Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, April 27, 2015

Calls From Beyond the Grave

Cellphone1The new Hello app for Android created by Facebook provides a more detailed caller ID function, and has had an unexpected result. When a call is received or call log reviewed, the app may display the name and information of a deceased individual as the caller. This eerie result is due to the app accessing the phone numbers associated with a Facebook account, and not only the main public phone number, but private secondary numbers as well. So if a deceased individual had a family member's number entered as a secondary number, when that living family member calls the app may display the information of the deceased individual instead.

See Damon Beres, Dead Loved Ones May Accidentally Show Up In Facebook's New 'Hello' App, Huffington Post, Apr. 22, 2015.

April 27, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Symposium on End-of-Life Planning

CLENew Mexico State University is hosting a health symposium entitled, A Beautiful Death: What will you choose?. The symposium is free and open to the public, and is being held May 1, 8am-5pm at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Registration required.

April 27, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bank Personnel at the Front Line of Elder Abuse Detection

Scam1Older individuals are susceptible to financial abuse due to either declining cognitive abilities or out of heightened financial need. Some scams take advantage of the elderly that are on a limited budget and need additional income, by promising to be a money making opportunity. Others take advantage by furthering the fraudulent scheme through a form that looks like an official bill.

At the front lines of of defending against financial elder abuse are bank tellers. A warning sign can be the account being overdrawn and the bank employee can alert the individual that someone is taking advantage of the account.  Tellers can also be the first to notice declining cognitive ability and inability to understand their finances, and can then inform the person of help available to them or contact an appropriate resource for them. With proper training, bank personal can act as an important protection for the elderly against financial abuse.

See Erin Rhoda, The Frontlines of Elder Exploitation, Bangor Daily News, Apr. 2015.

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

April 27, 2015 in Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Reverse Home Mortgage

Home mortgageFor many individuals entering retirement, a Reverse Home Mortgage can provide benefits that positively affect their quality of life.  However, there are also numerous drawbacks that should be taken into consideration as well.

 Under proper circumstances, Reverse Home Mortgages can be an ideal way to increase spending power and provide for retirement; they provide for flexibility, low risk of default, flexible payment options, home ownership, among other advantages.  Contrastingly, some of the disadvantages of Reverse Home Mortgages include costly upfront fees, accumulating interest, and the very complexities surrounding these mortgages.  Homeowners should determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages before deciding if a Reverse Home Mortgage is the best investment strategy. 

See Reverse Mortgage Disadvantages and Advantages: Your Guide to Reverse Mortgage Pros and Cons, NewRetirement, April 23, 2014.  

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

April 26, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Article on Conservatorships, Capacity and Crystal Balls

Ralph_BrashierRalph C. Brashier (Cecil C. Humphreys Professor of Law, The University of Memphis) recently published an article entitled, Conservatorships, Capacity, and Crystal Balls, Temp. L. Rev. 1-46 (2014).  Provided below is the article’s abstract:

Courts have often stated that the imposition of a conservatorship over a person’s assets is not a determination that the individual lacks testamentary capacity, because the capacity required to manage one’s assets is greater than that required to devise them. Nevertheless, some statutes and judicial orders now prospectively deprive a conservatee of will-making ability, regardless of the conservatee’s actual testamentary capacity at the time of will execution. This Article demonstrates that such statutes and orders are inconsistent with modern conservatorship reforms, which seek to impose the least restrictive alternative needed to promote the conservatee’s best interest, and also with venerated wills principles, which preclude predictions about an individual’s future ability to devise. In particular, this Article demonstrates that such crystal ball pronouncements are improper not only because they single out conservatees for infantilizing treatment, but also because they ignore obvious and well-established less intrusive options that are adequate to quell concerns about wills executed by conservatees.

April 26, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ask Math Not Facts to Detect Cognitive Impairment Early

MathResearchers of dementia and cognitive impairment warn that many individuals can still recall common facts, such as the date or who the president is, in the early stages of impairment. However, losing ability to do simply math and understanding finances can come earlier in the development of diseases such as  Alzheimer's. Detecting declining ability to handle finances early can help protect older individuals from exploitation.

See Tara Siegel Bernard, As Cognition Slips, Financial Skills Are Often the First to Go, New York Times, Apr. 24, 2015.

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

April 26, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Book: Checklist for My Family

SChecklist for my Familyally Balch Hurme published her book entitled, AARP Checklist for My Family: A Guide to My History, Financial Plans, and Final Wishes. Provided below is the description of the book from the ABA store:

This handy resource will guide you through the process of gathering in one place your finances, legal documents, online accounts, wishes about medical care, and more.

April 26, 2015 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

CLE on Skills Training for Estate Planners

CLE Photo

The American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law is holding its annual CLE entitled, 2015 Skills Training for Estate Planners.  The fundamentals course takes place July 13-17th and the advanced topics course is from July 15-17th at New York Law School.  Here is why you should attend:

This institute-type program provides a comprehensive CLE experience with coordinated sessions that build upon one another. It’s held annually at New York Law School in the Tribeca neighborhood of downtown Manhattan. Some of the benefits of this unique program include:

  • An outstanding expert faculty who share their insights and strategies on the most pressing issues estate planners currently face
  • An intensive classroom environment that encourages interaction and integrates substance with practical skills instruction
  • Detailed course materials that serve as a valuable reference when you return to your office
  • The opportunity to network with faculty and other participants from across the country at two receptions, program breakfasts and lunches, as well as informally in the evenings
  • Between 24-54 hours of CLE credit (including 1 hour of ethics credit), depending on your state and the course chosen

April 25, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Dispute Over Robin Williams’ Estate Shows The Need For Better Planning Techniques

Robin_williams1-267x300As I previously discussed, the ongoing legal dispute over the estate of late actor and comedian Robin Williams demonstrates that conflicts can emerge out of an “uncommonly sophisticated, tax-efficient estate plan.”  Darren Wallace, an attorney at Day Pitney’s Stamford office, often recommends creating a Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust (QTIP) as a way for blended families to avoid many of the types of problems that Robin Williams' estate experienced.    

See Kevin Hunt, Robin Williams’ Foolproof Estate Plan? How To Avoid Family Fallout, Hartford Courant, April 22, 2015.  

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

April 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Artist's Legacy Revived 50 Years After Death

ThreeMenWalkingIIThe Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti is working on expanding public knowledge of the works of Alberto Giacometti, a Swiss sculptor who died in 1966. The foundation is recreating his Paris studio and opening a public exhibition of his achievements next year. The lag time between his death and this public project is the result of the artist dying intestate and decades of feuding and legal battles between an association and foundation both created to honor Giacometti. With the association dissolved, the foundation is moving forward on bringing Giacometti's works to the public.

See Farah Nayeri, Reviving Giacometti’s Legacy, New York Times, Apr. 16, 2015.

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

April 25, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)