Redirecting Life Insurance – Don’t Use Your Will

August 19, 2016

The proceeds of life insurance can be made payable to a specific payee or to the insured’s estate. If the proceeds are payable to a specific person, then they usually are not affected by any instructions in the will. A recent case from Washington, Estate of Collister, No. 47278-3-II (Wash. App., Aug. 9, 2016), <>, clarifies what happens if there is a conflict between the policy beneficiary designation and a specific bequest of the proceeds in the will. Does the policy or the will direct who gets the proceeds? Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Trusts in Oregon and Washington

August 12, 2016

Some of you have probably read a recent story in the Oregonian about a man who left a trust for his ten cats, whose condition deteriorated to the point that five died and the trustees are seeking a caregiver to adopt the survivors. <>. Most of you probably remember the more notorious trust in favor of Leona Helmsley’s pets. Oregon was a pioneer in the legalization of pet trusts, and if you want your pet taken care of after your passing, it may be a good way to resolve difficulties if you can’t find anyone to take them in. For example, in the Oregon cat trust case, the grantor had no relatives available to take them in after he died. Read the rest of this entry »

Panhandling at the Exit

July 29, 2016

I recently wrote about speech law as the Oregon courts apply it. <>. Unlike in Oregon, Washington courts interpret the speech clause in the state constitution identically to the First Amendment. A recent case, City of Lakewood v. Willis, No. 91827-9 (Was., July 21, 2016), <>, confirms that under the federal standards as applied in Washington, people retain the right to panhandle at freeway exits and similar locations. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bank Can’t Just Walk in and Take Possession if You Miss Your Mortgage Payments

July 22, 2016

It occasionally happens that a homeowner who cannot afford their mortgage will simply abandon the property. Lenders often have a backlog of cases to address, so they do not always discover and foreclose on these loans. As a result, in states where it is allowed, they often include provisions in the mortgage allowing them to enter the property on default or in case of abandonment. A recent case from Washington, Jordan v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, No. 92081-8 (Wash., July 7, 2016), <>, has, however, limited the ability of lenders to intervene without a court order. Read the rest of this entry »

The Right to Troll the Net

July 15, 2016

Internet trolling, or posting with an intent to annoy readers, is almost as old as the Internet itself. Although some trolling may be distasteful, a recent case from Oregon, State v. Hirschman, 279 Or App 328 (2016), <>, confirms that even when such fundamental functions as elections are the target of a troll, it is likely to be deemed free speech. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Up a Small Corporation: Valuation Disputes

July 8, 2016

Minority shareholders of a closely held business may find it difficult to sell their shares or otherwise get out if they disagree with the majority. As a result, most states have a procedure to force a purchase by the majority at a fair value set by the court. A recent case from Idaho, Wagner v. Wagner, No, 42707, (Idaho, Apr. 27, 2016), <>, helps show how these proceedings work. Read the rest of this entry »

You Can Pursue Child Custody or Support Out of State Without the Court Hearing Other Issues

July 1, 2016

Generally speaking, filing a suit in a state where someone does not live is considered a consent to be sued on related matters in that state. There is a common limitation on this rule. Child custody and child support proceedings filed in a state where the petitioner does not live are not enough to bring the force of the law to bear on other aspects of the relationship. A recent case from Idaho, Wilson v. King, No. 43086 (Idaho, June 1, 2016), <>, illustrates this principle. Read the rest of this entry »


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