Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Oligarch Roman Abramovich transferred the ownership of his $400 million luxury jets to his children the same month Russia invaded Ukraine, FBI alleges

Estate planningAn FBI agent has alleged in court documents that Russian Billionaire, Roman Abramovich, made his children beneficiaries of two trusts, and by shifting legal ownership, the Oligarch has avoided Russian Sanctions by the United States.

The documents were filed in support of an application for a seizure of warrant to illuminate the complicated financial structures utilized in various tax havens. Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK and EU but has evaded U.S. sanctions at this time.

For more Information:

See Hannah Towey, “Oligarch Roman Abramovich transferred the ownership of his $400 million luxury jets to his children the same month Russia invaded Ukraine, FBI alleges,” Yahoo! News, June 15, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 19, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2022

COVID-19 Is Motivating Americans to Get a Will – Especially After Contracting COVID-19 

COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call for many Americans, especially regarding end-of-life planning. 

According to the survey question “Did your loved one have a will before dying of COVID-19?” only 22.6% responded with Yes, 17.6% responded that their loved one had a living trust, and 15.8% had a different estate planning document in place.

Now, nearly half of those who had a serious case of COVID-19 are much more likely to have a will than those who have not experienced the virus. This includes an increase with 18-34 year-olds, who have been motivated by the pandemic to take further steps to obtain estate planning documents.

For more Information:

See Daniel Cobb, “1 in 5 People Who Died of COVID-19 Did Not Have an Estate Plan,” Caring.com, June 2022.

June 16, 2022 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Peyton Manning contacted by all four Broncos bidders to gauge interest in possible role with team, per report, CBS Sports

BroncosThe bidding war over the Denver Broncos has come to an end with the Walton-Penner family entering into a purchase and sale agreement for $4.65 billion. The agreement is subject to approval from the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership.

The group of co-owners include Rob Walton, the former chair of Walmart who ran the company for two decades before retiring in 2015, his daughter Carrie Walton-Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner, who took over as chair after Walton’s retirement.

During the bidding process, former quarterback, Peyton Manning, was contacted by all four bidders regarding a possible role with the team. This might look like a minority partner or advisor. As of now, there is no word on Manning’s next move, however, it has been reported that Manning was closely watching the sale and in contact with the various groups.

For more Information:

See Tyler Sullivan, “Peyton Manning contacted by all four Broncos bidders to gauge interest in possible role with team, per report, CBS Sports,” June 6, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 15, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 10, 2022

'Top Gun' heirs sue Paramount over 'Top Gun: Maverick"

TopgunThe family of Ehud Yonay, the author of the article “Top Guns,” has filed a complaint in Los Angeles federal court against Paramount Global for failing to reacquire the rights before releasing the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Paramount originally obtained the exclusive rights to the article, which appeared in a 1983 edition of California magazine. The article was credited in the original 1986 film. 

The Yonay family claims that the copyright reverted back to them in January 2020 and are seeking unspecified damages. Paramount claims the sequel was “sufficiently completed” by the time the copyright had reverted back to the Yonay family and that they did not “thumb its nose” at federal copyright law as the family has suggested.

For more Information:

See Jonathan Stempel, “’Top Gun’ heirs sue Paramount over ‘Top Gun: Maverick’”, Yahoo Finance, June 6, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 10, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court rules for Florida, against victim in dispute over Medicaid funding

SCOTUSThe Supreme Court issued an opinion affirming the Medicaid Act which permits a state to seek reimbursement from settlement payments allocated for future medical care in Gallardo v. Marstiller.

The opinion, by Justice Thomas, was issued on June 6th, 2022. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Breyer joined.

The dispute stems from a 2008 accident where Gianinna Gallardo was struck by vehicle as she exited a school bus. Florida’s Medicaid program paid $862,688 to the family to cover initial medical expenses. Later, Gallardo’s family filed a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle that struck her, leaving her in a permanent vegetative state. They reached an $800,000 settlement.

Florida’s Medicaid program claimed it was entitled to recoup $300,000 from that settlement, however, the Gallardo family argued that they should not be able to recover any funds earmarked for future medical expenses.

The U.S. Department of Justice joined the Gallardo family at the Supreme Court, while 14 states and various interest groups backed the Agency for Health Care Administration. 

For more Information:

See Jim Saunders, “U.S. Supreme Court rules for Florida, against victim in dispute over Medicaid funding," Yahoo News, June 6, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 7, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 4, 2022

The passing of Dean Browne C. Lewis

BrowneIt is with profound sadness that I report the passing of Dean Browne C. Lewis of the North Carolina Central University School of Law. The following is from NCCU's official announcement:

Dean Lewis was attending a conference in Colorado with colleagues at the time of her untimely death on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

An accomplished legal scholar, attorney and author, Dean Lewis joined the Eagle family on July 1, 2020, and immediately made an indelible impact on the School of Law. Her vision was clear from Day One in leading the school as one that provides unique opportunities for diverse, talented future attorneys to be practice-ready practitioners in their chosen legal careers. She accumulated numerous accomplishments for the university and School of Law in her short, nearly two years at its helm. She began laser focused on reaccreditation with the American Bar Association (ABA), which was approved in full compliance with the ABA Standards in November 2020. Equally important, enrollment has consistently increased year-over-year at a time when other law schools saw steady decreases. Additionally, Bar passage rates have been above average.

Under her leadership, the School of Law received a number of gifts from corporations and foundations and prestigious law internships and fellowships have been awarded to students. This includes a transformational $5 million contribution from Intel Corporation that created the NCCU-Intel Tech Law and Policy Center—the first at an HBCU and the only tech and law policy center that focuses on technology disparities and social justice.

Dean Lewis was extremely passionate about social justice and its intersection with law. I encourage you to read an interview with her that was published by Attorney at Law Magazine in March 2022. In it, Dean Lewis shared,

“The key value I want to imprint on the law school is overcoming the impossible through hard work, perseverance, and tenacity. It is important to overcome adversity and realize that you can accomplish any goal even if you do it in bite-sized pieces. I’m one of 12 children from a family in a small country town in Louisiana. I grew up knowing that you have to persevere, overcome adversity, and keep pushing forward. Likewise, NCCU School of Law is one of only six HBCU law schools in the country. We’re the underdog pushing forward.”

June 4, 2022 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 3, 2022

What If Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Had a Premarital Agreement?

Heard deppThe public has been captivated by the $50 million defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard over an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 alleging she was the victim of domestic abuse. It has been six years since Heard filed for divorce, and their split continues to be caught up in litigation and controversy. 

The pair married in 2015, with no prenuptial agreement in place. At the time, Depp’s net worth was estimated to be 18 times larger than Heard’s. Ultimately, they settled from a $7 million payment from Depp, which Heard publicly announced she would donate to charity. 

Had the pair had a prenuptial agreement in place, their current situation might have played out differently. Depp may have been protected from such a sizable financial settlement, and had he utilized a confidentiality agreement in conjunction with a premarital agreement, the ongoing public spectacle may have been prevented.

Such agreements are particularly important for those with children from a prior relationship, someone getting married with significant assets prior to the marriage, public figures, or those seeking to protect their partners from debts or liabilities. 

For more Information:

See John M. Goralka, “What If Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Had a Premarital Agreement?”, Kiplinger, May 2, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 3, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

A 26-year-old Trump-backed congressional candidate appears to be fueling his campaign with trust-fund money

HinesPersonal financial disclosures for a congressional candidate in North Carolina show that the candidate has a unique financial situation. The Federal Election Commission recently revealed that the majority of campaign money for Bo Hines appears to be coming from his own trust fund.

Records indicate that Hines has loaned his campaign over $775,000 of his own money, which amounts to around 58% of his war chest. However, his personal financial disclosure statement notes that he has no job, no other earned income or compensation, and no loans or liabilities to speak of. His sole reported asset was his share of the “Hines Children’s Trust.” 

It is not uncommon for congressional candidates to self-fund, however, it is rare to see funds come directly from a trust.

For more Information:

See Madison Hall, “A 26-year-old Trump-backed congressional candidate appears to be fueling his campaign with trust-fund money," Yahoo News, May 27, 2022.

 

 

 

 

June 1, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Surfside Condo Collapse Victims Reach $997 Million Settlement

Champlain towersNearly a year after he catastrophic condominium collapse, a $997 million settlement was reached to compensate families of the victims. The Champlain Towers South condominium collapse killed 98 people in Surfside, FL in June of last year.

Victims are relived that a settlement has been reached, but have expressed that no amount of money will bring back loved ones. How the money will be dividing amongst the relatives of the 98 victims is yet to be determined.

Unit owners will also be compensated $83 million from funds generated by the sale of the land where the building once stood. As determined by a prior settlement, condo owners were released from any liability for negligence in the buildings maintenance.

Judge Michael A. Hanzman, of the Circuity Court in Miami-Dade County, would like to finalize the settlement before the one year anniversary.

For more information:

See Patricia Mazzei, “Surfside Condo Collapse Victims Reach $997 Million Settlement”, New York Times, May 11, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention. 

May 15, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Labor Department Criticizes Fidelity’s Plan to Put Bitcoin on 401(k) Menu

CryptoThe Labor Department has expressed concerns about retirement security as Fidelity Investments plans to allow investors to put bitcoin into their 401(k) accounts. Despite the hype surrounding cryptocurrency, there is concern about the volatility in prices and the lack of regulatory framework at this stage in development.

Fidelity is allowing 23,000 companies to add bitcoin as an option to 401(k) services, allowing workers to allocate as much as 20% of their nest eggs in bitcoin. Employers have the ability to reduce this threshold.

Fidelity asserts their commitment to evolving and broadening digital assets across investor segments and the belief that technology is part of the financial industry’s future.

For more information:

See Anne Tergesen, “Labor Department Criticizes Fidelity’s Plan to Put Bitcoin on 401(k) Menu”, The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 9, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)