What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?


Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Until death . . . and then some

All eyes on the New Jersey Supreme Court as they weigh in on the meaning of that oh-so-controversial word: "spouse."

Here's the question: is a widower still a "spouse?"

The New York Post reports on the long-running battle over the estate of Johnson & Johnson heir John Seward Johnson, Jr., who established a trust in 1961 for the benefit of his children and grandchildren and their "spouses." Broadway producer Marty Richards was married to one of those children -- Mary Lee Johnson -- until Mary Lee's death in 199o. Despite Mary's death, Richards claims that he is still a "spouse" within the meaning of the trust.

In 1996, a Superior Court judge ruled against Richards, holding that widowers don't count as "spouses." But then an appellate court reversed, ruling that widows remain spouses, although divorcees do not. As they say on Broadway: on with the show!