Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Steinbeck’s Heir Wins Lawsuit

07STEINBECK-blog427In 2014, Waverly Scott Kaffaga filed a lawsuit against John Steinbeck’s son, Thomas Steinbeck, and his wife, Gail. Kaffaga claimed that she wanted to recover lost profits from film adaptations based on “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden.” She argued that her mother, Elaine Steinbeck, had left her with the rights to these works and that Thomas and Gail Steinbeck had interfered with plans to develop the films and had financially damaged the estate. A Los Angeles jury sided with Kaffaga and awarded her over $13 million in damages.

See Alexandra Alter, Steinbeck’s Heir Wins Lawsuit, The New York Times, September 7, 2017.

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

October 23, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1)

Article on NOTE: Inheritance Rights of Posthumously Conceived Children: A Plan for Nevada

MaxresdefaultCassandra M. Ramey recently published an Article entitled, NOTE: Inheritance Rights of Posthumously Conceived Children: A Plan for Nevada, 17 Nev. L.J. 773 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Part I of this note will provide definitions and a brief history of posthumously conceived children, including a discussion of their rights at common law, as well as descriptions regarding the essential technology used in the creation of posthumously conceived children. Part II will include a discussion of current Uniform Acts as well as cases that have addressed the issue of posthumously conceived children. Part III will contain a discussion of current Nevada law relating to posthumously conceived children, and how a statute, or the lack thereof, will influence that law. Part IV will identify the four necessary factors that lawmakers should consider in drafting a statute granting inheritance rights to posthumously conceived children, address the pros and cons of each of those factors in turn, and make a recommendation based upon those considerations.

October 23, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Health Buzz: Near-Death Experiences Are Real, Doctor Says

Obe.ladyDr. Sam Parnia, associate professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, studies individuals who have undergone near-death experiences. His research targets these patients’ cognitive occurrences after their hearts have stopped beating. The human brain stops functioning anywhere from two to twenty seconds after heart failure. Parnia’s research has shown that 39% of those who survived cardiac arrest could successfully recall some perception of events despite the fact that they were clinically dead. Of these, 9% reported some perception of awareness and 2% claimed they had an out-of-body-experience. In one particular and substantiated case from Parnia’s study, “consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat.”

See David Oliver, Health Buzz: Near-Death Experiences Are Real, Doctor Says, U.S. News, October 17, 2017.

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

October 23, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book on How to Get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide

41dHHMq1r+L._SX331_BO1 204 203 200_John Abraham Rev., published a book entitled, How to Get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide (2017). Provided below is a summary of the book:

This is a comprehensive manual for anybody reaching the end of life, and for their caring friends, relatives, advocates, and caretakers. The author, an Episcopal priest, describes in detail the formidable challenges faced by those who wish to avoid months or years of painful treatment after they no longer have any hope of recovering any reasonable quality of life. Specific subjects include:

the nature of physical death;
legal documents to clarify one's wishes;
the need for a strong advocate to have the patient's wishes honored
moral questions that must be considered;
means of dying painlessly once the decision is made;
and much more, including how to respond to reluctant doctors, and the value of humor in communicating with a dying patient.

Abraham emphasizes that despite is position as a priest, this is not a religious book. It is intended for people of all faiths or no faith. People develop their own views on end-of-life issues, and for those who have not yet given it much thought, he offers facts and insights that are useful in forming one's moral beliefs. The decision, of course, must always be made by the patient, usually well ahead of time while he or she is able to make a sound judgment. If the patient desires continued medical treatment despite suffering and no means of recovery, that person's wishes must be honored. However, he argues strongly that those who hope to avoid the terrible suffering that comes so often at the end of life should also have their wishes honored.

The book carries strong endorsements from a number of well-known authorities on death, dying, grief, and mourning, including Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, the author of numerous best-selling books on death and grieving, and Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society and author of Final Exit.

October 22, 2017 in Books, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Jacobs' Law of Trusts in Australia - 8th Edition 2016

Kangaroo_600_600Joseph Charles Campbell recently posted an Article entitled, Jacobs' Law of Trusts in Australia - 8th Edition 2016, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This review of the latest (2016) edition of this leading Australian text on the law of trusts identifies respects in which there has been both continuity and structure, and changes in the scope and style of the work, in succeeding editions from its first edition in 1958. The new edition is indispensable for any practitioner of the law of trusts in Australia, and for any serious student of the subject.

October 22, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Article on 'The Past, Present, and Future of Resulting Trusts'

JjjJohn Mee recently posted an Article entitled, 'The Past, Present, and Future of Resulting Trusts', Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article considers the nature and future of resulting trusts, and offers a critique of the Birks/Chambers theory of resulting trusts. It argues that the current law cannot be explained, as the Birks/Chambers theory suggests, on the basis of the reversal of unjust enrichment. Instead, the law of resulting trusts is based on an old fiction whereby the owner of property is regarded as holding a beneficial interest which may be retained when the legal ownership has been transferred to another person. Unfortunately, this ‘retention’ idea does not provide a doctrinally satisfying justification for the current law. A logical response would be to discard those aspects of the law of resulting trusts that depend on the retention idea and, therefore, to dispense with presumed resulting trusts. The article argues that, in fact, in English law the purchase-money resulting trust has already been made irrelevant by the common intention constructive trust. However, the article argues for the continued recognition of gap-filling (i.e. ‘automatic’) resulting trusts on the basis that an alternative justification can be identified for such trusts.

October 21, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jerry Lewis’ Daughter on Being Left out of His Will

10149065-suzan-lewis-and-jerry-lewisJerry Lewis’s will does not leave anything to or even mention anyone named Suzan. Well, so what? There are many names not mentioned in Lewis’s will. Suzan Minoret Lewis, the unmentioned Suzan, claims to be an unrecognized heir to Lewis’s estate. She resembles her alleged father and DNA tests revealed over an 80% match with Lewis’s eldest son. Suzan Lewis noted: “There’s a time limit to challenge my father’s will. I need a lawyer. Some say they believe I have a claim.” Two New York attorneys approached about the case refused to take it.

See Cindy Adams, Jerry Lewis’ Daughter on Being Left out of His Will, Page Six, October 16, 2017.

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

October 21, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Article on The Use of Trusts in Investment Arbitration

Arbitration-and-Mediation-minOdysseas G. Repousis recently posted an Article entitled, The Use of Trusts in Investment Arbitration, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article is the first to address the use of trusts in investment arbitration, and particularly all those instances in which trust structures may have a direct bearing on investment treaty claims. As a matter of fact, the increasing use of trusts in transnational business has created a whole new set of considerations that call for the attention of users and practitioners alike. Owing to the intricacies of trusts, and in the light of a series of recent cases, this article sets out to explore such questions as standing to sue, authorisation to bring claims on behalf of the trust or the assets held in trust, whether the trustee, the beneficiary or other trust parties should be considered covered investors, whether the trust itself may have standing, whether any resulting damages award should form part of the trust assets and be distributed in accordance with the trust deed as well as other admissibility and quantum-related questions that may arise when dealing with trusts. All in all, this article maps the multitude of issues that trust structures raise in investment arbitration. And while it may be too early to draw any conclusive remarks based on the cases discussed in this article, it would appear that trusts test the somewhat laggard abilities of investment treaties to entertain the complexity of modern day investment practices.

 

October 20, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Court Declares Trusts of Ex-Russian Senator Pugachev Sham

274102378The High Court of Justice in London held that trusts owned by ex-Russian senator Sergey Pugachev were a façade designed to hide his control of the trust assets. The Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) quoted the court in a statement: “the point of the trusts was not to cede control of his assets to someone else, it was to hide his control of them. In other words Mr. Pugachev intended to use the trusts as a pretense to mislead other people, by creating the appearance that the property did not belong to him when really it did.” Pugachev has been in serious trouble since 2011, when investigations were launched based on suspicions that Pugachev and staff embezzled from Mezhprombank. By 2014, Pugachev made the international most wanted list and by 2015, Russia sent the UK a request for extradition.

See London Court Declares Trusts of Ex-Russian Senator Pugachev Sham, Russian Legal Information Society, October 11, 2017.

Special thanks to S.I. Strong, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law, for bringing this article to my attention.

October 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Holds Personal Representatives May Provide Lawful Consent Under the Stored Communications Act,

Jim_LammThe Stored Communications Act prevents online service providers from violating a user’s privacy rights by releasing their electronic data without permission. While this serves to protect personal information, the law has also erected an unwieldy barrier for family members and fiduciaries seeking online information concerning those who have passed away. There are some exceptions to the act, but the language is permissive and allows the service providers the choice to release information. Another issue, the part of the statute outlining these exceptions fails to expressly state whether a personal representative of the decedent’s estate has the authority to stand in the shoes of the deceased in order to gain access to this information.

In Ajemian v. Yahoo!, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held “that the personal representatives may provide lawful consent on the decedent’s behalf to the release of the contents of the Yahoo email account.” Despite this ruling, the permissive language found in the statute remains. It does not require release of the information, but gives the service provider the option to release online information to the representative of a decedent’s estate.

See Jim Lamm, Court Holds Personal Representatives May Provide Lawful Consent Under the Stored Communications Act, Digital Passing, October 16, 2017.

October 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)