Wills and Estates, Professor Chang, Fall 2016
Living and the Dead
Estate of Feinberg
Max left his estate to two trusts, wife Erla during her lifetime and at her death 50% of the trust assets were to be go to their children of their kids Michael and Lelia, so long as the grandchildren didn’t marry outside the Jewish faith or their spouses converted to Judaism within a year of marriage. If not they were to be deemed dead and revert back to their parents either Michael or Leila. Erla was given limited power to change the terms of trust so long as it didn’t conflict with Max’s terms. She left each of her 5 grandchildren $250,000. Only one satisfied the restrictions so Michaels daughter Michelle challenged the estate.
Probate Act places two limits on the ability of a testator to choose the objects of his bounty.
Permits a spouse to renounce a testators will ”whether or not the will contains any provision for the benefit of the surviving spouse. Absent a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement the wishes of a surviving spouse can trump a testators intentions.
A child born to a testaro after the making of a will is entitled to receive the portion of the estate to which he would be entitled if the testator died intestate, unless provision is made in the will for the child or testator intent to disinherit child.
The Supreme Court of Illinois found that the beneficiary restriction clause did not violate public policy. It did not encourage the grandchildren to make choices on who they can and shouldn’t marry. It simply determined if they met or didn’t the condition to qualify for distribution at Erla’s death.
Can’t force or incentivizing divorce through a will by creating a provision in order to get the money.
Court probably wouldn’t enforce promise of a living person under wills law who promised if a kid divorced his spouse they would give them a some of money.
Conditional beneficiary- beneficiaries who only inherit when certain conditions are met.
Ford v. Ford
Pearl Ford, murder her mother by stabbing her 40 times. She buried her in the backyard. Pearl was deemed insane by the courts and put into a Mental hospital. Pearl attempted to receive the inheritance that her mother left her and her brother George Ford believes he is entitled to it because Pearl killed her mother and violated the slayer rule.
Slayer Rule- Any person that has committed a murder that is felonious and intentional can’t inherit property or wealthy that belonged to the victim. Can’t benefit from ones own wrong doing.
Even if deemed innocent of the crime in criminal court if found guilty in civil court the slayer rule applies.
Civil Court- 1st and 2nd degree murder are felonious and intentional. Manslaughter both voluntary and involuntary are considered felonies.
Voluntary is intentional and involuntary is unintentional
Insanity- if at time of killing killer would not be criminally responsible so slayers rule is not applicable.
Court ruled that since Pearl was deemed insane at the time of the murder the slayers rule does not apply, Pearl is not precluded from the inheritance.
Slayers rule two parts intent, deterrence.
You can’t deterred someone from killing someone if they are insane because you can’t deter someone from getting a mental disease or problem.
Catch all to slayer statue- That a killer cannot benefit at all from killing. Ray could not get Melba’s estate because he killed two people in the estate.
Disclaimer- if one person dies who was intended to receive the estate goes to the following heir. (Decendent- Son-Grandchildren)
Pg 23 problem 7
Suppose testator had a moment of lucidity before death in each of the following cases. Suppose in that moment, testator were asked whether she would want her killer- a 30- year old son- to inherit. What response would you expect
Testator’s son poisons her to assume an inheritance. No because he is doing it for the sole purpose of inheritance. , 2.
Testator’s son shoots her when she threatens to sabotage the sons marriage. Maybe not done to inherit the money but it would seem like a purpose murder. , 3. Testators son shoots her while carelessly cleaning his gun. Yes because not a premeditated murder and not done to inherit the money
4. Testator’s son kills her while driving too fast on a slick road Yes because not a premeditated murder and not done to inherit the money
pg24. Problem 8.
Mary writes a will with the following provision: I know my husband, John, gets violent sometimes. If when he is in one of his violent moods, he happens to kill me, I forgive him, and I still want him to inherit my entire estate.
John, on a tear, Kills Mary. Should he inherit Mary’s estate. No because a killer should profit from the death of another.
UPC 2-803– Slayer Rule pg. 25
Forfeiture of an intestate share as well as any benefits under a will when an heir feloniously and intentionally kills the decedent. Killer is then treated as if he disclaimed his interest in the estate.
2-803(g) provides that a judgment of conviction establishing “criminal accountability for the felonious and intentional killing of the decedent’s killer while in the absence of a conviction, the probate court must determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the heir would be found criminally accountable for a felonious and intentional killing.
Melba died intestate of natural causes in 1994. Six years earlier however Melba’s nephew Ray killed two of Melba’s siblings- Ray’s father and one of Ray’s childless aunts. Ray was subsequently convicted of 1st Degree manslaughter for these killings. At Melba’s death, Ray asserts a claim as one of Melba’s heirs. Ray would not have been entitled to share in Melba’s estate if Ray’s father had been alive.
1 Ray would argue that he didn’t kill Melba and is simply inheriting from his father. Not directly inheriting from the murder.
2. no because based on policy you still shouldn’t be able to profit from a wrong doing.
Hotz v. Minyard
Tommy Minyard and Judy Minyard are brother and sister. Father Minyard owns two dealership Greenville and Anderson in which Tommy worked at Greenville and Judy at Anderson. Dobson who is the attorney for the father but also has been doing Judy taxes. Minyard went to Dobson to draft a will with his wife, and Tommy, in which he gave Tommy the Greenville Dealership and divided the remainder of his estate equally between Tommy and Judy at his wives death. He later that day went back to Dobson’s office and signed a second will but gave the real estate to the Greenville dealership to Tommy outright, told Dobson not to disclose it. Judy wanted a copy of will from Dobson and following Mr. Minyard wishes gave J
he estate shall descend to the surviving husband or wife, and the residue thereof to the surviving children and descendents of children
If the intestate leaves husband or wife and no child nor descendents of any child, then the real and personal estate of the intestate shall descend and vest in the surviving husband or wife.
UPC 2-102 Share of Spouse pg. 63
The intestate share of decedents surviving spouse is
the entire intestate estate if
no descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent or
all of decedents surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the descendent.
the first (300,000) plus ¾ of any balance of the intestate estate, if no descendant of the decent survives the decedent but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent
the first (225,000) plus 1/3 of any balance of the intestate estate if all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has no more surviving descendants who are not descendants of the decedent.
The first (150,000), plus one half of any balance of the intestate estate if one or more of the decedent’s surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse.
UPC 2-103 Share of Heirs other than Surviving Spouse pg. 63-64
Provides that when a descendant is survived by parents but no spouse or issue, descendent I’s estate should be distributed to decedent’s parents equally, if both survive, and to the surviving parent if only one survives.
Even if survived by a spouse but no issue; parents will share in a large intestate estate UPC 2-102(2) combines with UPC 2-103(a)(2) to give the parents one-quarter of the amount by which the estate exceeds $300,000
When descendant is not survived by parents UPC 2-103(a)(3) provides for distribution to descendants of parents- brothers sisters and their issue. Provides that should be by representation- per capita at each generation
When decedent is not survived by descendants of parents 2-103(a) (4) provides for distribution to descendants of grandparents. If both descendants of grandparents are alive divide in half and split per capita.
Laughing heirs- preclude inheritance by relatives too remote from decedent. generally ends at 5th down.
Exclude relatives by marriage, other decedents own spouse,
Step children are not included in definition of descendants or issue. ( UPC in very limited cases allow)
Share of Surviving Spouse
If it just say descendant you go to lineal descents then parents then collateral descendants. Descendant’s of decedent’s parents (brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews.)