Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Little Tax Plan Promises Big Benefits For Wealthy Clients

LafferOn April 26, the Trump Administration laid out a terse proposal for sweeping tax law changes. The current plan bears little resemblance to the ideals Trump espoused on the campaign trail, but it still offers many benefits for affluent taxpayers. The proposed tax cuts would eliminate the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, and the 3.8% net investment income tax. The cuts would also reduce the highest marginal income tax rates for businesses and individuals. While these tax reductions would benefit many Americans, there is some concern among planners and advisors that there are additional implications that may negatively impact some clients.

See Eric L. Reiner, Little Tax Plan Promises Big Benefits For Wealthy Clients, Financial Advisor, May 22, 2017.

July 25, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Identifying Connections between Elder Law and Gerontology: Implications for Teaching, Research, and Practice

BridgeNina A. Kohn,Maria Teresa Brown, & Israel Issi Doron recently published an Article entitled, Identifying Connections between Elder Law and Gerontology: Implications for Teaching, Research, and Practice, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Scholars have long called for elder law to become part of the larger study of gerontology. The authors conducted a qualitative, empirical study to determine the extent of connections between the fields of gerontology and elder law and to identify strategies for bridging gaps between the fields. As reported in this Article, we found that although both elder law academics and gerontologists indicate that both fields would benefit from research collaboration and cross-disciplinary teaching, the fields remain distinct with limited interaction. Based on these findings, we identify five key strategies for fostering meaningful connections between the fields. Finally, drawing on the expertise of the elder law academics and leading gerontologists interviewed as part of this study, we discuss how fostering such connections could work to the mutual benefit of the two fields and, potentially, improved policy-making in the area of aging.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 25, 2017 in Articles, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

DNA Samples Taken from Salvador Dali's Remains to Settle Paternity Suit

Salvador-daliPilar Abel, a sixty-one-year-old tarot card reader, claims her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali and that she is the product of their torrid relationship. Last month, a judge granted Abel’s request to exhume Dali’s corpse for DNA testing. Thursday, technicians moved a stone slab covering the artist’s final resting place in order to gain access to the crypt. A small committee of five oversaw the entire process, including the removal of biological samples to be used for genetic study. The samples have been sent to a forensic lab in Madrid; the analysis could take weeks. If Abel is found to be Dali’s heir, this would entitle her to a substantial portion of Dali’s estate that he originally left to the Spanish state. If Abel is not Dali’s heir, then perhaps luck just was not in the cards.

See DNA Samples Taken from Salvador Dali's Remains to Settle Paternity Suit, Fox News, July 20, 2017.

July 25, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another Death Bed Limited Partnership Formation Fails to Accomplish Its Objectives

Snoopy-irs-cartoon[1]Decedent Nancy Powell, after the Tax Court’s holding in Estate of Nancy H. Powell, now represents another taxpayer who failed to achieve estate tax savings through the creation and funding of a limited partnership. Nancy Powell’s son, Jeffrey, acting with a power of attorney, formed a limited partnership—NHP Enterprises, LP—in August of 2008. He then transferred $10 million worth of cash and securities into the limited partnership. Nancy Powell retained a 99% interest as a limited partner with Jeffrey Powell receiving the remaining 1% interest. The partnership agreement allowed Nancy Powell to determine the timing and amount of distributions. The agreement also allowed her to dissolve the partnership with the consent of her son.

After forming the limited partnership, Jeffrey Powell transferred the 99% interest held by his mother into a charitable lead annuity trust (CLAT). The court held that this gift to the CLAT amounted to the relinquishment of the decedent’s power to dissolve the partnership and control asset disposition. Because the transfer occurred within three years of Powell’s death, an application of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 2035(a) pulled the full value of the previously transferred assets back into the gross estate.

The court’s willingness to apply this section to a scenario in which a decedent only holds a partnership interest makes any retention of any held interest a precarious proposition. It is likely this case will be appealed.

See Another Death Bed Limited Partnership Formation Fails to Accomplish Its Objectives, Lexology, July 18, 2017.

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

July 25, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, New Cases, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tiger Lily Set to Inherit Millions

43ee5dfc074bb33c73a3cc1ff09ca5c7--happy-th-birthday-tiger-liliesRecent speculation indicates the daughter of Paula Yates, an English television actress, and Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, may inherent millions of dollars when she turns twenty-one next week. Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof, known as Tiger Lily, may possibly receive an inheritance through a trust fund set up by her father prior to his suicide.

Geldof’s life weaves a sorrowful tale rife with loss. Geldof’s father took his own life in a hotel in Sydney in 1997. Fewer than three years after her father’s death, Geldof’s mother died from an accidental heroin overdose. In 2014, her half-sister, Peaches, also died from overdosing on heroin.

Despite his fame, Hutchence was rumored to have died penniless. The family he left behind sued his estate, but were stunned to find the estate was worth almost nothing. The family was also flummoxed to discover that Hutchence excluded the publication rights and royalties from music and record sales. Any windfall gained by Geldof would probably stem from these excluded rights her father left behind.

See Stephanie Linning, Michael Hutchence's Daughter Tiger Lily Is Set to 'Inherit Millions' on Her 21st Birthday Next Week Through a Trust Fund Set up By Her INXS Musician Father, Daily Mail.com, July 16, 2017

See Jay Brinker, New Sensation, Jay Brinker Blog, July 20, 2017.

July 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Television, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Associate Dean to Bring Greater Awareness To Law Faculty Work

Quinnipiac_Law_TutoringJuly 1, Jeff Cooper took on his new role as the associate dean of research and faculty development at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law. He has been teaching at the law school since 2003. Cooper sees himself as an agent for the faculty and aims to “support them to make sure faculty scholarship gets all the attention it deserves.”

Current law school faculty have published a number of hard-hitting works that have found their way into prestigious law journals. Topics range from Professor John Thomas’s articles dealing with immigration law to Professor Jennifer Herbst’s research on health law and government programs. For Cooper, the ideal is for faculty to publish with an eye toward making a positive impact on judicial and academic policies.

Cooper has himself published a number of lauded works. His examinations concerning estate taxation and wealth transfer have been published in highly recognizable and noteworthy journals, and these works have been oft referenced in publications like Forbes.

See New Associate Dean to Bring Greater Awareness To Law Faculty Work, Quinnipiac, July 18, 2017.

July 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on 2016 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law

5c93fe16bb57e784835b7aa857de8020Jeffrey A. Cooper, John R. Ivimey, & Katherine E. Coleman recently published an Article entitled, 2016 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This Article provides a summary of recent developments affecting Connecticut estate planning and probate practice. Part I discusses 2016 legislative developments. Part II surveys selected 2016 case law relevant to the field.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 24, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

How the Medicaid Debate Affects Long-Term Care Insurance Decisions

Fa08537fdd7342ec6f6600179865d9abThe Senate just released the newest version of its health insurance bill last Thursday. The most current form of the bill has not done much to mitigate the drastic reductions in Medicaid spending seen in the original bill. Regardless of possible cuts, it is clear that the federal and state governments are not going to be able to maintain current spending levels for aging baby-boomers as they consume more health-related services. A common question for those concerned with coverage is: "How seriously should I consider getting some kind of insurance to cover my care in case big Medicaid cuts are on the horizon?" The insurance market for long-term coverage can be extremely expensive, if you can even qualify for coverage. There is a balancing act required that must consider high premiums and not using the insurance on one side, and not paying for insurance and needing it on the other.

Though the current, heavily regulated and subsidized healthcare market is costly and inefficient, some are hoping that Big Brother will deign to meddle in the long-term care sector as well. While the federal and state governments may be able to kick the can down the road for a bit longer, a call for additional subsidies in the face of desperately needed cuts seems like trying to remove the mote from your brother's eye whilst ignoring the plank in thine own.

See Erik Jacobs, How the Medicaid Debate Affects Long-Term Care Insurance Decisions, The New York Times, July 14, 2017.

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

July 24, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Quincy Jones Says He's Victim of Financial Elder Abuse, Judge Rejects Claim

0719-quincy-jones-mjj-sony-tmz-3In an ongoing war for Michael Jackson royalties, Quincy Jones is now alleging that he has been the victim of elder abuse. The eighty-four-year-old former producer is responsible for some of Michael Jackson's most notable albums, such as: "Off the Wall," "Thriller," and "Bad." Jones is claiming executives from Sony Music and MJJ Productions pulled an accounting trick on him by labeling certain revenues as profits instead of royalties. If the revenues has been properly classified as royalties, Jones would have been entitled to a significant share of the earnings. Because he was over the age of sixty-five at the time, Jones is arguing that the executives took advantage of his advanced age in order to take a larger share of the profits. Jones is suing for at least $10 million and is expected to testify in court this week.

See Quincy Jones Says He's Victim of Financial Elder Abuse, Judge Rejects Claim, TMZ, July 19, 2017.

Special thanks to Molly Neace (J.D.) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 23, 2017 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Billionaires Get Social Security?

Maxresdefault (1)Billionaires earning their income from work pay a percentage of that income to social security taxes, just like anyone else. So, although they may not need the extra benefits in retirement, the ultra-affluent are entitled to collect a monthly Social Security check. A caveat to this, Social Security benefits are based off earned income only; many billionaires earn income solely through passive business activities. These passive earnings are not counted for the purpose of determining benefit levels. The general qualifications are the same though: even billionaires must have earned income for the ten-year minimum or they will not receive the maximum benefit.

See Matthew Frankel, Do Billionaires Get Social Security?, The Motley Fool, July 17, 2017.

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

 

July 23, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)