breakfast comp

In The Vegetarian Society v Jennifer Scott, a meat-eating millionaire left 80% of his estate to the Vegetarian Society.  His family challenged his Will, claiming he lacked mental capacity.

The challenge was unsuccessful even though the testator suffered from schizophrenia and logical thought disorder.  This quirky millionaire slept in a sleeping bag on a sofa, wrote his thoughts in his old school geography book, and went about with his shoes held together with string. 

Despite his oddities and the fact that he “enjoyed sausages and an English cooked breakfast,” the Court concluded that, because mental capacity is task and time-specific, these facts did not necessarily show he lacked capacity at the time he made his Will.

See Sarah Playforth, Mental Capacity Case – Meat-Eating Testator Can Leave His Millions to the Vegetarian Society, Kingsley Napley, March 24, 2014.

April 2, 2014 in Humor, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life in the Nineties


Check out the article linked below for an interesting story about old age written by Roger Angell.

In this enlightening article, a 93-year-old Angell describes his various aches and pains, memory problems, devastating losses, and the various upsides of getting old.

See Roger Angell, This Old Man: Life in the Nineties, The New Yorker, Feb. 17, 2014.

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

February 27, 2014 in Elder Law, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Packages You Probably Can't Afford


Some people think there’s no better way to say “I love you” than by spending an absurd amount of cash on extravagant gestures.  Here are a few Valentine’s Day packages being offered by some of Miami’s most alluring hotels:

  • $100,000 Dazzle You in Diamonds Package (Ritz-Carlton South Beach):  Oceanfront suite with private poolside cabana, privately catered dinner by chef de suisine, Cristal Champagne, 15.4-carat diamond hoop earrings, 4.34-carat diamond cuff links, private dance floor, diamond dust infused facials 
  • $55,000 Turn the Lights Down Low (The W):  Helicopter transportation, two-bedroom penthouse suite, private seaplane and yacht dinner escape, Ferrari car loaner 
  • $10,000 weekend stay (The Gale):  10-course, in-room romantic dinner, rose petal turnover, helicopter ride over the beach, champagne on hotel roof, heart-shaped pizza 
  • $1,000-$2,000 Miami Vices (Mayfair Hotel & Spa):  Skydiving package, yoga package, and photography package

See Carla Torres, Valentine’s Day Packages You Can’t Afford, Miami New Times, Feb. 11, 2014.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 14, 2014 in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 10, 2014

To Bequeath or Not to Bequeath


Shakespeare’s will reveals that he left his wife their “second best bed.”  He also left £150 to each of his daughters, which is over £380,000 today.

These final wishes were a part of the publication of one the most comprehensive collection of probate records, which span nearly five centuries.

The publisher of the collection, Ancestry.co.uk, has also revealed for the first time the wills of Jane Austen, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir Francis Bacon.

See Keith Perry, Shakespeare’s Will Reveals He Left ‘Second Best Bed’ to His Wife, The Telegraph, Jan. 7, 2014. 

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

January 10, 2014 in Humor, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

10 Oddest Excuses for Late Returns


Here are HM Revenue & Customs’ 10 oddest excuses for sending in a late tax return:

  1. My pet goldfish passed away.
  2. I had a run-in with a cow.
  3. After seeing a volcanic eruption in the news, I couldn't concentrate on anything else.
  4. My wife refuses to give me my mail.
  5. I believed my husband when he told me the deadline was 31 March.
  6. I've been far too busy touring with my one-man play.
  7. My bad back means I can't go upstairs where my tax return is.
  8. I've been cruising around the world in my yacht and only picking up post when I am on dry land.
  9. Our business doesn't really do anything.
  10. I've been too busy submitting my clients' returns.

See ‘My Goldfish Died’: 10 Oddest Excuses for Late Tax Returns, The Independent, Jan. 7, 2014.

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

January 10, 2014 in Humor, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Salvation Army Oddities



Every holiday season, you’re sure to see the Salvation Army bell ringers out in full force.  You may think there’s just dollar bills and loose change in those kettles, but every now and again something odd shows up.

A few odd tokens of generosity include valuable coins, wedding rings, Monopoly money, casino chips, lottery tickets, Viagra pills, and a gold dental bridge.

The Salvation Army also has its own “Secret Santa.”  Every year an anonymous donor deposits cashier’s checks wrapped in dollar bills.  In eight years, he has donated $500,000.

See Melanie Grayce West, This Is a Fine Kettle of . . . Viagra: Salvation Army’s Very Odd Catch, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 20, 2013.

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

December 25, 2013 in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top Ten Stupid Lottery Winners


Here’s a list of the top ten dumbest things people have done after winning the lottery: 

  1. Asking someone else to claim the prize.  Jose Antonio Cua-Toc was staying illegally in the United States and asked his boss to get the money for him.  Surprisingly, the boss kept the money.
  2. Trashing the ticket.  Joseph and Joanne Zagami accidentally threw away their $1 million winning scratch-off.  Luckily, they remembered it and dug it back out.
  3. Forgetting the ticket.  Ron Yurcus left his winning ticket lying on his desk for three months before remembering to check the numbers.
  4. Assisting auto theft.  John Ross, Jr., announced that the first thing he would buy after winning $2 million was a new car.  Three months later he was caught helping to hide and repair a stolen car.
  5. Winning while too young.  16-year-old Callie Rogers won $3 million in the English lottery and immediately spent it on breast implants, several houses, and drugs.  She is now broke and suicidal.
  6. Drug abuse.  Willie Hurt won over $3 million and soon became addicted to crack cocaine.
  7. Gambling.  Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice in succeeding years.  She gambled away most of her $5.4 million in Atlantic City.
  8. Backyard demolition derbies.  Deemed the “lotto lout,” Michael Carroll spent his $15 million on demolition derbies in his own backyard as well as drugs and women.  He says that he regrets the drugs but not the women.
  9. Having your winning ticket stolen.  Etta May Urquhart is suing her son for fraud and abuse after entrusting him to claim the $51 million jackpot for her.  
  10. Strip club stupidity.  Jack Whittaker won $315 million and then had $545,000 of it stolen at a strip club. 

See Sammy Said, 10 Stupid Things People Have Done After Winning the Jackpot, The Richest, Nov. 10, 2013.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 22, 2013 in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Newest Gift Idea


Can’t think of what to get that person who has everything?  Consider a personal submarine.

Triton Submarines makes two and three passenger “yacht based submersiles.”  Although regularly used by researchers and tour companies, the majority of those sold are purely for fun.  The submarines are made for deployment on mega-yachts and allow users to dive deep into the ocean in perfect air-conditioned comfort and safety.

The best seller is the entry level 1000/2, which can take two passengers 1,000 feet deep.  For only $2.2 million, order one for that special someone today.

See Larry Olmsted, Gift for the Person Who Has Everything? A Personal Submarine, Forbes, Nov. 24, 2013.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 4, 2013 in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)