Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

David Cassidy’s Estate Is Sued for $102,000 by Law Firm for Five Years of Unpaid Legal Bills – Putting $150,000 Worth of Assets in Peril

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-12/1352dabd-4c69-4e6a-b81e-bf359e3a516f.pngDavid Cassidy passed away with an estate estimated to be worth about $150,000. Very intentionally excluding his daughter from the will, he left everything to his only son, Beau. Now Cassidy’s former lawyers are suing the estate for $102,000, which represents the remaining balance of over $134,000 in legal fees. Though Cassidy listed the law firm as a creditor when he filed for bankruptcy in 2015, the debt was not discharged.

See Matthew Wright, David Cassidy’s Estate Is Sued for $102,000 by Law Firm for Five Years of Unpaid Legal Bills – Putting $150,000 Worth of Assets in Peril, DailyMail.com, December 9, 2017.

December 12, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Glen Campbell’s Will Doesn’t Include Three of His Eight Children

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-11/38fb5675-84b2-4718-9a05-2afb1e6bcf6e.pngAccording to documents filed in a Nashville court, Glen Campbell excluded his daughter, Kelli, and two sons, William and Wesley, from receiving any benefit from his estate. Campbell fathered a total of eight children over the course of four marriages. The children that were excluded from his will were all from his second marriage to Billie Jean Nunley. Kim Campbell, his fourth wife, is currently serving was the executor of his estate, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $50 million. Given the exclusion of three of Campbell’s children and his history of Alzheimer’s, the January 18 hearing on the filing may be the impetus for a protracted legal battle.   

See Glen Campbell’s Will Doesn’t Include Three of His Eight Children, Fox News, November 30, 2017.

December 11, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Charles Manson Grandson Files Probate Docs: Manson’s Body Still on Ice

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-08/93ffe324-a4e8-4302-af3b-f08bc353e2c1.pngCharles Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, filed documents asking a court to appoint a personally selected individual to handle his grandfather’s estate. This creates real potential for a legal battle, as Michael Channels, a long-time acquaintance of Manson, claims that he holds Manson’s valid will that names him executor and beneficiary to the estate. As these post-death dramatics ensue, Manson’s corpse remains in cold storage in prison.

See Charles Manson Grandson Files Probate Docs: Manson’s Body Still on Ice, TMZ, December 8, 2017.

December 8, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

David Cassidy Cut Daughter Katie Cassidy out of His Will

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-07/d6d1887c-ee8d-40ce-bc8c-a2df6ce3819c.pngDavid Cassidy, former teen idol and star of The Partridge Family, died last month under the parting words: “So much wasted time”. His daughter, Katie Cassidy, later tweeted that those words would act as a “daily reminder for me to share my gratitude with those I love as to never waste another minute.” Though Cassidy indicated he was proud of his daughter before his passing, he very clearly cut her out as a beneficiary of his $150,000 estate.

See Christie D’Zurilla, David Cassidy Cut Daughter Katie Cassidy out of His Will, Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2017.

December 7, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Yours, Mine, Ours, and ‘ART’

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-06/d6a8b6cd-62e4-4b4b-af2b-f2e45cc1d1a0.pngIt is becoming more and more common for trustees and estate planners to have clients that have been through marriage multiple times. These clients may have children from a previous marriage, stepchildren, and adopted children, all having different sets of biological parents and grandparents. These blended families can be incredibly complex. To make matters more convoluted, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have made it possible to add children to a marriage through a variety of technological measures. But, while state laws have kept pace with radical changes in American family dynamics over the past few decades, laws relating to ART kids are not well developed. There is substantial variation in how each state views surrogacy and gestational carrier agreements and whether a child born after the death of a parent should inherit under a trust or the decedent’s estate. However, through informed and careful decision-making, estate planners can their help clients reach a plan that accommodates these new and constantly changing reproductive advances.

See Judith Saxe, Yours, Mine, Ours, and ‘ART’, Financial Advisor, September 13, 2017.

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

December 6, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Science, Technology, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Fighting over Dad’s Rhinestones: Major Inheritance Fight Expected After the Late Country Legend Glen Campbell Cut Three of His Eight Kids from His Wil

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-04/4018567b-a369-4c87-8911-d63ec87c24a9.pngCountry musician Glen Campbell passed away in August of this year after a long, arduous battle with Alzheimer’s. The details of his will were released last Wednesday and reveal that Campbell excluded three of his children, Kelli, Travis, and Kane Campbell from inheriting any part of his estate. These three children are the result of Campbell’s second marriage that ended in 1976. Campbell’s estate is estimated to be worth in excess of $50 million. A court hearing to address a will contest is already set for January.

See Ashley Collman, Fighting over Dad’s Rhinestones: Major Inheritance Fight Expected After the Late Country Legend Glen Campbell Cut Three of His Eight Kids from His Will, November 30, 2017.

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

December 4, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Digital Afterlife Is a Mess

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-04/6acdae2a-eb1c-4109-8380-ac02cb5b9730.pngWhen a spouse, sibling, or other loved one passes away, there are a variety of ministerial duties that must subsequently be managed. An increasingly prevalent concern in today’s modern, technologically-centered society requires dealing with the decedent’s online accounts. Depending on the jurisdiction where the decedent is domiciled, this may be more easily said than done. The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Revised (RUFADAA), proposed in 2015 and now enacted in more than two-thirds of the states, attempts to bring some uniformity to the process an individual will face when shutting down or accessing the online accounts of the deceased.  Currently, there is a four-tier hierarchy that governs how online accounts are handled after death: 1) If the website has a specific process to handle the death of its users separate from its general terms of service, this language controls, 2) if the company does not provide this option, the decedent’s will may dictate how the digital assets should be handled, 3) if the decedent did not have a will, then the website’s terms-of-service agreement (TOSA) controls, and 4) if the TOSA has no language concerning how digital assets are handled after death, then RUFADAA may step in to allow access to these assets. As a practical matter, it is generally best to offer some guidance in a will to make this overall process more concrete and less stressful for loved ones after your passing.

See Naomi Cahn, The Digital Afterlife Is a Mess, Slate, November 29, 2017.

December 4, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Report: Aaron Hernandez May Have Hidden Money in Trust Before His Death

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-02/30b11aa9-4eba-48f6-b1ad-f515f150f6b0.pngFormer New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested in 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He committed suicide in April of the same year while serving a life sentence for the crime. When the Patriots released Hernandez from his contract after these issues arose, they had paid him nearly $9 million out of the $40 million deal. In spite of this substantial income, Hernandez’s estate is likely insolvent, with nearly $3 million in liabilities and a scant $1.2 million declared in assets. Hernandez was thoughtful and prescient enough to create a trust for his daughter before his death. If the trust is upheld by the court, which is doubtful, it would be shielded from Hernandez’s creditors and could provide his daughter with some income and support.

See Shalise Manza Young, Report: Aaron Hernandez May Have Hidden Money in Trust Before His Death, Yahoo! Sports, November 29, 2017.

December 3, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Article on Comentario de las Resoluciones de la Dirección General de Derecho y de Entidades Jurídicas de 15 y 17 de Mayo de 2017 (Comments on the Decisions of the Catalan Directorate General of Law and Legal Entities, May 2017)

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-01/eb54f7c3-fd76-45fa-ac4d-6f04abde9186.pngMiriam Anderson recently posted an Article entitled, Comentario de las Resoluciones de la Dirección General de Derecho y de Entidades Jurídicas de 15 y 17 de Mayo de 2017 (Comments on the Decisions of the Catalan Directorate General of Law and Legal Entities, May 2017), Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Catalan Abstract: Comentarios a las Resoluciones de la Dirección General de Derecho y de Entidades Jurídicas de 15 de mayo de 2017 (JUS/1210/2017), trato sucesivo e ineficacia de la disposición testamentaria a favor del cónyuge divorciado ex artículo 422-13 CCCat, y 17 de mayo de 2017 (JUS/1203/2017), negativa a cancelar una sustitución fideicomisaria condicional.

English Abstract: Comments on the Decisions of the Catalan Directorate General of Law and Legal Entities dated 15 May 2017 (JUS/1210/2017), land registry principles and the ineffectiveness of a testamentary gift to an ex-spouse as per article 422-13 of the Catalan Civil Code, and 17 May 2017 (JUS/1203/2017), impossibility to cancel a conditional testamentary settlement.

December 2, 2017 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Charles Manson’s Pen Pal Files the Killers Last Will and Testament in Court After Saying ‘He’ll Go into the Ring’ If Anyone Challenges the Document

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-01/6e3fc85b-8059-4d4c-88d9-d65404d1e00c.pngMichael Channels was recently revealed as the anonymous pen pal to whom Charles Manson gave his will. Channels starting writing to Manson in the ‘90s and finally received a response in 1997. Channels visited with Manson in prison five years later. The 2002 meeting went well enough that Manson drafted a will naming Channels as the sole beneficiary to his estate. There are estimates valuing Manson’s estate in the millions of dollars after accounting for his music rights, artwork, and various memorabilia. Channels, apparently a fan of the cult leader, has a secret shrine dedicated to him and touts himself as an expert on Manson and the Manson family. Channels has said that he is prepared to fight anyone who wants to challenge his claims.

See Abigail Miller, Charles Manson’s Pen Pal Files the Killers Last Will and Testament in Court After Saying ‘He’ll Go into the Ring’ If Anyone Challenges the Document, DailyMail.com, November 28, 2017.

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

November 30, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)