• R. Bryan Nace will be a presenter at NBI’s Resolving Estate, Will and Trust Contests seminar on September 24, 2015 in Akron, OH

    R. Bryan Nace will be speaking on will contests and trust litigation as well as pursuing and defending claims against fiduciaries at the National Business Institute’s Resolving Estate, Will and Trust Contests seminar on September 24, 2015, in Akron, Ohio.  Follow the link below for more information:

    www.nbi-sems.com Resolving Estate, Will and Trust Contests

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  • R. Bryan Nace will be speaking at the Top Estate Planning Techniques Seminar

    Attorney R. Bryan Nace will be speaking on wills and grantor trusts at the Top Estate Planning Techniques seminar sponsored by the National Business Institute on June 23, 2015 at the Doubletree Hotel Akron/Fairlawn.  This live seminar is designed for attorneys, paralegals, accountants, and financial planners.

    The seminar will cover the basics of estate planning and beyond with old and new techniques that have been found to be the most effective.  This seminar offers an overview of the best practices in estate planning including regarding wills, annual exclusion gifting, grantor trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, special needs trusts, and top post-mortem estate planning techniques, among other things.

    For more information see the link below:

    68618ER | Live Seminar | Top Estate Planning Techniques

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  • “While singing in the rain may result in a glorious feeling, singing in the post office is not a constitutional right.”

    It may be a free country but that does not give you the right to sing in the post office.  A federal appeals court ruled against a First Amendment suit by a postal customer who says he was refused service because he was singing an anti-gay reggae song.  Eric Watkins claimed the postal employee retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights when she refused to allow him to buy a mailbox.  The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the post office was a nonpublic forum, the restriction on disruptive singing was reasonable, and the postal employee was entitled to qualified immunity against the suit.  The court stated that: “In sum, while singing in the rain may result in a glorious feeling, singing in the post office is not a constitutional right.”

    Source: Singing in the post office isn’t a constitutional right, 11th Circuit rules in pro se appeal

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  • Top 8 reasons for cutting a child out of your will

    Clients are often reluctant to talk about cutting a child out of their will.  But there can be some good, legitimate reasons for disinheriting a child.    And under Ohio law you can do it if you go about it properly.  But just failing to mention a child in a will is not sufficient.  You must be specific about your intent.  And you may want to avoid cutting them out completely and instead leave them some inheritance, even if it is a small one.

    Keep in mind that a will alone may not be sufficient to accomplish your goals.  There may be other planning options that better accomplish your goals under the existing circumstances.  Trusts are often used in these situations for example.

    The top reasons why someone would consider cutting a child out of their will may include the following:

    1. The child has a severe physical or mental disability such that they cannot care for themselves, and a governmental benefits program is necessary for their continued care.  Leaving money to them directly is not a good option, so disinheriting them in the will may be best.  But there may be ways to help the child using a special needs trust designed for that purpose.
    2. The child has an addiction or substance abuse problem. If the child was to receive a sizable inheritance directly this may simply cause more problems.   However, if you don’t want to cut them out completely there may be ways to provide for the child with some careful planning.
    3. The child is a compulsive gambler or has extreme debt.  Receiving a sizable inheritance at one time may end badly and is not likely to go as you intend.  Here again there may be ways to provide for the child with some careful planning.
    4. The child is in a bad marriage which is likely to end in divorce.  If an inheritance is received directly it may complicate matters and the money may wind up benefitting their spouse more than your child.
    5. There is a child with which you have never had any relationship.  Despite the lack of relationship this child has all of the same rights as your acknowledged children.  If you don’t specifically disinherit them they may be able to claim part of your estate.
    6. You and the child are estranged and/or you have not seen or heard from your child in many years.  It is unfortunate but it happens frequently for a variety of reasons.  In these situations, particularly if there are others who have cared for you, it is important to make sure your will or other planning documents reflect your wishes.
    7. One child is independently secure and would prefer to see his or her siblings get their share because they need it more.  There is no law that requires you to split your estate equally among your children.  It is more important to do it equitably.
    8. One child has received much financial help during their lifetime, while the other children have not.  In this case it may best to specifically state in the will that the one child has already received their inheritance and give the bulk of the estate to the other children.

    If you have any of these situations you need to do some estate planning and make sure your wishes and intentions are followed.  Otherwise under the law your estate may pass in a way that you never intended.


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  • Top 10 Wackiest Wills in the United Kingdom

    A London-based team of genealogy researchers have reviewed around 200,000 wills in the United Kingdom and have made a list of the wackiest.  Normally a last will and testament is not the place you would look for humor, but these researchers have discovered some funny stuff.

    Of particular note is the will of Albert Orton who cut his wife out of his will because she apparently called him “a rotten old pig” as the result of his flatulence.  The insult cost the widow a small fortune as she was left with just one farthing (a farthing is a former coin of the U.K. that was worth a quarter of an old penny).

    Then there was Kenneth Gibson’s will in which he left his stepdaughter “the price of half a pound of sausages,”  apparently because she claimed that her late mother had not paid her for the sausages.  She must have complained long and hard about not being paid for that meat, but she got the money in the end and may have lost a lot more.

    Frank Smith apparently did not like his son-in-law much, as he pledged all his possessions to his daughter – as long as she left her “immoral husband.”

    Another man left £26,000 to Jesus Christ, but only provided that his identity could be established.  I am not sure how you could prove that in court, or why Jesus Christ would need the cash.

    For more information, see the story in the Birmingham Mail:

    Widow loses inheritence for criticising husband’s FLATULENCE – and other wacky wills – Birmingham Mail.

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  • Can asbestos cause Hodgkin’s lymphoma? Ohio court finds that it does.

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  • Driver who kicked out drunken friend is liable for 3rd-party hit-and-run death

    What duty do you have to a drunk and belligerent passenger in your car?  Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal has recently held that a driver has a duty of care to all passengers in their car.

    The facts were that John Cefalu traveled to New Orleans with four friends to celebrate his birthday.  It probably goes without saying, but there was alcohol involved in the celebration in New Orleans.  One of his friends, Piero Larrea, apparently got quite drunk and had to pulled away from a fight that was brewing in the club where they were partying.  When they piled into the car for the drive home, Larrea complained that his friends didn’t “have his back” at the club.  Larrea continued “acting up” during the drive, at one point asking to be let out of the car with one of the others so they could fight.  Larrea even grabbed the arm of Cefalu while he was driving.  So Cefalu kicked him out of the car and left him by the side of the road.  Larrea died in a hit-and-run accident shortly after Cefalu pulled away.  The driver who hit him was never found.

    Sued by Larrea’s father, Cefalu was found liable for 28 percent of a $317,000 wrongful death award.  The appeals court affirmed the jury verdict, reports Courthouse News.

    Although Cefalu argued that he had no special duty to get his friend home safely because Larrea interfered with his driving by grabbing his arm, the Court of Appeals said Cefalu owed a duty of care to both Larrea and the other passengers in the car. The court also rejected an argument by Larrea’s father that the jury erred by holding the hit-and-run driver 18 percent responsible. Larrea himself was accountable for the other 54 percent.

    Appeals court: Driver who kicked drunken friend out of his car is liable for 3rd-party hit-and-run.

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  • Who owns Lee Harvey Oswald’s casket?

    CasketWho owns a casket after it has been buried in the ground? That question formed the basis of a legal battle over ownership of Lee Harvey Oswald’s casket. Oswald was buried in 1963 in a casket bought by his brother Robert Oswald.  In 1981 Oswald’s body was exhumed to confirm the identity of his remains (due to all the conspiracy theories, some suggesting that the coffin held the body of a Soviet spy).  After dental records proved the remains belonged to Oswald, the body was reburied in a different casket, because the original casket was found to be unfit to be used in the reburial.  The original casket sat in storage at a funeral home until the funeral home attempted to sell it in 2010.

    Robert Oswald brought suit claiming he is the owner of the casket because he purchased it. The Funeral home argued that the casket was a gift to the deceased and that only his estate has a claim to it, which is not a party in the case.

    But Judge Donald J. Cosby of the District Court in Fort Worth recently ruled that by concealing the coffin’s existence from Oswald’s family members and later offering it for sale, the Baumgardner Funeral Home engaged in “wrongful and wanton and malicious conduct”, according to a story by the New York Times.  The judge ruled that the coffin must be returned to Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother.

    For more information see:

    Jason Whitley, Judge to Decide Fate of Oswald’s Original Casket, USA Today, Dec. 9, 2014.



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