Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SEALS Trusts and Estates Proposed Programming

The following is posted at the request of Profs. Naomi Cahn and Deborah S. Gordon:

We are hoping to encourage more trusts and estates programming at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools conference, which will be held from August 6-12 in Ft. Lauderdale.  We will be proposing two discussion groups, described below, one which focuses on pedagogy and one on scholarship; please let us know if you would like to participate. In addition, please feel free to propose a panel or discussion group yourself; here is the submission information, http://www.sealslawschools.org/submissions/.

Thank you!  If you have any questions and would like to participate, then please contact Naomi Cahn, ncahn@law.gwu.edu/, and Deborah Gordon, dsg45@drexel.edu


Both pedagogy and scholarship within trusts and estates are moving beyond traditional core topics.  We are proposing two plenary discussion groups that explore how pedagogy and scholarship are expanding the ways of teaching and studying trusts and estates and related doctrines. One group will address innovations in teaching, including both skills and doctrine, and teaching about topics that overlap with other areas of the  law, such as Elder Law, Family Law, Property, and Professional Responsibility; the second group will explore new scholarship.

October 17, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Professor Naomi Cahn to Receive the Lifetime Achievement in Family Law Award

ZzzzNaomi Cahn has been selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement in Family Law Award. The award is meant to recognize substantial scholarly contributions to the field by individuals who have made an impact in the law through their advocacy, writing, or public service. Professor Cahn will be lecturing on September 14, 2017 at the Illinois College of Law on the following: “The New ART of Family: Developments in the Law of Assisted Reproductive Technologies”

See Illinois College of Law: Family and Public Policy

September 14, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Call for Authors – Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Trusts and Estates Opinions

FeministThe U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and commentaries for an edited collection tentatively titled, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Trusts and Estates Opinions.  This edited volume is part of a collaborative project among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions in the United States.  The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.  Subsequent volumes in the series will focus on different areas of law and will be under review by Cambridge.

Volume editors Deborah Gordon, Browne C. Lewis and Carla Spivack seek prospective authors for twelve to fifteen rewritten family law opinions covering a range of topics.  With the assistance of an advisory panel of distinguished trusts and estates scholars, the editors have selected decisions that have not appeared in other Feminist Judgment volumes; potential authors are welcome to suggest opinions which do not appear on the list, but inclusion of cases not already on the list is at the sole discretion of the editors and the advisory board.   Further, as befits a T&E focused volume, authors should be prepared to rewrite cases in ways that bring into focus intersectional concerns beyond gender, such as race, class, disability, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, and beyond. 

Proposals must be either to 1.rewrite an opinion (subject to a 10,000-word limit) or 2.comment on a rewritten opinion (4,000-word limit).  Rewritten decisions may be majority opinions, dissents, or concurrences.  Authors of rewritten opinions should abide by the law and precedent in effect at the time of the original decision. Commentators should explain the original court decision, how the feminist judgment differs from the original judgment, and what difference a feminist judgment might have made.  The volume editors conceive of feminism broadly and invite applications that seek to advance, complicate, or critique feminist ideas and advocacy. To apply, please attach a brief cv and please rank three choices from the list.  

List of Cases: 

  1. In re Strittmater's Estate, 53 A.2d 205 (N.J. 1947) (insane delusion)
  2. In re Will of Moses, 227 So. 2d at 831 (Miss. 1969) (undue influence)
  3. Estate of Wilson, 452 N.E.2d 1228 (N.Y. 1983) (charitable trust)
  4. Cruzan v. Missouri Dep’t of Health, 497 U.S. 261 (1990)
  5. Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Fogle, 419 S.E.2d 825, 826 (S.C. Ct. App. 1992) (slayer)
  6. O'Neal v. Wilkes, 439 S.E.2d 490 (Ga. 1994) (equitable adoption)
  7. Via v. Putnam, 656 So. 2d 460 (Fla. 1995) (pretermitted spouses, mutual wills, and dower)
  8. Estate of Myers, 594 N.W.2d 563 (Neb. 1999) (elective share and inter vivos trust)
  9. Egelhof v. Egelhof, 532 U.S. 141 (2001) (ERISA preemption)
  10. Drevenik v. Nardone, 862 A.2d 635 (Super. Ct. Pa. 2004) (spendthrift trust and child support)
  11. Reece v. Elliot, 208 S.W.3d 419, 423 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2006) (antenuptial agreement)
  12. Khabbaz v. Comm’r Soc. Sec. Admin., 930 A2d 1180 (N.H.2007) (reproductive technology)
  13. Karsenty v. Schoukroun, 959 A.2d 1147 (Md. 2008) (elective share) 

Submit proposals to B.C.LEWISnull@csuohio.nulledu.no later than Friday, September 29, 2017.  The editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by Monday, October, 30, 2017.

The editors are committed to including a diverse group of authors in the volume. The Feminist Judgments Project is committed to including authors and commentators from diverse backgrounds. If you feel an aspect of your personal identity is important to your participation, please feel free to include that in your expression of interest.

First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on Friday, February 2, 2018.  First drafts of commentaries will be due on Friday, March 9, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Carla Spivack, at cspivack@okcu.edu, Deborah S. Gordon at deborah.s.gordon@drexel.edu, or Browne C. Lewis at B.C.LEWISnull@csuohio.nulledu.

August 30, 2017 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Announcing the 2017-2019 class of RPTE Fellows

PattonThe Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law (RPTE) section of the American Bar Association (ABA) sponsors a fellowship program designed to encourage young lawyers to become actively engaged in the section. The program seeks to develop these men and women into future leaders by involving them in substantive work occurring within RPTE. To accomplish this, RPTE fellows are paired with a committee chair who serves as their mentor. The mentor maintains an obligation to expose the fellow to all aspects involved in committee membership. Additionally, fellows are involved in various RPTE projects of import: writing for RPTE publications, attending leadership meetings, becoming section liaisons, and becoming engaged members of the Membership Committee are some of the tasks fellows may undertake. For the 2017-19 bar years, the following individuals have been selected to represent the RPTE section as Trust & Estate Fellows: Abigail Rosen, Caryn Friedman, Danielle Kincaid, Kelly Perez, and Jordan Veurink.

See RPTE Leadership Meeting, American Bar Association, 2017.

August 17, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Professor Alfred Brophy a 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Finalist

1478The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center has chosen Alfred Brophy as a finalist for the 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for “University, Court, and Slave: Pro-Slavery Thought in Southern Colleges and Courts and the Coming of Civil War” (Oxford University Press). Professor Alfred Brophy teaches at The University of Alabama School of Law in the fields of trusts, estates, property, and remedies. Professor Brophy received his J.D. from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

The Frederick Douglass Book Prize represents one of the most highly sought-after awards relating to the study of the African-American experience. The $25,000 prize is given annually to the winner of the award as recognition for the best book on slavery, abolition, and/or resistance published in the preceding year.

See 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Finalists Announced, Yale Macmillan Center, August 1, 2017.

August 8, 2017 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Associate Dean to Bring Greater Awareness To Law Faculty Work

Quinnipiac_Law_TutoringJuly 1, Jeff Cooper took on his new role as the associate dean of research and faculty development at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law. He has been teaching at the law school since 2003. Cooper sees himself as an agent for the faculty and aims to “support them to make sure faculty scholarship gets all the attention it deserves.”

Current law school faculty have published a number of hard-hitting works that have found their way into prestigious law journals. Topics range from Professor John Thomas’s articles dealing with immigration law to Professor Jennifer Herbst’s research on health law and government programs. For Cooper, the ideal is for faculty to publish with an eye toward making a positive impact on judicial and academic policies.

Cooper has himself published a number of lauded works. His examinations concerning estate taxation and wealth transfer have been published in highly recognizable and noteworthy journals, and these works have been oft referenced in publications like Forbes.

See New Associate Dean to Bring Greater Awareness To Law Faculty Work, Quinnipiac, July 18, 2017.

July 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 14, 2017

‘A Concise Restatement of Donative Transfers and Trusts’ Now Available

9780314252845LA Concise Restatement of Donative Transfers and Trusts is now available for purchase. This Restatement is a joint publication of the American Law Institute and West Academic Publishing. The title is a concentrated version of the Property and Trust Restatements. This is a great resource for those interested in learning about this particular area of law.

See ‘A Concise Restatement of Donative Transfers and Trusts’ Now Available, American Law Institute, June 30, 2017.

July 14, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links, Scholarship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Conference on Central States Law Schools Association 2017 Scholarship Conference

CleThe Central States Law Schools Association is holding a conference entitled, Central States Law Schools Association 2017 Scholarship Conference, which will take place October 6-7, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Carbondale, Illinois. Provided below is a description of the event:

Registration is Open for the CSLSA 2017 Conference

Registration is now open for the Central States Law Schools Association 2017 Scholarship Conference, which will be held on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7 at Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale, Illinois. We invite law faculty from across the country to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress.

CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend.

Please click here to register. The deadline for registration is September 2, 2017.

Hotel rooms are now available for pre-booking. The conference hotel is the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Carbondale. To reserve a room, call 618-549-2600 and ask for the SIU School of Law rate ($109/night) or book online and use block code SOL. SIU School of Law will provide shuttle service to and from the Holiday Inn & Conference Center for conference events. Other hotel options (without shuttle service) are listed on our website. Please note that conference participants are responsible for all of their own travel expenses including hotel accommodations.

July 11, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

AALS Call for Papers -- Historical and Empirical Evidence and the Law of Trusts and Estates: What Really Happened?


Trusts & Estates is a far-reaching and broad-based discipline of law that impacts private citizens’ decisions about mortality, property, and personal relationships. Many aspects of this legal discipline, however, are based on legislators’, judges’, and law reformers’ speculations about donors and their preferred intentions. And yet estate planning documents, whether created by lawyers or by the donors themselves, provide a window into history, society, and human interaction.  Although there are a handful of decades-old and oft-cited studies describing evidence derived from will vaults about what ordinary people had decided to do with their belongings and wealth, until recently relatively few trusts and estates scholars had explored empirical evidence in this field.  Over the past few years, however, there has been a renewed interest in analyzing historical and empirical evidence derived from court files, will vaults, tax and other records, and surveys of individuals and institutions.  Scholars have used this material to revisit some of long accepted assumptions and unanswered questions that underlie trusts and estates theory, doctrine, values, and practice. This panel will explore this ongoing historical and empirical research as it interrogates existing ideas about preferred default rules, interpretation standards, donor and beneficiary preferences, fiduciary norms, and wealth accumulation and transmission more generally.   

Submissions, due dates and method:

Submissions should be of abstracts between 250 and 1000 words, inclusive of any footnotes. Scholarship may be at any stage of the publication process from work-in-progress to completed article, but if already published, scholarship may not be published any earlier than 2016. Each potential speaker may submit only one abstract for consideration.

There are two submission due dates.  The Section seeks detailed abstracts in late summer, with final papers due in late fall.

  • The due date for detailed abstracts is August 25, 2017.
  • The due date for final papers is November 17, 2017.

Abstracts and papers should be submitted electronically to:  Deborah S. Gordon at dsg45@drexel.edu 

Submission review, selection, conference attendance:

Abstracts and papers will be reviewed by members of the Section’s Executive Committee.  Selected presenters will be announced in the fall of 2017.  The Call for Paper presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee and hotel and travel expenses. 

Inquiries or questions:

Any inquiries about the Call for Papers should be directed to Professor Deborah Gordon at dsg45@drexel.edu , (215) 571-4811(w) or (610) 710-9322 (c). 

May 31, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Call for Contributions: Festschrift Issue of the ACTEC Law Journal in Honor of Dennis Belcher (1951-2017)


The ACTEC Law Journal invites contributions to a special festschrift issue devoted to the life and work of Dennis Belcher, our colleague and Past President of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. In academia, a festschrift is a volume of writings by different authors, typically meant to honor or memorialize someone who has made great contributions to their field. The editors of the ACTEC Law Journal believe it is appropriate and fitting to honor Dennis’ contributions to our profession in this special way. 

The festschrift will consist entirely of written contributions (not a live program) and is expected to be published in early 2018. Festschrift contributions should be between 5 to 20 double-spaced typed pages (including footnotes) and are due on September 15, 2017. Essays may be on any topic of interest to the author that is relevant to Dennis’ career or interests. Topics may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Estate planning techniques or doctrines that were of particular interest to Dennis
  • Salient cases in the public record in which Dennis played an important role
  • Dennis’ role as a mentor in the profession
  • Dennis’ role as a leader in the profession
  • Service to the profession and/or community by Dennis
  • Personal reflections about working with Dennis 

Essays may be in the form of a traditional scholarly work (about a Trusts & Estates related topic) or a more reflective personal essay. Citation style should conform to the ACTEC Law Journal Guide to Citation Form, available here: http://www.actec.org/assets/1/6/ACTEC_Journal_Citation_Guide.pdf 

Contributions from ACTEC members and non-ACTEC members are very welcome. Please make submissions directly to the faculty editor, Bridget Crawford (bcrawford@law.pace.edu).

May 26, 2017 in Articles, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)