Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

‘It Happens More Than We Would Like’: What to Know About Divorce if You’re Wealthy

DivorceFinancial planning is crucial for wealthy couples, primarily through the lens of marriage and potential divorce. Couples should approach marriage strategically, similar to starting a business, and emphasize the significance of open and honest communication about financial matters. 

Premarital discussions should cover topics such as income, wealth, trusts, cash flow, and borrowing. While prenuptial agreements can provide a framework for financial arrangements, they should be regularly revisited due to changing circumstances. Trusts are also integral to marriage planning and should be clearly defined in prenups. It is also important for both spouses to actively participate in financial planning to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts in the event of a divorce can be critical. 

For more information see Andrea Riquier “‘It Happens More Than We Would Like’: What to Know About Divorce if You’re Wealthy”, Barrons PENTA, January 23, 2024.

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

February 14, 2024 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 12, 2024

Article: Marvin Claims at Death

Patricia A. Cain (Professor of Law, Santa Clara University) recently published, Marvin Claims at Death, ACTEC Law Journal, VOLUME 49, Number 1, Fall 2023 (pub 1/24). Provided below is an Introduction:

The law applied to unmarried couples experienced a sea change in 1976 when the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Marvin v. Marvin. Before Marvin, courts often held that contracts between cohabitants dealing with rights of support or property could not be enforced because they were against public policy.

Post-Marvin, all states but two have recognized the right of unmarried cohabitants to enter into enforceable contracts to the extent there is consideration for the contract other than sex. Those contracts may be implied, express, oral or written. States vary in their willingness to recognize such contracts. Some states require the contract to be express. A handful require such contracts to be in writing.

But Marvin went beyond announcing a rule regarding contracts between unmarried couples. It also established the right of an unmarried partner to asset equitable claims against the other partner upon dissolution of the relationship…

February 12, 2024 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

North Carolina Central University Law Seeks T&E Faculty

The following announcement is from The Faculty Lounge and was brought to my attention by Adam Hirsch:

North Carolina Central University School of Law (“NCCU Law”) is seeking candidates for four faculty positions to start July 1, 2024. Founded in 1939 to provide opportunities for African American students to become lawyers, our mission is to provide an excellent legal education to historically underrepresented students from diverse backgrounds. NCCU Law is in Durham, North Carolina, a city that is part of the Research Triangle Region, known for its technology companies and scholarly institutions.

Applicants with a juris doctor from an ABA-accredited law school, a distinguished professional background, and a strong commitment to teaching will be considered. Priority areas requiring excellent doctrinal teachers include Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Decedents’ Estates, Property, and Torts. Successful applicants will be expected to teach in two or more of these areas. These are tenure-track positions.

We are also seeking exceptional clinical instructors in Family law and Juvenile Law, as well as Legal Writing instructors. These are term contract/non-tenure positions.
Interested applicants should apply by submitting a curriculum vita, cover letter, and list of three references to [email protected]. The positions will remain open until filled, but for priority consideration, please submit materials by February 22, 2024. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.

More information about NCCU Law is available at http://law.nccu.edu/. You can also contact committee Chair Mimi Afshar ([email protected]) if you have questions.

February 12, 2024 in Faculty Positions -- Permanent | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trusts & Estates Scholar Prof. Daniel Kelly Named Dean of St. Thomas School of Law

The following announcement is from The Faculty Lounge and was brought to my attention by Adam Hirsch:

Dan-Kelly-05_cropped-headshotThe University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis has announced that Daniel Kelly will be its next dean.  He is currently professor of law, director of  the Law and Economics Program and the founding director of the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate at Notre Dame.  Kelly, who holds a JD from Harvard, will take over on July 1.

February 12, 2024 in Appointments and Honors | Permalink | Comments (0)

University of Oregon seeks "pro tempore" faculty for Estate Planning

The following announcement is from The Faculty Lounge and was brought to my attention by Adam Hirsch:

The University of Oregon School of Law is a dynamic ABA-accredited law school and Oregon’s only public law school. Degrees offered include Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Conflict and Dispute Resolution (CRES), and a minor in undergraduate legal studies. Oregon Law’s mission is to provide a world-class education. We prepare students through excellent classroom teaching paired with a multitude of practical experience opportunities and robust professional development. Our faculty produce exceptional research and scholarship. We accomplish our mission in a positive, inclusive environment where we strive to provide everyone with opportunities to grow, contribute, and develop. Our aim is to learn, teach, and practice the principles of equity and justice as critical foundations for our overall effort to achieve excellence as a top-ranked law school. Success in this work requires a diverse group of people in various faculty and staff roles working in one of our two locations, Eugene and Portland. The University of Oregon is located within the traditional homelands of the Southern Kalapuya. Learn more about Oregon Law at law.uoregon.edu, and consider joining our team.

Position Summary

Pro tem instructors are temporary, non-full-time faculty who teach one or more courses in an academic year. Pro tempore positions are potentially renewable based on curricular needs, funding, and performance. Pro tem instructors work under the supervision of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis and the pool will remain active through February 2025.

The law school is interested in pro tem candidates with significant teaching and/or practice experience in the following areas: accounting and finance for lawyers, administrative law, alternative dispute resolution/mediation, antitrust, arbitration, bankruptcy, business law, civil procedure, conflicts of law, constitutional law, contracts, corporate finance, corporate law, criminal law and procedure, disability law, employment discrimination, employment law, energy law, environmental law, estate planning, evidence, family law, federal judicial settlements, federal jurisdiction, green construction, hazardous waste law, health law, human rights, immigration law, intellectual property law, international law, interviewing and counseling, jurisprudence, labor law, land use law, legal research and writing, LLM seminar, litigation, local government law, professional responsibility, property law, renewable energy law, securities regulation, sports law, tax law, trial practice, tribal law, water resources law, and wildlife law.

The law school is interested in candidates with expertise in a variety of law-related subjects who have experience teaching undergraduate students. The law school offers a curriculum of undergraduate legal studies courses and seeks pro tempore instructors for some of those courses as well.

For more information and to apply, click here.

February 12, 2024 in Faculty Positions -- Visiting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 11, 2024

The Swedes know the secret to happiness: You are not your stuff

Estate planningDealing with a deceased loved one's belongings can prove to be overwhelming for most due to the vast accumulation of items over the years. Many people have psychological attachment to their possessions making it difficult to let go. The author of this article turned to the "Swedish death cleaning" concept (döstädning), which emphasizes the importance of reevaluating one's relationship with belongings and simplifying life by decluttering. 

The article discusses the emotional and environmental benefits of reducing clutter and provides insights from research on the psychological attachment to possessions, including how it can lead to hoarding behavior. Ultimately, it suggests prioritizing experiences over material possessions for greater happiness and well-being.

For more information see Michael J. Coren “The Swedes know the secret to happiness: You are not your stuff”, The Washington Post, August 1, 2023.

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

February 11, 2024 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Article: The Haunting of Wealth Law

Allison Tait (University of Richmond School of Law) recently published, The Haunting of Wealth Law, ACTEC Law Journal, VOLUME 49, Number 1, Fall 2023 (pub 1/24). Provided below is an Abstract:

“If I am getting ready to speak at length about ghosts, inheritance, and generations, generations of ghosts, which is to say about certain others who are not present, nor presently living, either to us, in us, or outside us, it is in the name of justice.” -Jacque Derrida, Specters of Marx

 Wealth law is full of ghosts, ghosts everywhere all at once. AS a form of both preservation and disruption, a form of continuance as well as a form of interruption, ghosts are reminders of the past in its multiple forms. But they are also figures that prompt consideration of the present as well as speculation about the future. Jacques Derrida, who suggested the idea of “hauntology,” posited haunting and the ghostly as being “time out of joint,” a reference to Hamlet’s confused cry upon seeing his father’s ghost that Derrida analyzes extensively. In this sense, ghosts are akin to inheritance, a legal schema in which the past persists into both present and future. Like ghosts, inheritance and wealth transfer laws represent ruptures in time, enabling the destabilization presence of the past alongside the various possibilities for the present and future…


February 10, 2024 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 9, 2024

Article: Estate Planning for the Apocalypse

Carla Spivack recently published, Estate Planning for the Apocalypse, ACTEC Law Journal, VOLUME 49, Number 1, Fall 2023 (pub 1/24). Provided below is an Introduction:

Members of ACTEC and of the Section of Real Property, Trusts, and Estates work on a daily basis advising clients about planning for the next generation. The practice of estate planning means helping people plan for the future. None of us can any longer ignore the fact that the future involves climate change. More accurately, the present involves climate change; the future involves more or less devastating effects of climate change depending on what we do now.

We also cannot ignore the fact that the fates of the wealthy and the poor will become more and more intertwined as the planet gets warmer. Wealth inequality will make the impact of climate change worse for everyone, not just for the world’s poor and geographically vulnerable, but for the comfortable and well-off in more privileged regions. At first, of course, climate change will devastate populations who live on coasts and islands, those who can’t afford air conditioning, medical care, and decent housing, those whose food supply the volatile climate will disrupt. But eventually, the heat will come for everyone else, even those who bought vast acreage in flyover country to escape the rising oceans or dug bunkers deep underground with artificial sunlight to grow their food—or even built floating “states” on the open ocean….

February 9, 2024 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 8, 2024

When a Neighbor Dies Unattended, How Should the Building Handle It?

Rivington Street AptIn this "Ask Real Estate," a reader asks about a situation stemming from two unattended deaths in a 60-unit co-op building in Brooklyn, New York. Six months later, the reader's apartment remains affected by the smell.

Despite a court order allowing the co-op board to remove the apartment's contents, the smell persists, posing a problem for the resident. Running air purifiers helps, but some areas remain unusable. Recourse options are limited, as household insurance doesn't cover non-physical damage.

Jill Terreri Ramos explores the legally complex issue.

For more information see  Jill Terreri Ramos “When a Neighbor Dies Unattended, How Should the Building Handle It?”, The New York Times, January 27, 2024.

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

February 8, 2024 in 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)