The ABA Journal reports on the final failure of the Estate of Anna Nicole Smith to recover  hundreds of millions of dollars from the estate of her late husband J. Howard Marshall. Marshall, a Texas oil billionaire died at 89, a year after his marriage to Smith who was then 26. Not only are Smith and

Your lawblogger truly believes that  Philip Seymour Hoffman was the best actor of his time. Too bad this does not extend to his ability at estate planning. As reported by the New York Post and by extra tv.com here , Hoffman did not want to make his three kids into "trust babies" so he left

Today’s Daily News reports that Menachem Stark, a Brooklyn businessman and landlord who was murdered in January died intestate. While it appears that his partners may contribute to cover his substantial debts in a bankruptcy proceeding, his failure to have a Will can only add to the financial distress of his widow and seven children.

For some time we have been following the bizarre story of Hugette Clark, the reclusive mining heiress who died in 2011 at the age of 104. She had lived for years in Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan, running up hospital bills in the millions even though there was evidently nothing remarkably amiss with her health. During this time, hospital officials ingratiated themselves with her and received gifts in excess of 40 million dollars.


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In what would seem to be a textbook case of undue influence, the children of the late Jim Carlen, former coach of the University of South Carolina football team who died at 79 have sued their father’s estate after a 2010 will left everything to his second wife Meredith. The Charlotte Observer emphasizes that "everything" meant just that. Not a nickel to the coach’s children or grandchildren. Not even a photograph or any of his sports memorabilia. They further charge that the latest will was written after their father suffered from "severe Alzheimer’s and dementia" and was contrary to a long established scheme of gifts and prior wills favoring all of his children and grandchildren. Although the estate is purportedly worth ten million dollars, his widow has tried to characterize the estate as being worth considerably less.


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Newsday reports today that Leatrice Brewer, a Westbury NY woman found not guilty by reason of insanity of drowning her three children in a bathtub is now seeking part of the $350,000 recovered from Nassau County for the children’s wrongful deaths. The fathers of the children had sued based upon their claims that the Department

Earlier, we reported that the daughter of multimillionaire Abe Hirschfeld  had accused her brother Ellie of grossly mistreating their father so that he could loot his estate. As reported in today’s Daily News, Rachel Hirschfeld has now leveled serious accusations against the New York County Public Administrator that he had ignored her brother’s allegedly

 Actor James Gandolfini has left an estate of at least seventy million dollars according to the Daily News and other news outlets.  While it is likely that Tony Soprano’s estate would have consisted of vast quantities of cash buried in various places about the state of New Jersey, his real life portrayer was a good deal more conscientious in creating what appears to be a complicated and effective estate plan.


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This morning, the U;S. Supreme Court issued a major decision in U.S. v Windsor as Executor of the Estate of Spyer  which can be read here.  In doing so, it has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) , thereby granting  same sex  marriages the same rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples under federal law.  The case was brought on by a  widow,  Edie Windsor who had been required to pay some $383,000 in estate taxes after the death of her wife Thea Spyer., The couple had been legally married in Ontario in 2007 and returned to New York which recognizes same sex marriage. Had they been a heterosexual couple, there would have been no estate tax to pay.

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