ESTATES: Reasonable Compensation of Personal Representatives

A common issue to be resolved in any administration of a decedent estate is the determination of the rightful value of the compensation due to the serving personal representation. While the will of the decedent may validly dictate the amount of compensation due to the serving personal representative (though, subject to judicial scrutiny), more commonly,…

EMPLOYMENT LAW: “Workplace drug use policies and state medical/adult use marijuana laws”

Over the last two decades, over two-thirds of the states have enacted legislation authorizing use of marijuana and marijuana products for medical purposes by persons with debilitating conditions. See, e.g., Va. Code § 18.2-251.1. At present, over one-third of the states have also decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational…

ESTATES: Inheritance Endangered Species Parts: (Is it legal to inherit objects made from endangered species parts?)

It is not uncommon for the estates individuals at death to possess one or more souvenirs, pieces of jewelry, trophies, collectibles, or artworks made from animal parts, such as carved ivory, fur rugs, tortoise-shell ornaments, crocodile skin leather, and the like. What legal issues might a beneficiary face were the owner of Endangered Species Act-listed…

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW: Love in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a fertile source of new litigation: challenges to mask mandates, challenges to vaccine mandates, construction of child custody visitation agreements in light of COVID-19, assertion of the defense of impossibility in response to attempted enforcement of a contract, etc. Recently, a federal district court in Virginia addressed whether an individual…

ESTATE PLANNING: Pet Trusts

According to a treatise on revocable trusts, “[t]he number of individuals who own animals is staggering. As many as 56.7 million households in the United States owns dogs and 45.3 million own cats.”George M. Turner, Dr. Gerry W. Beyer & James M. Kosakow, 2 Revocable Trusts 5th § 78: 1 (Westlaw current through November 2020…

BUSINESS LAW: Beneficiaries – Supreme Court Rebuffs Another Challenge to the ACA

In a closely watched case, California v. Texas, 141 S. Ct. 2104 (2021), the Supreme Court recently turned back a third challenge to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Act”), the extensive health-care reform law enacted in 2010 that includes, among other things, a requirement for all individuals (known as the…

GIFTS: Beneficiaries – Disqualification to Take – Ingratitude

It is well-settled that, in most states, completed inter vivos gifts are deemed irrevocable, even in circumstances where the donor’s relationship with the donee later deteriorates or the purpose of the gift dissipates. “Many gifts are made for reasons that sour with the passage of time. Unfortunately, gift law does not allow a donor to…

CONTRACTS AND COVID: Emergency Orders and Delayed/Excused Action

With the spread of COVID-19, most jurisdictions have declared a state of emergency and/or issued executive orders curtailing daily life.  See, e.g., Cal. Exec. Order N-33-20 (Californians must “stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors”); D.C. Mayor’s Order 2020-054 (District…

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