Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, July 8, 2019

Friends Make a Pact To Retire and Die Together

ChampagneA band of seven women in China are living out an agreement made many years prior: to retire and live out their lives under the same roof after they all turned 60. The women have known each other for 20 years and just last year they pooled their money together to buy and renovate a large brick house in a village roughly an hour away from the city of Guangzhou.

Now featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows with views of paddy fields, a tea room, a pool, and separate bedrooms upstairs, the house is the perfect place for the women to retreat to during their retirement. The women spend their time cooking, barbecuing, singing, and drinking tea under the moon. With each woman putting in work and mastering a different skill, the chances of fighting are diminished. 

See Marie Lodi, Friends Make a Pact To Retire and Die Together, The Cut, July 2, 2019.

Special thanks to Molly Neace for bringing this article to my attention.

July 8, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Nevada Trooper Pulls Over Hearse Carrying Corpse in Carpool Lane: Police

HearseA police officer in Las Vegas has to explain the High Occupancy Vehicle lane law to the driver of a hearse who had assumed the deceased person was included in the vehicle count.

“Yes, it’s a person, but they’re not in a seat and they’re not living and breathing,” the trooper reportedly said. “This body was in the rear cargo and that doesn’t qualify as a seat.” The driver was given just a warning, though.

Nevada Highway Patrol later issued a warning that passengers must be living, breathing people in order to be counted as occupants in cars using the high occupancy vehicle lane. The stop occurred amid increased enforcement of carpool lane violations.

See Bradford Betz, Nevada Trooper Pulls Over Hearse Carrying Corpse in Carpool Lane: Police, Fox News, July 3, 2019.

July 6, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 7, 2019

Testator's will demonstrates his contempt for his sisters and ex-wife

McConathyAttorney Richard "Tex" McConathy died on November 27, 2015 after living a full and interesting life including being wounded in battle in Viet Nam and receiving countless decorations and awards for his service.

Tex was the last person in Texas allowed to take the Texas Bar Exam without graduating from law school. His study of law under the mentorship of a judge, also his uncle, substituted for his law degree.

In his will dated April 22, 2004 and probated in Parker County, Texas in 2015, he demonstrated how he really felt about his sisters and ex-wife when he provided:

To Carol Webb Barnes, Marge McConathy, and Mary Ann Allen, I hereby give, devise, and bequeath equally among the three my cold dead ass so that each can kiss it from now until eternity. As for the rest of my estate, I figured that you took all that you could when I was alive so you will get nothing.

Special thanks to Paula Durant, Probate Auditor for Parker County, Texas Judge Pat Deen for bringing this fascinating case to my attention.

June 7, 2019 in Humor, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)