Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How Afraid of Dying Are You?

Afraid of dyingOddly enough, atheists and extremely religious individuals have something in common: they are among the individuals least afraid of dying. Research suggests that those who lack belief in a higher power seek comfort in death. On the other hand, those who are religious for social or emotional benefits often tend to suffer from the most death anxiety, or persistent fear of one’s own death. The study specifically looked at 100 articles published between 1961 and 2014 to determine how religious beliefs affected death anxiety throughout the years.

See Stacy Liberatore, How Afraid Are YOU of Dying? Researchers Say Atheists and the Most Religious Are Least Scared, Daily Mail, March 24, 2017.

March 25, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Article on Justiciability & Religion

JusticiabilitySatvinder Juss recently published an Article entitled, Back to the Future: Justiciability, Religion, and the Figment of ‘Judicial No-Man’s Land’, 51 TLI Think! Paper (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

In Shergill & Others v. Khaira & others the UK Supreme Court determined that religious disputes are ‘justiciable’ before the secular courts, and rejected Mummery LJ’s decision below that religion was “a judicial no man’s land.” The case concerned the power of a Sikh Holy Saint to dismiss trustees who questioned his ‘succession’ to the religious institution of the Nirmal Kutia Johal, which arose in India in the 1920s. In holding that there is jurisdiction to determine this matter, the Supreme Court in Shergill has left no doubt that the courts of the land are open for the resolution of disputes from non-traditional believers as much as from traditional believers. The judgment enhances the public interest in a meaningful shared citizenship where people of diverse religious and other backgrounds can share common institutions and a life together, and reverses a trend that had been developing during the twentieth century of treating such cases as non-justiciable.


March 1, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Article on Hindu Succession Act 2005

Hindu succession lawShital Prakash Kharat recently published an Article entitled, Effect of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 – Judicial Response (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Women, since the vedic times were dominated because of the she is women. She can only live life under her husband, father, sons etc. but after certain changes in law women get various rights & privileges for living with dignity under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In ancient time women does not having any kind of share or ownership in fathers property because the domination of male in succession e.g. male is the head of the joint family & therefore he holds the rights to ancestral property. Hindu Succession Act 1956 originally did not gave inheritance rights in ancestral property but ask for a right to sustained/maintain from Hindu Joint family. Most effect was done in status of women in his father’s property after the Hindu Succession Act 2005 this amendment try to maintain Article 14, 15, & 21 of the constitution of India. There are certain provisions of Hindu Succession Act 1956 amended by Hindu Succession Act 2005 after this amendment various issues raised regarding interest of women in ancestral property and whether this amendment Act having a Prospective effect or Retrospective effect upon this issue Judiciary Court gave excellent interpretation or explanation for prospective effect.


February 22, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Over 100 Headstones Damaged at Jewish Cemetery

Jewish cemeteryThe University City Police Department is currently leading an investigation to determine who has damaged several headstones at a local Jewish cemetery. Over 100 headstones were damaged at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis. Police think that the vandalism was not the act of one individual, as they review security camera footage from the area. These acts come at a time when bomb threats are heightened at Jewish community centers across the country. 

See Dozens of Headstones Damaged at Jewish Cemetery Near St. Louis, Fox News, February 20, 2017. 


February 21, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Anonymous Donor Gives Church a Winning Lottery Ticket

Thomas conwayAfter a church was robbed in early December, it was thrilled to receive a $100,000 winning lottery ticket from an anonymous donor. The church’s Father Thomas Conway ensures that the money will go toward feeding and providing community outreach services to those less fortunate and the homeless. The church is further encouraged by the selfless giving and reminded of its faith in humanity during trying times.  

See Anonymous Donor Gives Mass. Church $100k Winning Lottery Ticket, CBS News, December 21, 2016. 


January 30, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Children's Charity Rejects $25,000 Donation from Atheist Community

Children charityThe Murrow Indian Children’s Home has rejected a $25,000 donation from the Muskogee Atheist Community. The rejection was based on principle. The children’s charity feels that by accepting the gift they would be advertising for the atheist community. The charity primarily accepts funds from the American Baptist Churches Association, so it insisted that the credit name be changed to accept the provided donation. The funds will instead go to a summer camp that promotes “rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method,” which will still help children.   

See Ian Miles Cheong, Children’s Charity Rejects Man’s $25K Donation Because He’s an Atheist, Heatstreet, January 3, 2017. 


January 4, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nigerian Sultan Rejects Gender Equality Bill

NigeriaA new gender equality bill, proposing that men and women inherit equal shares, has been struck down by Nigeria’s most senior Muslim cleric. Mohamed Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, ensured that Muslims would not accept such a violation of Islamic law that guarantees men a greater share. However, Nigeria is nearly equally split with Muslims and Christians.  Christian Nigerian citizens are advocating for the bill, stating that their religion permits equal inheritance. A similar bill was rejected back in March by Nigeria’s senate upon noting its incompatibility with Nigerian culture and religious beliefs. 

See Nigeria’s Sultan of Sokoto Rejects Gender Equality Bill, BBC News, December 28, 2016. 


December 28, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What Do People Talk About at Death?

Talk at deathWhat do people talk about at death? They talk about their families: their mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. They talk about the love surrounding those special parts of their life. Or, perhaps, the love they withheld, the love they did not offer, or maybe the love they never felt. This is the true meaning in our lives—our spiritual human existence. Our families are what give us life’s meaning and where our purpose becomes clear. Our purpose is discovered through our families love. Families teach us many firsts: firsts loves, firsts pains, and firsts rejections. Ultimately, at our deaths, we do not use words of theology to talk about religion, we use family.   

See Kerry Egan, What People Talk About Before They Die, CNN, December 20, 2016. 


December 21, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to Respond to Our Own Deaths

Spritual deathDoctors facing their own death can truly begin to understand the vital roles that spirituality and religion play in their patients’ lives. Psychological research suggests that people seek means of symbolic immortality through religion, their children, their creative work, or “experiential transcendence.” Our society has difficulty grasping the finality of death, engaging in widespread denial of life’s end. Ultimately, no one knows what happens when we die, but we should work on finding better ways to accept the finality of death either symbolically or through other means.

See Robert Klitzman, How Should We Respond to Our Own Deaths?, CNN, November 22, 2016.

November 23, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Corporate and Trust Law Dimensions

Trust lawKathryn Chan recently published an Article entitled, Corporate and Trust Law Dimensions of the Trinity Western University Law School Debate (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The dispute over Trinity Western University’s exclusionary Community Covenant raises difficult issues about the scope of the institutional autonomy to which various religious entities may be entitled under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the balance that should be struck between institutional religious freedom and equality rights in cases where the two collide. In this piece I argue that we cannot fully address these conflicts without engaging more deeply with the institutions at their heart.

I begin by outlining several principles relevant to the ascertainment of the legal personality of a corporate charity, and making the case for the stronger application of these principles in proceedings involving TWU (Part II). I then identify three significant features of the institution at the heart of the dispute over the Community Covenant, noting that (1) TWU has a sole corporate object, (2) TWU has a very small membership, and (3) TWU must act for the public benefit. I analyze the legal incidents of these features of TWU’s corporate personality, and reflect on their possible relevance to its religious freedom claim (Part III). I conclude that if we want to engage seriously with the institutional dimensions of religious freedom claims, we must be attentive to the legal personality of the institutions that bring them, and the legal rights and obligations they enjoy.

November 23, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)