Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Filipino Man Sets House Of Sister On Fire Over Inheritance

FireA man in the Philippines set his sister's house on fire after a night of drinking and drugs. The man reportedly was upset that his sisters received more land through a family inheritance than himself. As of now, the man is being held by the authorities and will be charged with destructive arson soon.

See Drug-Crazed Man Sets Sisters' Houses on Fire Over Land Inheritance Dispute, Philippines News Agency, May 24, 2015.

 

May 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Australian Man Loses Inheritance After Manslaughter Conviction

Koala_climbing_treeAn Australian man lost an inheritance from his mother after being convicted of manslaughter following her disappearance and presumed demise. He was the primary caregiver of his mother while she was ill and was named the sole beneficiary of her will shortly before her death. He was convicted without the body being found in no small part because of his behavior and purchases at the time of disappearance. This case also shows the similarities between the Australian and American systems as they both provide for statutory and common law anti-slayer provisions.

See Kim Stephens, Killer Gold Coast Son Stripped Of Mother's Estate, Brisbane Times, May 23, 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 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Major Estate Disputes That Have Been Reported On

New bb kingThere have been a few high profile estate disputes that have involved major celebrities and people of interest.  The estates of BB King, Michael Jackson, Leona Helmlsey, Ted Williams, Nelson Mandela, Nina Wang, and Liliane Bettencourt have all been subject to high profile disputes over a wide variety of issues.  These problems range from disputes over things like inheritance, guardianship, pet trusts, mental capacity, power of attorney, and what to do with a body after death.  These highly reported on celebrity disputes bring attention to the wide range of problems that poor estate planning can cause.  It shows the complex factors that a wise estate planner needs to account for when creating wills and trusts and helping a client plan for their future. 

See The who’s who battle for wills, bodies, and legacies, BBC News, May 24, 2015.

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

May 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

For Ultra Wealthy Clients Consider Setting Up A Family Foundation

PhilanthropyFor families with vast wealth, there is often an impulse to use the money to further the various philanthropic causes family members might have. A wide variety of methods exist to bring these plans into action and one that should be considered is the family foundation. While these are expensive to establish, it offers the benefit of being able to control the direction of the charity and making the family feel connected to the beneficial acts that are being done in their name. When an individual has reached the pinnacle of their field, legacy often becomes a key motivating factor and a family foundation gives them the chance to pass their ideals down to the next generation in a way that will help others.

See Russ Alan Prince, The Appeal Of Family Foundations, Forbes, April 30, 2015.

 

May 25, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Court Refuses To Recognize Tortious Interference With Inheritance In New Jersey

New Jersey District CourtA Federal District Court has ruled that Tortious Interference with an inheritance is not a cause of action in New Jersey. The case concerned three siblings who claimed that the guardian of their mother removed items and money from the estate prior to her passing.

In McDonald v. Copperthwaitethe district court stated that nothing in New Jersey law, beyond discussions in dicta of a few cases, authorizes this tort. As a result, any remedies that are being sought must be done through the probate courts in accordance with established law. However, a suit that is brought using the wrong cause will still be subject to the strict statute of limitations for probate court. There has been no indication if an appeal is in the works.

See Paul W. Norris, Tortious Interference with Inheritance, National Law Review, May 15, 2015.

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

May 25, 2015 in Estate Administration, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

B.B. King Heirs Challenge Musician's Will

Bb kingI have previously discussed the ongoing legal battle between some of B.B. King’s heirs and his former manager and executor, Laverne Toney.  Attorney Larissa Drohobyczer, who represents the blues legend’s daughters, issued a statement yesterday promising to challenge the Will and many of the actions of King’s manager.  The statement accuses B.B. King’s executor of misappropriating millions of dollars and using undue influence on the musician.  Laverne Toney has announced that she will not immediately respond to the allegations against her. 

See BB King heirs to challenge bluesman’s will and actions of manager, Associated Press, The Guardian, May 23, 2015.    

May 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Do's And Dont's Of Charitable Pledge Donations

Chartity Charities have become experts in how to extract maximum donations from donors including the use of big events at which individuals stand up and publicly pledge their donation. But what happens when that big pledge is never carried through by the donor? State laws vary, but the most important concepts are consideration and reliance with a healthy dollop of public policy on the side.

Courts will first look to see if the charity relied on the promise, by starting a project usually, or if other donors made their contribution based on the promise of the initial amount. Public policy is often cited by judges when they uphold unpaid verbal pledges to the extant that charities must be protected to avoid false donors popping up just to get a moment in the philanthropic spotlight. When planning an estate, always ask the client if they have pledged any amount because the last thing the heirs will want is an irate charity trying to claim their slice of the pie.

See Conrad Teitell, The Law of Charitable Pledges, Wealth Management, May 22, 2015.

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

May 24, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Insurance Company Claims Bequest To Town Was Made By Mistake

SnowflakeFirst Colony Life Insurance has asked the town of Snowflake, Arizona, to return money that the Insurance Company claims it was incorrectly paid ten years ago.  In 2005, the town of Snowflake was the beneficiary of a bequest $73,446.60 that the insurance company paid out.  The insurance company now claims that the town should not have been a beneficiary and wants the money returned.  The town council voted unanimously to table the issue while the town attorney, Robert Hall, acquires more information to ascertain why the town was incorrectly listed as a beneficiary. 

See Naomi Hatch, Bequest To Town Was Made In Error, Says Insurer, Arizona Journal, May 20, 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 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Common Estate Planning Mistakes That People Need To Avoid

Plan aheadA large number of people often make estate planning mistakes.  Kyle E. Krull, an attorney involved in estate planning, wrote about his own embarrassing experience of forgetting to prepare a durable power of attorney for a loved one when he was a young captain in the U.S. Army.  Mr. Krull wants more people to become aware about the need to plan ahead.  He suggests that people update their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives every five years or whenever a major life event happens.  Not planning ahead can lead to consequences if something unexpected happens to a loved one. 

See Kyle E. Krull, Avoiding Estate Planning Gotchas, Wealth Management, May 19, 2015.

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

May 22, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Neville Wran's Adopted Son Suing Step-Mother For Larger Share Of Estate

Neville wranThe adopted son of Neville Wran, the deceased former premier of the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW), is suing his step mother for a larger portion of Wran’s estate. Glenn Wran, who is 68, was adopted by Neville Wran as an infant when he married Glenn’s mother in 1946.  In 1976, Neville Wran married Jill Lesley Norton Hickson who is now the defendant in this dispute.  When Neville Wran died in April of last year he left behind a large property portfolio that is estimated to be worth $40 million.  NSW succession law does not just take into account the actual estate.  If the claimant feels like he or she has not been sufficiently provided for, then NSW will also factor in the notional estate (superannuation, family trusts and real estate held in a joint tenancy).  Justice Helen has recommended mediation as a possible remedy, the case will return to court on July 31.  

See Louise Hall, Neville Wran $40 million estate: Son Glenn Wayne Wran takes Jill Hickson Wran to court for bigger share, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 22, 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 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)