Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, May 17, 2019

Being Rich in America Depends on Where You Live

DenverA large influencer on how to answer the question of "How much money does it take to be considered wealthy?" is where the person asking the question resides. Being wealthy in Denver does not mean nearly the same thing as being wealthy in San Francisco, or in New York City for that matter. To be rich in the San Francisco Bay Area, a person needs to be worth $4 million, but if you ask baby boomers rather than the Average Joe, the number jumps to $5.1 million, according to Charles Schwab’s Modern Wealth Survey.

Almost everyone has heard that housing in San Francisco is hard to come by, and even then it is notoriously expensive. A ranking by housing website Trulia of the 100 largest metro areas found that, in late 2018, 81% of homes in the metro San Francisco area were worth $1 million or more. Across the entire country, only 3.6% homes were worth that much. Trulia reported that the percentage of homes worth $1 million or more in New York City and Washington, D.C. were 10.3% and 4.9%, respectively, far below that of the Bay Area.

Denver, far away from both coasts, had the lowest average dollar figure for what it would take to be thought of as wealthy, coming in at $2 million. 75% of people surveyed in Denver said that feeling personally wealthy is more about how they live their lives than about a particular dollar amount.

Better to be rich in Denver than average in San Francisco.

See Suzanne Woolley, Being Rich in America Depends on Where You Live, Financial Advisor, May 15, 2019.

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

May 17, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Family Inherits Field of Forgotten Ferraris

FOFA lawyer in Texas that also happened to be a car collector left behind a field of 13 Ferraris and other collectible cars after passing away of a serious illness several years ago. Previously he had put them into a rented warehouse, but after a missed payment due to being ill, the cars were moved to a nearby field. Among the beauties are a Testarossa, a 308 Quattrovalve, three 348s and other models.

Legal red tape caused the cars to remain in the field while the estate was processed, and by the time the vehicles were recovered they were in poor condition. Four of the documented cars - 2 Ferraris and 2 Rolls-Royces - are unaccounted for and are still have not been found.

Were they kept in good condition, the collection would likely have been worth over $1 million, but with the help of the organizer of an annual Ferrari Festival in Houston, Paul Cox, the family has quietly been able to find new homes for most of the cars with people who plan to bring them back to life.

See Gary Gastelu, Family Inherits Field of Forgotten Ferraris, Fox News, May 17, 2019.

May 17, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Man Arrested in Florida After Driving Stolen Truck with Caskets Inside

CasketFlorida Highway Patrol troopers received a call on Monday in Jacksonville to report that a Ryder moving truck had been stolen from a local casket company. When officers attempted to stop the truck after they spotted it, the driver took off.

The driver of the truck, identified as David Ayers, 39, led police on a mild ride down Interstate 295 for approximately 25 miles. “He was not driving in an erratic manner,” Sargent Dylan Bryan said, stating that he never went above the speed limit. The pursuit ended when the truck left the Interstate and stopped at a red light, where the troopers quickly apprehended the man.

Bryan said he was completely surprised to see the caskets in the storage compartment of the truck. Using a key from a funeral home just blocks away he was relieved to find out that all the caskets were empty. The truck also carried burglary tools and ripped out car wash vacuums. Ayers has been charged with auto theft, fleeing and eluding an officer, and driving while license suspended or revoked.

See Talia Kaplan, Man Arrested in Florida After Driving Stolen Truck with Caskets Inside, Highway Patrol Says, Fox News, May 13, 2019.

May 14, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Obituary of a Man Born in the Wrong Century

JohnwayneTim Schrandt, 63, passed away on March 29 after a short bout with cancer, but definitely left his mark on the memories of those that met him. His funeral was April 4 with full military rites. He was said to have had the demeanor of a tough, weathered cowboy more likely to be found on the prairie 100 years ago. He was not politically correct, and probably offended the people the liked him and hated him alike.

Tim was born to William (Bill) Schrandt and Mary (Schrandt) Manning on June 11,1955 and was the fourth of eight children. His opposition to authority and presenting himself as king of the mountain extended beyond the St. Wenceslaus school in Spillville, Iowa and followed him South Winneshiek High School in Calmar and later into the Army. This caused several ups and downs in his career and even some run ins with the law.

Tim worked at Camcar/Stanley Black and Decker in Decorah for over 30 years with a great number of his friends and a "bunch of morons." He leave behind two sons that he was extremely proud of, Cody and Josh, and two granddaughters that he proudly taught to cuss, Peyton and MacKenna. He is also survived by his mother and several siblings, Mike (Rita Dixon) Schrandt, Marty (Clint) Berg, Becky Schrandt-Miles, Bill (Grease) Schrandt, Pam (Rick) Barnes, Peter (Sandra) Schrandt and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

See Tim Schrandt of Ridgeway, Iowa, Schluter Balik Funeral Home, April 2, 2019.

Special thanks to Claudia B. Sangster for bringing this article to my attention.

April 8, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Brazilian Identical Twins Both Ordered to Pay Maintenance

FatherIdentical twin brothers in Brazil that were using their matching looks to date as many women as possible and defend themselves if they were caught cheating are finally paying the price for their nefarious actions. One of the women they both dated fathered a little girl, and neither man is stepping up to the plate to claim that she is his daughter.

A paternity test was inconclusive due to their identical twin status. The brothers thought that if neither man claimed paternity, the child support suit would be dropped. Judge Filipe Luís Peruca, in the central state of Goiás, had other ideas and put the little girl's needs before the men's. He ruled that both of the men will pay maintenance 230 reais, approximately $60, which is 30% of the minimum salary in the country.

The judge also ruled that both of the brothers will be listed on the girl's birth certificate.

See Brazilian Identical Twins Both Ordered to Pay Maintenance, BBC, April 2, 2019.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 7, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, New Cases, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Leslie Jones' Funeral Plans (SNL video)

SNLSometimes, planning a funeral can be more fun for a girl than her wedding. Especially when it involves Alex Rodriguez, Run DMC, and Jason Mamoa.

Disclaimer: video contains "adult" language.

See Weekend Update: Leslie Jones' Funeral Plans, NBC, March 9, 2019.

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

March 19, 2019 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York Woman 'Sucked into Parents' Grave' Suing Cemetery

TombstoneJoanne Cullen was visiting the final resting place of her parents in Long Island found herself falling into a sudden sinkhole at the cemetery. her lawyer, Joseph Perrini, says that the fall caused her to pitch forward and hit her face on a tombstone and cracked a tooth. The stunned woman says she sunk into the grave down to her hips, and her cries for help went unanswered.

The scene occurred on December 29, 2016. “Getting sucked into your parents’ grave when you go to visit them on a cool December afternoon with the sun going down … it’s terrifying and traumatizing,” the lawyer said. Now the North Bellmore woman is seeking $5 million from the St. Charles Resurrection Cemetery administrators’ from the trauma of the event.

She claims that she is terrified to visit her parent's grave again, suffers from headaches and nightmares, and now fears walking in open fields. Perrini contends that gravediggers who backfilled an adjacent grave to Cullen’s parents left an underground void that caused Cullen to descend into the ground.

See New York Woman 'Sucked into Parents' Grave' Suing Cemetery, Fox News, March 17, 2019.

March 19, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

This Man Won't go into a Nursing Home. He'll Spend His 'Golden Age' at the Holiday Inn

HolidayinnTerry Robinson has done the math and figured out a unique retirement strategy: staying at the hotel chain Holiday Inn will be cheaper than a nursing home. With the benefits of complimentary toiletries, a swimming pool, workout room, free breakfast and happy hour, topped off with the long-term stay and senior discounts, Robinson said that he will be saving $128 per day compared to the average nursing home.

The chain has more than 1,100 locations, so he would still have the opportunity to travel if he so desired. While the waiting list for a nursing home could be months long, a reservation could be made today for a Holiday Inn. 

Robinson said with a $5 tip per day the employees will be treating him like a customer rather than a patient. And, the staff will "call an ambulance . . . Or the undertaker" if anything goes wrong. There also will not be an issue with family visiting and even staying for a couple days. "The grandkids can use the pool."

See Kristin Lam, This Man Won't go into a Nursing Home. He'll Spend His 'Golden Age' at the Holiday Inn, USA Today, February 26, 2019.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 26, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Kids Write ‘Funniest’ Obituary for Mom in the First Person. Now People Think She Wrote it Before Her Passing

DevilheartRecently there was a story of Sybil Marie Hicks, who passed away at the age of 82 and left behind a hilarious obituary that she appeared to have written herself. Now the truth has come out, and it resonates with sweetness, love, and respect.

Her children wanted to think of way to memorialize their mother in a unique and interesting way. They decided to write her obituary from Sybil's perspective. The obituary joked around about her husband and her children - each with a nickname - and had nothing but kind words for all 13 of her grandchildren. The topper, though. was saying that their mom finally had the smoking hot body she always wanted, as she had been cremated.

The internet went wild for what appeared to be a wild, quirky, interesting lady that enjoyed the everyday laughs with her family. 

See Sara Vallone, Kids Write ‘Funniest’ Obituary for Mom in the First Person. Now People Think She Wrote it Before Her Passing, Dearly, February 8, 2019.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 22, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 11, 2019

After Cremation, She Got the Smoking Hot Body She Always Wanted

FireA Canadian woman did not allow her passing to slip away without expressing her humor. Sybil Marie Hicks of Baysville, Ontario, wrote her own obituary, full of comments making fun of herself, her children, and her lovable life. She passed away on February 2 at the age of 82, and her obituary appeared in the Hamilton Spectator on February 5.

Hicks wrote that she left behind her loving husband, Ron, and also her children, "whom I tolerated over the years” including her oldest son Bob, who was her favorite. She wrote about her regret that she will miss seeing her grandchildren grow up - all 13 that she named in her last writing.

But what made the humorous grandmother a bit of an internet celebrity, was a light-hearted remark towards her vanity. “I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted… having been cremated,” she wrote.

See Kathleen Joyce, Canadian Woman Writes Own Obituary, Says She has ‘Smoking Hot body She Always Wanted’ After Being Cremated, Fox News, February 6, 2019.

February 11, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)