Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Elvis’ granddaughter fights Graceland foreclosure sale and alleges fraud

Screenshot 2024-05-21 at 9.17.15 PMDanielle Riley Keough, granddaughter of Elvis, is the current owner of Graceland, the singer's famous Memphis home. Keough was able to get a restraining order against the sale of the home before the court rules on her application for an injunction. Keough is suing Nusanny Investments & Private Lending LLC to stop a foreclosure sale of Graceland alleging fraud and saying the company behind the sale does not exist and has no rights to the property. 

The company has presented documents appearing to show that Lisa Marie Presley, Keough's late mother, had borrowed $3.8 million from Nausanny Investments and gave the deed of trust encumbering Graceland as security. Keough and Elvis Presley Enterprises insist these documents are false and Lisa Marie never borrowed money nor gave the deed of trust to the company. Elvis Presley Enterprises says the counter lawsuit has been filed to stop the fraud. 

For more information see Raja Razek "Elvis’ granddaughter fights Graceland foreclosure sale and alleges fraud", CNN, May 21, 2024. 

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

May 23, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 29, 2024

Britney Spears settles bitter legal battle with estranged father Jamie Spears

Screenshot 2024-04-28 at 3.02.31 PMBritney Spears has settled her legal dispute with her estranged father, Jamie Spears, finally ending their conservatorship case. The 42-year-old pop star's life and finances were under Jamie's control for 14 years, but the arrangement ended two years ago. The recent settlement resolves an outstanding issue regarding Jamie's request for Spears to cover his legal fees, with the details remaining undisclosed.

Spears' lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, expressed pride in representing her and stated that her desire for freedom is now fully realized now that she is no longer required to participate in court proceedings related to the conservatorship. 

After her conservatorship ended, Spears had many successful music collaborations and published a bestselling memoir, "The Woman in Me," which reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list in its first weeks.

Rosengart emphasized that Spears' achievements would not have been possible under the conservatorship and reiterated his gratitude for being able to assist in restoring her civil rights and liberties. While Jamie Spears' attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the settlement marks a significant milestone in Britney Spears' ongoing journey towards autonomy and independence.

For more information see Ashley Hume, "Britney Spears settles bitter legal battle with estranged father Jamie Spears" Fox News, April 27, 2024.

April 29, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 15, 2024

O.J.’s executor says he wants Goldmans to get ‘zero, nothing’ from estate

OJ

Malcolm LaVergne, O.J. Simpson's longtime lawyer and executor of his estate, declared his intention to contest the payout of a $33.5 million judgment awarded to the families of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. LaVergne stated his opposition to the Goldman family receiving money from Simpson's estate. 

All of Simpson's property will go into a trust established in January, with the estate's total value yet to be determined. LaVergne's animosity towards the Goldman family partly stems from their acquisition and renaming of Simpson's controversial book manuscript, "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer." Simpson's funeral arrangements are pending, with cremation expected in the coming days.

For more information see Katelyn Newberg “O.J.’s executor says he wants Goldmans to get ‘zero, nothing’ from estate”, Las Vegas Review-Journal April 12, 2024.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn and Peter Grema (University of Virginia) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 15, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

O.J. Simpson's brain will not be donated to CTE research: report

OJO.J. Simpson will be cremated according to his wishes, with no plans to donate his brain for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) research. Malcolm LaVergne, Simpson's long-term attorney and executor, confirmed that the family has declined multiple requests for brain donation for CTE research. 

The Boston University CTE Center previously revealed that 92% of the 376 former NFL players they studied had CTE, highlighting the ongoing debate about the connection between football and the brain disease. CTE is a degenerative brain condition likely caused by repeated head injuries, with symptoms often including anger.

Simpson, a former NFL player known for his controversial life both on and off the field, had a career overshadowed by the 1994 killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which he was acquitted. LaVergne indicated that Simpson's remains will likely be cremated on Tuesday with the possibility of a later "celebration of life-type service" for close friends and family.

For more information see Paulina Dedaj “O.J. Simpson’s brain will not be donated to CTE research: report”, Fox News Sports, April 13, 2024.

April 13, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

O.J. Simpson dies of cancer at age 76, family says

OJO.J. Simpson, the former football star and actor, has passed away at 76 after battling prostate cancer. His life was marked by both achievements and controversy, notably the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.Simpson was acquitted in the criminal trial, but later found liable in a civil trial. 

Simpson first gained popularity as the Heisman Trophy winner for the University of Southern California in the 1970s, and public fascination with Simpson has never faded. His legacy includes his football career, acting roles, and the infamous Bronco chase and televised trial, which captivated the nation. 

For more information see ESPN News Services “O.J. Simpson dies of cancer at age 76, family says”, ESPN, April 11, 2024.

April 11, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2024

Stars shine path for 105-year-old amateur astronomer to witness total solar eclipse for 13th time

EclipseLaVerne Biser, a retired engineer and avid eclipse enthusiast at 105 years old, has witnessed 12 total solar eclipses in his lifetime and is about to experience his 13th.

Biser's fascination with astronomy was sparked early by the sight of the Milky Way on his parent's farm in Ohio. After a successful engineering career, he devoted himself to exploring the cosmos, building telescopes, and chasing eclipses. His passion for eclipses was shared with his late wife, whom he traveled the world with to witness these celestial events. 

The couples travels took them to various exotic locations, creating cherished memories. Despite his age, Biser remains determined to maintain his health and continue stargazing. He attributes his vitality to a clean lifestyle. 

For more information see Chris Oberholtz “Stars shine path for 105-year-old amateur astronomer to witness total solar eclipse for 13th time”, Fox News, March 29, 2024.

April 8, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Lou Conter, last survivor of USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor attack, dies at 102

LouConterLou Conter, the last survivor of the USS Arizona battleship that sank during the Pearl Harbor attack, has died at the age of 102. Conter, who passed away in Grass Valley, California, was alongside his daughter and two sons.

Conter was a quartermaster on the Arizona during the attack, vividly recalling the devastation caused by enemy bombs. Despite the chaos, Conter and other survivors tended to the wounded. They stayed on board until all possible survivors were rescued. Following Pearl Harbor, Conter became a pilot, flying combat missions in the Pacific during World War II. He later became the Navy's first SERE officer, training personnel on survival techniques. Despite his heroism, Conter always insisted that the true heroes were the thousands who lost their lives in the attack.

In his later years, Conter remained dedicated to honoring their memory, participating in remembrance ceremonies, and emphasizing the importance of respecting those who perished.

For more information see Audrey McAvoy “Lou Conter, last survivor of USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor attack, dies at 102”, AP News, April 1, 2024.

April 2, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 1, 2024

Marilyn Monroe Pink Pucci Dress, Hugh Hefner Smoking Jacket Sell at Auction

Marilyn monroeA recent auction featured a variety of Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Hefner collectibles. Among the notable items sold was a pink Pucci dress Monroe wore, fetching a record-breaking $325,000. Other items included Hefner's smoking jacket and slippers, Monroe's grave marker, and various clothing items worn in films and photoshoots. 

A tech investor, Anthony Jabin, purchased several items, expressing his desire to be near Monroe for eternity. The auction, titled "Icons: Playboy, Hugh Hefner X Marilyn Monroe," amassed over $4 million and highlighted the intertwined legacies of Hefner and Monroe despite them having never met personally. Monroe's appearances in Hefner's Playboy magazine solidified their status as influential figures in twentieth-century America.

For more information see Kimberly Nordyke “Marilyn Monroe Pink Pucci Dress, Hugh Hefner Smoking Jacket Sell at Auction”, Hollywood Reporter, March 30, 2024.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention. 

April 1, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2024

$1 Billion Donation Will Provide Free Tuition at a Bronx Medical School

Estate planningDr. Ruth Gottesman, a 93-year-old widow of a Wall Street financier, has donated a historic $1 billion to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, instructing that the funds cover tuition for all future students. Dr. Gottesman, a former professor at Einstein with a background in learning disabilities, donated from her late husband's fortune, which was derived from investments, including an early stake in Berkshire Hathaway. This gift, among the largest to an educational institution in the U.S. and likely the largest to a medical school, aims to alleviate the burden of medical school debt, which often exceeds $200,000, and to diversify the student body by making medical education more accessible to those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The donation is particularly significant as it goes to a medical institution in the Bronx, known as the city's poorest borough with high rates of premature deaths and overall poor health indicators. Dr. Gottesman's close relationship with Dr. Philip Ozuah, CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, affiliated with Einstein, was pivotal in her decision. Their shared commitment to serving the Bronx community and their connection forged through challenging times, including Dr. Gottesman's husband's illness and subsequent recovery, exemplify the deep bonds underlying this transformative act of philanthropy. Dr. Gottesman's vision ensures a debt-free path for future medical professionals. It aims to foster greater inclusivity in medical education, marking a significant step towards addressing healthcare access and opportunity disparities.

For more information see Joseph Goldstein “$1 Billion Donation Will Provide Free Tuition at a Bronx Medical School”, The New York Times, February 24, 2024.

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

February 26, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Toby Keith, one of country music's biggest stars, dies at 62

Toby KeithCountry music icon Toby Keith, known for chart-topping hits like "Red Solo Cup" and "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," has passed away at 62 after battling stomach cancer. His death, confirmed by his publicist and announced on his official website, marked the end of a remarkable three-decade career. Keith, a native of Oklahoma, began his journey in music while working in the oil fields, eventually catching the attention of renowned producer Harold Shedd. His breakout hit, "Should've Been a Cowboy," catapulted him to fame in 1993, becoming the most-played country song of the decade.

Keith's music resonated with audiences throughout his career, earning him numerous accolades, including Male Vocalist of the Year from the Academy of Country Music and induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His unapologetically patriotic anthem, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," stirred controversy and elevated his industry visibility. Despite feuds, notably with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Keith's impact on country music remained undeniable. He amassed 32 number-one singles and sold over 40 million albums, leaving an indelible mark on the genre.

Following his passing, tributes poured in from fellow country stars, highlighting Keith's profound influence and legacy. Artists like Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean expressed their sorrow, remembering him as a true cowboy and a significant figure in the industry. As fans mourned the loss, reminiscing about rides with Keith's music playing in the background, his contributions to country music were celebrated, ensuring his memory lives on in the hearts of fans worldwide.

For more information see  Ayana Archie, Diba Mohtasham “Toby Keith, one of country music’s biggest stars, dies at 62”, NPR, February 6, 2024.

February 7, 2024 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)