Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Possible Agreement Reached Between Shari Redstone and Her Niece

Shari redstoneThe white flag has been waved in the family feud between Shari Redstone and her niece Keryn Redstone. The issue between the two family members resulted from changes made to Sumner Redstone’s trust. Keryn, a beneficiary of the trust, claimed that her aunt was making the changes to the trust not Sumner. However, a tentative settlement was reached on Friday, which could put this family feud to rest. In that hearing, Sumner’s lawyer agreed to give Keryn the assurance that she was being treated equally amongst the grandchildren under the trust document.

See Joe Flint, Possible Accord Reached in Family Battle Over Sumner Redstone Trust, Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 27, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on the New Divorce Phenomenon

Elder divorceArlene G. Dubin & Rebecca A. Provder (Moses and Single LLP) recently published an Article entitled, The Gray Divorce Phenomenon, (2016). Provided below is a summary of the Article:

An 82 year old client wanted a divorce from her husband of 57 years. When asked why, she responded, “I want to live a little before I die.”

A study conducted in 2014 reveals that the divorce rate for individuals 50 and older has doubled in the last 20 years. Two decades ago, individuals 50 and older accounted for about 10% of divorces. Recently, the divorce rate for this age group spiked to approximately 25%. What’s more, approximately half of those divorces occurred in first marriages.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 27, 2016 in Articles, Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Nancy Reagan's Treasures Go Up for Sale

Nancy reaganOn September 21 and 22, 700 of Nancy Reagan’s treasures will be up for auction at Christie’s New York, estimating sales in excess of $2 million. Additionally, on August 18, all of her jewels were shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a classic car event sponsored by Christie’s, totaling $280,000. Sale proceeds will go to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute. There will be pieces ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. The Article highlights some of the greatest prizes.

See James Tarmy, Nancy Reagan’s Jewels Are Up for Auction, and They Are Quite Something, Bloomberg, August 18, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 26, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inheriting Vacation Homes

Vacation homeVacation homes are places for families to make everlasting memories, but parents are often shocked to learn that their kids are indifferent to their inheritance. With proper planning, however, a vacation home transfer can keep a family’s memories alive for generations to come. Communication amongst the family can help promote more thoughtful decisions for the future of the vacation home—either preserving the home throughout generations or selling it. Vacation homes can involve unwanted maintenance, so families need to discuss any potential concerns.

There are several ways to transfer a vacation home property, including being jointly owned by the children or transferring to a limited liability company or trust. Parents who plan to hold on to the property until they die find it best to place the transfer in trust. Parents can even set aside funds to care for the maintenance on the property, making it more enjoyable for their children.

See Liz Skinner, Surprising Trials of Passing Down Vacation Homes, Investment News, August 23, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 26, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Probate Exception in Turnover of Estate Property

Estate turnoverIn Pollok v. The Vanguard Group, Inc., an executor filed a petition in California probate court seeking a Turnover of Estate Property. The executor claimed that asset payment to the estate was short $900,000. The financial institute in charge of the payment removed the case to federal court. The probate exception, however, states that the probate and administration of a decedent’s estate is subject to the authority of state probate courts not federal courts. The court ultimately held that federal jurisdiction would interfere with state court proceedings.

See Brian Spiro, Probate Exception Applies to Remand of Turnover Action, Florida Probate Lawyers, August 24, 2016.

August 26, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Duke University Files Claim Seeking Promised Pledge Funds

Duke universityDuke University filed a claim on Aubrey McClendon’s estate, asserting that the oil magnate died before he could fulfill roughly $10 million of pledges. McClendon had pledged funds for athletics, scholarships, and campus improvements. Lawyers for McClendon’s estate claim that the once billionaire left behind more debt than assets. Duke University’s claim is the first that focuses on the mogul’s charitable giving. In the upcoming suit, the main question will be whether there was a legally binding contract.

See Ryan Dezember & Kevin Helliker, Duke University Makes Claim on Estate of Aubrey McClendon, Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 26, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Article on Trust Law & Nigerian Pension Law

Pension reform actNuel Chinonyelum Oji recently published an Article entitled, An Appraisal of the Concept of Trust in the Nigerian Pension Reform Act 2014, (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Prior to 2004, the administration of pension in Nigeria was largely marked by the non-contributory defined benefit scheme. With the coming into force of the Pension Reform Act 2004, the Nigerian pension system was, to say the least, overhauled. A contributory pension scheme was established for every employee under the Pension Reform Act 2004. It also brought along with it a triangular relationship of the employee, pension fund administrator and pension fund custodian. The pension fund administrator was made the exclusive manager of the fund while custody of the funds was the preserve of the pension fund custodian. Though not immediately visible, the concept of trust was central to the relationship between the pension fund administrator, the pension fund custodian and the employee. In 2014, the 2004 Act was repealed and a new Pension Reform Act enacted. However, the concept of trust remained unaffected. This work, therefore aims at examining the relationship between the law of trust and Nigerian pension law. It seeks to unveil the meaning of pension trust with a painstaking analysis of the nature, parties, advantages, breach and remedies of the pension trust created under the Pension Reform Act 2014.

August 25, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Graceland to Run Tours at Paisley Park

Paisley parkElvis Presley’s people are now running tours at Prince’s Paisley Park. Bremer Trust, the bank that manages Prince’s estate, just announced the deal that lets Graceland’s people run public tours starting in October. Some family members are disgruntled about the situation due to Graceland Holdings having previous financial problems. Graceland Holdings will receive 50% of the revenue generated from the new tours.

See Prince Tour Paisley Park Courtesy of Elvis Presley, TMZ, August 24, 2016.

August 25, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Europe's Wealthiest Bank on Years of Inheritance

VineyardMaintaining inherited wealth is more prevalent in Europe compared to the United States, evidencing the continent’s low social mobility and stagnant education, income, and social connections; 33% of Italy and 65% of Germany’s richest people inherited their fortunes compared to only 29% in the United States. America’s economy is expanding, creating a need for more professionals. In Europe, however, when the economy is stalling, wealth and inheritance must be monitored to prevent the inability to revive growth. The Article details the effects of substantial wealth inherited by prominent families in Europe.

See Alessandro Speciale & Chiara Vasarri, How to Stay Rich in Europe: Inherit Money for 700 Years, Bloomberg, August 23, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 25, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Harmless Error Rule's Clear and Convincing Evidence Standard

Harmless errorMark Glover recently published an Article entitled, In Defense of the Harmless Error Rule’s Clear and Convincing Evidence Standard: A Response to Professor Baron, 73 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 289 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

In Irresolute Testators, Clear and Convincing Wills Law, Professor Jane Baron draws attention to a conflict between the mechanics of the law of wills and the realities of testation. Baron observes that the law of wills is designed to be used as a tool by resolute and rationale testators to communicate their intent regarding the distribution of property upon death. However, the law’s archetypical testator does not represent the many real testators who are irresolute and irrational, those possessing incoherent and only partially formed thoughts regarding the disposition of their estates.

Based upon the disconnect between the law’s paradigm of resolute will-making and the irresoluteness of testation in the real world, Baron argues that reforms that have given probate courts discretion to correct mistakes in testation do not function appropriately. For instance, Baron argues that the harmless error rule, which allows courts to excuse defects in a testator’s compliance with will-execution formalities when the testator’s intent is established by clear and convincing evidence, does not meaningfully limit probate courts’ discretion to correct mistakes. Specifically, she argues that many courts are concerned with not only the technical mistakes of resolute testators but also the more troubling mistakes of irresolute testators, and consequently, these courts overreach the boundaries of the harmless error rule.

This essay acknowledges Baron’s insight regarding the tension between the law and reality but questions whether this tension renders the harmless error rule and its clear and convincing evidence standard ineffective. More particularly, this essay argues that, despite potential overreaching by some courts, the clear and convincing evidence standard likely operates in the way that reformers intended and that the harmless error rule represents an improvement upon the conventional law of will- execution.

August 25, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)