Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Just for Laughs Cartoon

LaughingSometimes, a cartoon gets down to the truth of what occurs in any group planning setting.

Cartoon link.

Special thanks to Richard E. Mattersdorff for bringing this to my attention.

February 6, 2019 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Man Claiming to be William Shatner’s Long-Lost Son Wants to Take Actor’s Name

ShatnerPeter Sloan, a 62 year old man from Florida, petitioned the Pinellas County court to have his last name changed to that of the man he believes to be his biological father. He claims that he is actually the son of William Shatner, of Star Trek fame.

Sloan says that he is ready to take a paternity test with Shatner. He says that in the 1950's the 87 year old actor worked with his mother, the late actress Kathy Burt, and the two had a one night stand. Sloan says he is the result of that night. Shatner has repeatedly denied that he is Sloan's biological father.

The actor’s lawyers filed a cease and desist order against Sloan, threatening further legal action if he continues with the name change.

See Stephen Sorace, Man Claiming to be William Shatner’s Long-Lost Son Wants to Take Actor’s Name, Fox, January 23, 2019.

January 24, 2019 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Kentucky Newspaper Apologizes After Refusing to Run Obit Blaming Trump For Woman's Death

IreneFrances Irene Finley Williams of Kentucky was described as a fiery and opinioned woman, who had strong negative opinions about the current President and his administration. A few months before her death on November 21, 2018, she told members of her family that "If I die soon, all this Trump stuff has had an effect."

Williams' daughter, Cathy Duff, wrote the obituary for her mother, citing her love for babies, Elvis Presley, and of course dancing. Duff also mentioned Williams' affection for horse racing and the University of Louisville. The last line of the obituary, in accordance with her mother's high-spirited views, read "Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump Administration." The obituary and a check for $1,684 was submitted to the Louisville Courier Journal to run it.

However, the paper rejected the obituary for its "negative" line about Trump, giving rise to Williams' son Art to post on Facebook about the predicament. The family decided they did not want to postpone the funeral and removed the last line so the newspaper would run the obituary. More than 100 people reacted to the post, and the newspaper later issued an apology and returned the fee. “Mrs. Williams’ obituary should have published as it was presented to our obits team and as requested by the family,” said Richard Green, the Courier Journal’s editor.

See Kentucky Newspaper Apologizes After Refusing to Run Obit Blaming Trump For Woman's Death, January 17, 2019.

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

January 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Four Best Friends Decided to Share a Tombstone

CardsFor years, a tombstone in a Toronto intrigued visitors, containing the names of four women and in large bold letters: "FRIENDS." After a bit of research and hunting down the living relatives of the women, a reporter was able to track down the truth of the interesting gravesite.

Pauline Chorna, Annie Hrynchak, Anna Baran, and Nellie Handiak shared many things in life, as they all immigrated from a heavily communist area of Europe and settled into Canada. Though the particulars of the beginning of their friendship are shadowed in mystery, the women enjoyed the Carpatho-Russian cultural center and all shared a love of playing cards. 

In the 1960s, the women decided they would all be buried together within one cemetery plot. Handiak purchased the plot in 1968 and requested that the women be buried side by side - not stacked on top of each other. Chorna passed away first in 1977 and was laid to rest in the plot, along with the FRIENDS tombstone. Hrynchak died in 1993 and Baran was quick behind her in 1996. Hrynchak waited 10 years to join her friends, and her daughter states her mother was very "lonely" during that time. When she was buried in the shared plot, she was buried with a deck of cards.

See Opheli Garcia Lawler, Four Best Friends Decided to Share a Tombstone, The Cut, January 7, 2019.

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

January 8, 2019 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Woman Says Man Brought Her to Grandmother's Funeral on First Date

CasketOne woman's date in the United Kingdom took a surprising turn. According to a text message conversation with her friend Bridget Jones (maybe she put it in her diary?), the date topped her list of worst first dates.

After being told to wear a black dress, the woman was expecting a romantic outing. But the notion of romance died when they pulled up to a crematorium. The man told her he really needed someone to come with him “to this thing,” which turned out to be his grandmother’s funeral. Not wanting to be rude nor to cause a scene, the woman attended the funeral with the man.

But the awkwardness continued and compounded. The man's mother was inconsolable, sobbing, and appeared to be "on some kind of medication." The man unashamedly joined in the crying, and the woman was placed in the position of "comfort[ing] this total stranger." The woman found out that the man's girlfriend had left him a few weeks prior, and apparently needed someone to fill her spot.

After the funeral, she made her date take her home and said she did not stay for the wake. Safe to say there will not be a second date.

See Michelle Gant, Woman Says Man Brought Her to Grandmother's Funeral on First Date, Fox News, November 30, 2018.

December 3, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)