O.J.’s Unpaid Debt

The People vs. Orenthal Simpson captured the nation’s attention in 1995. The State of California brought charges against football and movie star, O.J. Simpson for the murder of former spouse Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. The case resulted in a not-guilty verdict. However, in a civil suit brought by the families, he was […]

Life After Death Planning

Dennis Cunningham, famed civil rights lawyer, recently died of cancer. He was best known for advocacy on behalf of the Black Panthers and Attica prison inmates. Cunningham was also a devoted environmentalist. He wanted his body to be recycled. He instructed his children to have him composted after he died. Some refer to the composting […]

Plan for the End

Can you clearly state the medical treatment you want at the end of your life? Many execute a living will to express their desires in case of a terminal illness or end-stage condition. We might not know when a disease is terminal or when that condition has reached the end stage. One challenge is to […]

Beach Boy Guardianship

Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys fame was the subject of the film Love & Mercy. Wilson was portrayed by both Paul Dano, as a young Brian, and John Cusack as a more mature Brian. The film addresses Wilson’s lifelong struggle with mental illness. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Court in California received […]

Dangers of Being a Trustee

Have you been named the trustee of a trust? Perhaps a family member or close friend has honored you with the designation. Yet, the savvy trustee should be wary of taking on a fiduciary role. One recent Maryland case shines a spotlight on the dangers of being a trustee. As a fiduciary, you have responsibilities […]

Losing Control

Cindy Birdsong, of the Supremes, needed help controlling her dwindling assets. Mavis Leno, Jay’s wife, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before having completed her estate planning. After suffering a brain aneurism, Joni Mitchell was unable to make medical decisions. For each of these women, Courts were asked to appoint a Conservator. Cindy Birdsong. Courts appoint […]

Dianne Feinstein’s Trust Problems

Dianne Feinstein has many problems. She is a frail 90-year-old member of the United States Senate. In addition to her health problems, Feinstein is engaged in a lawsuit over trusts created with her late husband. We can’t avoid old age, but proper estate planning can help avoid family fights. Two separate lawsuits were filed in […]

Aretha Franklin Getting RESPECT

Imagine you are sitting on a couch at home. With pen in hand, you jot down notes about how your assets should be distributed when you die. You tuck the pages into a spiral notebook and shove the notebook under the couch cushions.  Perhaps you are just an ordinary Joe or Josephine or Aretha Franklin. […]

Housing God’s Ministers: Parsonage Explained

Rabbis and other clergy are less well compensated than comparable professionals with advanced degrees. Yet, clergy have one advantage over most other professions. A portion of clergy salary can avoid income taxation if deemed parsonage. Preferential treatment for clergy raises some questions. Yet, the tax benefit has withstood the tests of time and lawsuits. Perhaps […]

Trust and Your Adult Children

The most challenging question in estate planning is, “Whom do you trust?” The estate planning process includes the execution of several documents, wills, powers of attorney, and sometimes trusts.  Each requires naming a “fiduciary.” A fiduciary is someone you trust to handle your affairs when you are ill or after death. Who you choose to […]

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