Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Is It Affordable To Get Help From A Financial Advisor?

Grading advisorThere are many people who neglect to get the assistance of an experienced financial advisor because they think that it might not be affordable. This article explains why getting the professional assistance of an experienced financial advisor is a valuable investment to make. “There are essentially three types of financial advisors: fee-only planners, fee-based planners, and commission-based planners.” It is important for people to research the kinds of services that these different types of advisors can offer. There are plenty of available resources that will give people the information they need to weigh the benefits of an advisor. The valuable services that financial advisors can provide are not just a luxury for the rich, and it is important for people to not completely write-off the services these advisors can provide.

See Ashley Eneriz, Can You Afford a Financial Advisor?, Investopedia, February 12, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 13, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Basis Reporting Deadline Delayed By IRS

IRSThe deadline for reporting the basis of property distributed from a decedent’s estate has once again been delayed by the IRS. “Notice 2016-19 provides that statements required under section 6035 of the tax code, regarding the basis of property distributed from the estate of a decedent, need not be filed or furnished until March 31, 2016, rather than the current deadline of February 29.” There are also recommendations that the executor of an estate or any other person required to file an estate tax return wait until further guidance is issued before preparing the statements. the IRS currently has plans to release proposed Form 8971 regulations, “Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent,” as well as Schedule A. They want to give executors and any other person involved a chance to review the information.

See Michael Cohn, IRS Delays Basis Reporting Deadline, Accounting Today, February 12, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

February 13, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Love And Hate Off The 18th Green

Weding RingsA battle between spouses is playing out along the manicured fairways and greens of the St. Louis Country Club as a wealthy family fights among themselves over a sizable inheritance. The trouble stems from a dispute over the use of separate funds brought into the marriage, along with children from previous marriages, with both families disputing how to allocate years of growth to each spouse. In addition, the step-siblings have fought among themselves as some worry that shares will be diluted by improperly assigning marital assets to each spouse. Furthermore, the grandchildren of one of the spouses has become an issue as the children of the wife worry that she will leave her estate to grandchildren instead.While reports state that the couple remain in love, the wife has threatened to file a divorce suit in order to get an estate accounting. No word on when a trial date will be set.

See Sarah Fenske, In Probate Court, a Wealthy St. Louis Family Becomes Bitterly Divided, River Front Times, February 8, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett for bringing this article to my attention.

February 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Advanced Estate Planning Strategies

CLEThe State Bar of Texas is presenting a CLE entitled, Advanced Estate Planning Strategies 2016, which will take place on April 28-29, 2016 at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Provided below are some details of the event:

The discussions will be highly interactive between the audience and the panelists. Speakers will address estate planning situations and will answer the questions that have been perplexing you the most. This is a rare opportunity for you to consult with the experts and your peers. The course will not be recorded for future video replay, so you must attend to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to hear some of the state's and the nation's leading estate planning and probate lawyers discuss their practices, what they do and don't do, the opportunities and issues they deal with, and the most up-to-date strategies!

February 13, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2016

When The Experts Cannot Be Trusted

ExpertsThere have been a number of cases recently where financial advisers and sellers who had “blue-chip reputations have been accused of either staggering incompetence or outright fraud that led to multimillion-dollar losses.” People need to be careful when they are seeking out the advice of a professional because there can be times when the advice might not be good. This article discusses some of the high profile cases involving disputes with financial advisors. One of the cases that this article mentions involves the family of William Davidson, the former owner of the Detroit Pistons. This article also addresses some of the problems that can take place in the art collection world with trusted collectors and buyers. It is always important for investors to be prudent and to not always blindly trust people claiming to be experts.

See Patricia Cohen, When the Supposed Experts Lead Buyers Astray, The New York Times, February 12, 2016.

February 12, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

When There Is A Dispute Over A Joint Operating Agreement

Oil drillingJoint Operating Agreements (JOAs) are often used by operators in the oil and gas industry to share some of the risks and expenses of oil and gas exploration. Whenever there is a disagreement between the operators the JOA dispute could potentially end up in court or arbitration. The current decline in oil prices is having a major impact on Texas operators who are involved in JOAs. The forum where these disputes are adjudicated will often depend either on the location of the operations or the terms of the JOA. There are also some disputes that can be resolved through international arbitration. Many of the operations in Texas use the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) JOA forms. Disputes are going to continue to be on the rise in the indefinite future as the oil market remains volatile.

See Angela Neville, Dealing With Disputes Over Joint Operating Agreements, Texas Lawyer, February 12, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 12, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

2016 Tax Deductible Limits Increased For Long-Term-Care Insurance

IRSThe amount of money that tax-payers may deduct from their tax returns this year when purchasing long-term-care insurance or paying monthly policy premiums has been increased by the IRS. “Monthly premiums for long-term-care insurance policies for those 65 years old or younger may be deducted to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses, exceed 10% of the insured person’s adjusted gross income.” The age of the taxpayer at the end of 2016 is a factor in determining the higher deductible limits. “For eligible long-term-care premiums that may be included under medical care expenses—according to Section 213(d)(10) of the Internal Revenue Code—the 2016 deductible limit is $1,460 for people who are at least 50 years old but not more than 60, and $3,900 for those older than 60 but not over 70.”

See Juliette Fairley, Long-Term-Care Insurance Gets An Increase In 2016 Tax Deductible Limits, Financial Advisor, February 12, 2016.

February 12, 2016 in Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deciding Between A Traditional And Roth IRA

RothThis article discusses some of the situations where a person might want to consider converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. It is important to carefully plan ahead when thinking of doing a conversion to gain the tax benefits. There are two scenarios when a person might want to convert a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Sometimes a person’s modified gross income might be too high to contribute directly to a Roth so they might put the funds into a traditional IRA and do a “back-door” conversion to a Roth IRA. The other scenario is when a person already has a traditional IRA and is thinking of converting it into a Roth. This article provides a list of conditions when converting makes sense. Making this decision should not be a do-it-yourself call and it is important to have assistance from a competent estate planner.

See Mark Eghrari, Should You Contribute to A Traditional Or A Roth IRA? (Or Should You Convert?), Forbes, February 12, 2016.

February 12, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Probate Bonds And What You Need To Know

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Probate Bonds: What You Need to Know, which will take place on March, 16, 2016, from 1:00-2:30PM Eastern, Online. Provided below are some details about the event:

Probate bond claims range from assets missing from an estate to beneficiaries and creditors who are upset to fiduciaries who simply have not accounted for estate assets. Of course, it is up to the surety to save the day. Based on the second edition of The Law of Probate Bonds, this webinar is an essential program for both entry-level and experienced attorneys and claim professionals, as well as for general practitioners who want to understand this complex area of law.

February 12, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Utah Debates Guardianship Change To Remove Legal Representation Requirement

OversightThe Utah House Judiciary Committee has approved a measure that would alter the current laws concerning legal representation in guardianship proceedings. The proposed change would allow the parents of a disabled adult to seek guardianship rights for their child without needing legal representation for the proposed ward. The sponsor of the legislation stated that it presumes a "loving relationship" between family parent and child which the reviewing court can take into account when ruling. However, critics of the change argue that the constitutional rights of a person fully vest at age 18 and to deprive them of representation could infringe on those rights. In addition, the opposition states that there are a number of low cost or free legal aid societies that can assist in guardianship cases. The change will now be debated by the entire chamber before moving to the Senate if it passes.

See Marjorie Cortez, Bill to alter state's guardianship laws moves to House on 6-5 vote, Deseret News, February 11, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 12, 2016 in Guardianship, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)