Monthly Archives: May 2016

May 24, 2016

Probate Judges Meet to Consider Current Issues

by C. Jean Stewart

Twice a year probate judges from around the country gather to address current issues in probate, protective proceedings and mental health as part of the work of the National College of Probate Judges (“NCPJ”). Last week we met at the Grand Hotel Resort in Point Clear, Alabama.

Julia Meister, a prominent attorney from Cincinnati, Ohio, discussed the increasing frequency with which probate courts are handling competency disputes in the last chapter of life as opposed to traditional will contests occurring after death. She mentioned the recent, much-publicized probate court decision involving Sumner Redstone. After viewing the video-taped deposition of Mr. Redstone, the probate judge found the media mogul was sufficiently competent to identify who he wanted to be his health care provider.

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May 16, 2016

Basic Estate Principles Learned From the Death of Prince

by Jody H. Hall, Paralegal

The entire world entered mourning when music legend Prince died unexpectedly on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. There is certainly no shortage of stories and speculation in the news and social media regarding the circumstances surrounding his death, and the handling of his legal, personal and business affairs.

However, as trust and estates professionals, we are drawn to the estate planning, or lack thereof, of the cultural icon. The story that will undoubtedly change and evolve as the estate is administered can be an entertaining and valuable source of lessons learned to share with clients, family members, and dare I say, ourselves.

No one has been able to find a Will. The initial reports stated that no one was able to find a will, and no one had reason to believe that a Last Will and Testament had been created. This underscores not only the importance of having a Will, but also of making sure your nominated personal representative knows where to find it.  Most jurisdictions still require the original will to be lodged or filed with the Court, so your loved ones will need to be able to easily access the original signed document.  Copies are generally not acceptable without additional court action.  The best place to store those documents may also not be in a bank safe deposit box, unless that person has access to the box already.  Otherwise, it may require Court intervention to access the box to determine if a Will is inside.  Communication before your death with those that you trust to handle your affairs after your death will alleviate much stress and confusion.  Read more >>