Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Dead Man Standing" or "I see a dead person"

MedinaThe man in the picture is Angel Pantoja Medina and he is dead.

Angel died on August 15, 2008 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  His brother explained that Angel told him that he wanted to be standing during his wake.

So, his final wish was fullfilled.  The Marin Funeral Home used a special embalming treatment on Angel so he could remaining upright for a three-day wake in his mother's living room.

See AP, Dead man stands throughout 3-day wake, MSNBC.com, Aug. 19, 2008.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this somewhat unusual situation to my attention.

August 28, 2008 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alternate Valuation Date Regulations

Gerzog2Prof. Wendy Gerzog (Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law) has recently posted on SSRN her article entitled The New Regs on Alternative Date Valuation which also appears in Tax Notes, Vol. 120, No. 797, 2008.

Here is the abstract of her article:

Treasury recently announced proposed regulations under section 2032 explaining valuation rules for assets when the decedent elects to apply the alternate valuation date. The regulations first provide background information about the statute, including legislative history and case law interpretation, and then underline their departure from Kohler, a 2006 Tax Court memorandum decision.

Prof. Gerzog concludes:

The proposed regulations are intended to state explicitly that alternative date valuation under section 2032 disregards all postdeath events, including a post-death corporate reorganization, if the changes in valuation due to those postdeath events do not reflect market conditions. They accomplish that purpose. Voluntary valuation depressions, such as those involved in Kohler or family limited partnerships, are not relevant to section 2032 alternate date valuation, because they are contrary to the purpose of that statute: to create relief for taxpayers whose estates have diminished solely due to market conditions shortly after the decedent’s death.

August 28, 2008 in Articles, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Estate Planning Business Booms in Japan

JapanEstate planning business in Japan appears to be on the verge of a boom.  The following excerpts are from Atsuko Fukase, Where There's a Will, Mitsubishi UFJ Finds a Way, Wall St. J., July 17, 2008, at B6.

Dealing with the aging of Japan's population is enough to give many a corporate president gray hair.

But while most fret about how to cope with a dwindling customer base and slowing consumer spending, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp. President Kinya Okauchi is set to mine a rich vein of senior-citizen business.

That's because his operation, the trust bank owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., is a leader in developing wills and inheritance operations in a country where nearly one person in four will be over 65 by 2010, up from one in five in 2005.

"Demand is very strong. As a trust bank, we are in a good position to respond to society's changes and demands," said Mr. Okauchi, newly arrived as the head of MUTB, the unlisted unit of MUFG, the country's biggest bank by assets, and now managing wills whose collective assets it values at 5.5 trillion yen ($52.5 billion). * * *

And in a country where wills have by tradition simply gathered dust in locked drawers, the Western concept of employing a bank to smooth out inheritances is rapidly gaining allure, bankers say, in part speeded by an expansion in real-estate ownership, MUTB has said.

MUTB, formed in 2005 from the merger of Mitsubishi Trust & Banking Corp. and UFJ Trust Bank, isn't alone in tapping a business that has grown by more than 50% in the past five years, according to the Japanese trust banking industry lobby group.

But MUTB says it had about 20,400 wills under management as of March, nearly double its nearest rivals. Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., an affiliate of Japan's second-biggest bank, Mizuho Financial Group Inc., said it had 12,500 wills under management, while Chuo Mitsui Trust & Banking Co. had around 10,700.

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

August 27, 2008 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dave Freeman Dies

Freeman_daveDave Freeman, co-author of the book 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Travel Events You Just Can't Miss, died on August 17, 2008. 

Unexpectedly, he did not die from one of his many travel adventures.  Instead, he succumbed to a simple home accident -- he fell and died after hitting his head.

According to Greg Quill, Dave Freeman, 47: Popular author, The Star.com (Toronto), Aug. 27, 2008:

Freeman, an advertising executive who travelled alone to cram more adventures into his eclectic schedule, only visited half the places recommended in the best-selling 1999 book, whose title and marketing strategy powered a tidal wave of lists and literature designed to prod readers' sense of their own mortality and the constraints of time.

His book is said to the inspiration for the Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman movie The Bucket List

August 27, 2008 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Intestacy Songs

MusicEarlier on this blog, I reported on how Julia Belian (Associate Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law) supplied me with song lyrics which she finds useful in teaching intestacy concepts.

Prof. Belian has recently posted these songs on YouTube.  A Grammy nomination should be forthcoming ----

Special thanks to Alyssa D. DiRusso (Assistant Professor, Cumberland School of Law) for bringing this posting to my attention.

August 27, 2008 in Humor, Intestate Succession, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conflicts of Law


Symeon Symeonides (Dean and Professor of Law, Willamette University College of Law) has published an article entitled Result-Selectivism in Private International Law, 3 Roman. Priv. Int’l L. & Comp. Priv. L. Rev. (2008).

Here is the abstract of the article as foundon SSRN:

One of the basic dilemmas of conflicts law, or private international law (PIL), is whether, in choosing the law applicable to cases involving conflicts of laws, one should aim for: (1) the law of the proper state without concern for the "justness" of the particular result ("conflict justice"); or (2) for the same quality of substantive results as in non-conflicts cases ("material justice"). For centuries, the "conflicts justice" view has been dominant in all countries. The "material justice" view has had some recent following in the United States, but in the rest of the world it has had only marginal influence. In recent years, however, this view has gained significant ground, even in codified PIL systems. Without endorsing this view, this essay examines several recent PIL codifications and identifies a surprisingly high number of result-selective rules, namely choice-of-law rules that are specifically designed to accomplish a particular substantive result. The fact that these rules are far more numerous now than in the past suggests that the above dilemma is no longer an all-or-nothing proposition. Material-justice considerations are gaining increasing acceptance as one of the factors that should guide the pursuit of conflicts justice. The difficult question is not whether but rather when these considerations should receive preference in uncodified systems in which the choice of law is made by judges rather than legislators.

August 27, 2008 in Articles, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Legacy of Lord Thurlow

HofriDr. Adam Hofri-Winogradow (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) has published an article on SSRN entitled 'The Moloch and Belial of the Bar': Chancellors Thurlow and Loughborough's Contributions to Equity and Their Posthumous Reputations.

Here is the abstract of the article:

Edward Thurlow and Alexander Wedderburn, the two last Lord Chancellors of the eighteenth century, figure in the standard histories of English law as lightweight jurists and unprincipled politicians. The article examines two of their more substantial contributions to equity: they extended the equitable protection of non-commercial debtors from their creditors, and limited the application of the Roman rule, received in English equity, holding void clauses making children's entitlement to their portions conditional on parental consent to their choice of spouse, to children marrying during minority. The article then explains their bad posthumous reputations as a result of their contemporaries' and nineteenth century commentators' dislike for their naked careerism and opportunism, along with the tightening of the puritanical screws at the turn of the eighteenth century.

August 26, 2008 in Articles, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Part-Timers and Law School Rankings

Us_news_2An interesting article appears in today's Wall Street Journal about a proposed revision U.S. News and World Reports is considering making to how it ranks law schools.  See Amir Efrati, Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter 'Gaming', Wall St. J., Aug. 26, 2008, at A1.

Here are some excerpts from this article:

The most widely watched ranking of U.S. law schools may move to stop an increasingly popular practice: schools gaming the system by channeling lower-scoring applicants into part-time programs that don't count in the rankings.

U.S. News & World Report is "seriously" considering reworking its ranking system to crack down on the practice, says Robert Morse, director of data research at the magazine, who is in charge of its influential list.

Such a move could affect the status of dozens of law schools. It would likely reverse gains recently made by a number of schools that have helped their revenue by increasing their rosters of part-time students with lower entrance-exam scores and grade-point averages, without having to pay a price in the rankings. * * *

Counting part-timers would roil the law-school rankings, which have a big impact on where students apply and from where law firms hire. A number of law-school administrators interviewed about the potential change contend it could have another effect: narrowing a traditional pathway to law school for minorities and working professionals.

The article contains a list of sample schools are how the change would impact their rankings.

August 26, 2008 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The "Uncleing Principle" and Intestate Succession

SpitkoE. Gary Spitko, (Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law) has published his article entitled Open Adoption, Inheritance, and the Uncleing Principle, 48 Santa Clara L. Rev. 101 (2008).

Here is the abstract of the article from the version of his article posted on SSRN:

This article critiques current inheritance law relating to adopted children in light of the purposes of modern adoption law and the increasing prevalence of open adoptions. The article proposes an uncling principle to determine intestate inheritance rights in cases of open adoption in which a birth parent has maintained a qualifying functional relationship with the adopted-out child subsequent to the adoption. When applicable, the uncling principle would treat the adopted-out child and her birth parent as potential heirs of one another. Unlike the presently dominant all-or-nothing approach to inheritance rights arising from adoption, however, the proposal would not under any circumstances treat the birth parent as a legal parent of the adopted-out child for purposes of inheritance. Rather, the uncling principle would treat the birth parent as an uncle or aunt to the adopted-out child, and would similarly increase the distance on the family tree between the adopted-out child and members of her birth family by one line of inheritance and two degrees of kinship. When applicable, the uncling principle would better serve the interests of the adopted child, her adoptive family, and her birth family than does the all-or-nothing approach, under which the adopted-out child is either a child of her birth parents for purposes of inheritance or is a stranger to her birth parents for purposes of inheritance. The uncling principle affirms the parental role of the adoptive parents by refusing to treat a birth parent as a legal parent. Simultaneously, the uncling principle recognizes and validates the importance of the bond between the adopted child and her birth family when the birth parent has maintained a sufficient functional relationship with the adopted child subsequent to the adoption.

August 26, 2008 in Articles, Intestate Succession | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)