Monthly Archives: June 2015

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Ruling Regarding Missing Wills

The Virginia Supreme Court recently issued a ruling relating to missing wills and the legal standard courts must apply when an original will cannot be found and therefore an executor seeks to probate a copy of the will. While the case does not necessarily make new law, it does clarify that the proponent of the non-original will is not required to prove why the original will was lost. First, some background: under Virginia law, a party seeking to probate a will must probate the original will, and not a photocopy. In the vast majority of instances, this does not pose …


Till Death Do Us Part. . . or at Least Until the Divorce Becomes Final

When important changes occur in life, it is advisable to reevaluate your estate planning to ensure it continues to meet the goals and objectives you have for your estate and your beneficiaries – and going through a divorce is no exception. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the final decree of divorce automatically impacts certain limited aspects of estate planning but not all – and a separation – even a lengthy separation for many years – does not. Therefore it is important to note what relief is provided automatically by statute and when you must act to change your estate documents …


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Tips For Successful Succession Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  ― Abraham Lincoln Your company is built to last. But when you are ready to step back and let go of the reins, will the next generation preserve your legacy? Many times my clients owning a closely-held company or family-owned business have shared with me their hope to ensure a successful transition at their company to future leaders. And as a litigator, too often I’ve seen shaky succession plans fall apart, forcing my clients to dismiss potential future leaders and reinsert …


Posted in Fiduciary Duties, General, Preventing Disputes \ Comments Off on Tips For Successful Succession Planning

B.B. King’s Estate: Murder Allegations and the Slayer Rule

Two of B.B. King’s children have recently alleged that King’s business manager and personal assistant poisoned him prior to his death on May 14, 2015. The allegations surrounding the blues legend’s death implicate the slayer rule: a rule in the vast majority of states that provides that if a person is convicted of murdering a testator (the person who executed a will), the murderer cannot inherit any portion of the testator’s estate, but rather is deemed to have predeceased the testator for purposes of the distribution of the testator’s estate.

Posted in Celebrity Estate Disputes, Disinheriting Family Members, Slayer Rule \ Comments Off on B.B. King’s Estate: Murder Allegations and the Slayer Rule