Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Florida law restricting the ability of gay individuals to adopt deemed unconstitutional

Adoption2On November 25, 2008, a Florida court ruled that a law restricting the ability of a gay person to adopt was unconstitutional.  Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman explained that there was "no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting."

According to Curt Anderson, Miami judge rules against Florida gay adoption ban, Yahoo!News, Nov. 25, 2008,  Florida plans "a swift appeal, likely setting up a battle that could reach the Florida Supreme Court."

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

November 30, 2008 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

National Museum of Funeral History opens Pope exhibit

Pope_exhibitThe National Museum of Funeral History (Houston, Texas) has recently opened an exhibit entitled Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes.

Here is the Museum's description of this exhibit:

[The exhibit] includes a full-scale replica of Pope John Paul II's crypt, an exact reproduction of the coffin used in the funerals of three previous Popes as well as replicas of other Papal vestments by the tailor shop that has made the vestments of the last seven Popes.

Visitors to the exhibit will also be able to view two authentic uniforms worn by members of The Swiss Guard (responsible for the Pope's personal security and protection of the Vatican) as well as the actual Popemobile used by Pope John Paul II during his visit to the United Kingdom in 1982.

Rounding out the exhibit are photographs of the funerals of different Pontiffs supplied by the Vatican, along with exact recreations of items placed in their coffins.

Spanning 5,000 sq. ft., Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes features premium sound and lighting, three-dimensional scenes and audio and visual multi-media presentations to provide visitors with a true sense of attending a Pope's funeral. The exhibit allows visitors to walk through its various sections, experiencing the many stages of preparation for the final services and burial of a Pope.

Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes is a product of three years of intense collaboration between the Vatican and the National Museum of Funeral History. The museum also completed a 10,500 sq. ft. expansion to its existing building to accommodate the exhibit.

November 30, 2008 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Men --The unrecognized caregivers

ElderlyThe following excerpts are from John Leland, More Men Take the Lead Role in Caring for Elderly , NY Times, Nov. 28, 2008:Parents

The Alzheimer’s Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving estimate that men make up nearly 40 percent of family care providers now, up from 19 percent in a 1996 study by the Alzheimer’s Association. About 17 million men are caring for an adult.  * * *

Often they are overshadowed by their female counterparts and faced with employers, friends, support organizations and sometimes even parents who view caregiving as an essentially female role. Male caregivers are more likely to say they feel unprepared for the role and become socially isolated, and less likely to ask for help.

Women still provide the bulk of family care, especially intimate tasks like bathing and dressing. At support groups, which are predominantly made up of women, many women complain that their brothers are treated like heroes just for showing up.

But with smaller families and more women working full-time, many men have no choice but to take on roles that would have been alien to their fathers. Just as fatherhood became more hands-on in the baby boom generation, so has the role for many sons as their generation’s parents age.

November 29, 2008 in Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top SSRN Downloads

Ssrn_2 Here are the top downloads from September 30, 2008 to November 29, 2008 from the SSRN Journal of Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law for all papers announced in the last 60 days.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 269 2008 Federal Tax Update
Samuel A. Donaldson,
University of Washington - School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 28, 2008
Last Revised: October 28, 2008
2 132 A Malthusian Analysis of the So-Called Dynasty Trust
William Turnier, Jeffrey Lynch Harrison,
University of North Carolina School of Law, University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law,
Date posted to database: October 3, 2008
Last Revised: November 14, 2008
3 119 Holman: The FLP's New Clothes
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 22, 2008
Last Revised: September 22, 2008
4 95 Dead or Alive: An Investigation of the Incidence of Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Lily L. Batchelder, Surachai Khitatrakun,
New York University School of Law, ERS Group - Tallahassee, FL Office,
Date posted to database: May 16, 2008
Last Revised: October 31, 2008
5 89 Bringing Trusts & Estates to the Front and Center of Legal Education
Bridget J. Crawford,
Pace University School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 19, 2008
Last Revised: October 14, 2008
6 80 From the Greedy to the Needy
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 16, 2008
Last Revised: November 11, 2008
7 77 On Discounted Partnership Interests and Adequate Consideration
Brant J. Hellwig,
University of South Carolina - School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 6, 2008
Last Revised: October 6, 2008
8 71 On Fitting Trusts into Civil Law Jurisdictions
Tony Honoré,
University of Oxford - Faculty of Law,
Date posted to database: September 23, 2008
Last Revised: September 28, 2008
9 59 Causation and Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Vicki Vann,
Monash University,
Date posted to database: February 27, 2008
Last Revised: February 27, 2008
10 58 Valuation Discounting Techniques: Terms Gone Awry
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 20, 2008
Last Revised: October 20, 2008

November 29, 2008 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Pavarotti Bequest Scam

ScamE-mail scams promising large inheritances or bequests are very common and have been discussed before on this blog.

Here is a new twist based on the recent death of Luciano Pavarotti.

Office line: +44-7045797679
Private Line: +44-7045792622

Notification of Bequest

On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the Estate of late Luciano Pavarotti, I hereby attempt to reach you again.  I wish to notify you that late Luciano Pavoratti made you a beneficiary to his will.  He left the sum of thirty one Million five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($31,500,000.00) to you in the codicil and last testament to his will. This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true.

Late Luciano Pavarotti until his death was a very dedicated Christian who loved to give out. His great philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his life time, late Luciano Pavarotti died at the age of 71 years.  According to him this money is to support your activities and to help the poor and the needy.

Please You should fill the information below for more clarities and identification of your informations we have here and send the following informations in my private email (attorneyhoward.morgan044@gmail.com)
1. Full Name
2. Mobile Telephone number
3. Age
4. contact address/Country
5. occupation

Yours In Service,
Attorney.Haward Morgan(Esq)

November 28, 2008 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Economy hurts university endowments

EndowmentsThe following excerpts are from Claire Cain Miller and Geraldine Fabrikant, Beyond the Ivied Halls, Endowments Suffer, NY Times, Nov. 26, 2008:

Some of the nation’s universities are trying to sell chunks of their portfolios privately as their endowments swoon with the markets.

Among institutional investors, school endowments aggressively embraced private equity, real estate partnerships, venture capital, commodities, hedge funds and other so-called alternative investments over the last few years. Endowments with more than $1 billion in assets reported 35 percent of their holdings in these types of investments on average last year, a much greater portion than big public pension funds, for example.

Now they are balking. The value of some of these investments has fallen, and they are not easily shed because there is no public market for them, as there is for stocks. Worse, private equity and venture capital funds require investors to put up additional capital over time. Cash may now be in short supply at schools facing budget pressures and investment losses.

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

November 28, 2008 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Black Friday


November 28, 2008 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey, Football, and End-of-Life Desires

Death2The following excerpts are from Kay Lazar, Talking turkey about death, Boston Globe, Nov. 26, 2008:

Dying wishes are hardly traditional Thanksgiving conversation fare. But [the sister-in-law of a person whose desires were not expressed] with the backing of some leading Massachusetts healthcare executives, is determined to put end-of-life questions on the holiday agenda.

Today they are launching a "blog rally" aimed at getting families to talk about death during the holiday gathering. It's an unusual Internet collaboration extending to independent bloggers across the country, who all plan to feature identical postings about the project over the holiday weekend. The word spread quickly through the blogging world over the last few days, in preparation for today's posts.

Now comes the question of whether families will show similar openness to the topic during their Thanksgiving conversations.

Thanksgiving is, of course, a holiday rooted in family connection; it may be hard to imagine bringing up the issue of death as the turkey is passed. And in some families, straying into controversial territory comes with a risk of dredging up strong emotions.

"Although it can be uncomfortable to discuss this topic over the dinner table when posed as a hypothetical, this discomfort pales in comparison to the anguish families go through when they have to grapple with the realities of end-of-life decision-making," said Ronald Kessler, a sociologist at Harvard Medical School. "As a result, the discomfort is likely to be a price well paid." * * *

Surveys indicate most Americans are squeamish about confronting their mortality. A 2005 poll of Massachusetts residents age 35 and older found that only about half had communicated their end-of-life wishes with a spouse or partner. Only 37 percent of those surveyed had completed a healthcare proxy designating an end-of-life decision-maker.

Special thanks to Andrew D. Rothstein (Goulston & Storrs, Boston, MA) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 27, 2008 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From whom should a child inherit -- biological parents or presumptive parent?

PaternityMegan Pendleton (Submissions Editor, Cardozo Law Review, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) recently authored an article entitled Intestate Inheritance Claims: Determining a Child’s Right to Inherit When Biological and Presumptive Paternity Overlap, 29 Cardozo L. Rev. 2823 (2008).

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction:

This Note argues that neither biology nor a presumption of paternity should be the dispositive factor in heirship determinations; rather the threshold inquiry should be the nature of the parent-child relationship. Thus, legislatures should assign courts the discretion to evaluate the existence of a familial parent-child relationship when paternity is at stake in intestate inheritance claims. Furthermore, the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) provides a comprehensive framework for such a discretionary approach that could be modeled in probate cases when a marital presumption is challenged. Although the UPA was principally drafted to resolve paternity issues for purposes of child support and custody determinations, and does not directly address the challenges of inheritance law, a comprehensive reading of the statute provides useful guidelines for resolving paternity challenges arising during inheritance claims. Thus, this Note suggests that the UPA's discretionary method is superior to a bright-line approach that treats the fact of either biological or presumptive paternity as dispositive.

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