Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

CLE on Estate and Disability Planning

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a live video webcast entitled, Estate and Disability Planning, on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Explore Top Tools Used to Plan for Clients' Incapacity and Death

This fundamental course takes a bird's eye view of the key tools and tasks of estate and disability planning to give you a clear understanding of how all the basic elements of the plan fit and function together. Get essential know-how you'll need to plan for long-term care, disability, medical care decisions, death, taxes, and more. Register today!

Understand the basic mechanics of trusts.

Clarify how key provisions of wills function.

Choose the right form of a special needs trust and ensure it functions properly.

Predict tax consequences of long-term care planning and estate planning.

Protect your professional reputation with a legal ethics guide tailored to your practice.

Who Should Attend

This legal guide is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, tax professionals, geriatric care managers, estate planners, trust officers, and paralegals.

Course Content

Wills Basics

Medical, Incapacity, End-of-Life Decisions

Trusts 101

Long-Term Care and Disability Planning

Special Needs Trusts

Taxes and Estate and Disability Planning

Legal Ethics

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 6.00 -  AK*
CLE 6.00 -  AL*
CLE 6.00 -  AR*
CLE 6.00 -  AZ*
CLE 6.00 -  CA*
CLE 7.00 -  CO*
CLE 6.00 -  CT*
CLE 6.00 -  DE*
CLE 7.00 -  FL*
CLE 6.00 -  GA*
CLE 6.00 -  HI*
CLE 6.00 -  IA*
CLE 6.00 -  ID*
CLE 6.00 -  IL*
CLE 6.00 -  IN*
CLE 7.00 -  KS*
CLE 6.00 -  KY*
CLE 6.00 -  LA*
CLE 6.00 -  ME*
CLE 6.00 -  MN*
CLE 7.20 -  MO*
CLE 6.00 -  MP
CLE 6.00 -  MS*
CLE 6.00 -  MT*
CLE 6.00 -  NC*
CLE 6.00 -  ND*
CLE 6.00 -  NE*
CLE 6.00 -  NH*
CLE 7.20 -  NJ*
CLE 6.00 -  NM*
CLE 6.00 -  NV*
CLE 7.00 -  NY*
CLE 6.00 -  OH*
CLE 7.00 -  OK*
CLE 6.00 -  OR*
CLE 6.00 -  PA*
CLE 7.00 -  RI*
CLE 6.00 -  SC*
CLE 6.00 -  TN*
CLE 6.00 -  TX*
CLE 6.00 -  UT*
CLE 6.00 -  VA*
CLE 6.00 -  VT*
CLE 6.00 -  WA*
CLE 7.00 -  WI*
CLE 7.20 -  WV*
CLE 6.00 -  WY*

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants

Credit Hrs State
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  AZ
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  NY*
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WA
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WI

 * denotes specialty credits

August 19, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Life is Short. That’s the Point

LifedeathThere has been a recent upsurge in the quantity of "longevity entrepreneurs" who are attempting to not only extend their own lives but to create a market for it. One such company, Ambrosia Plasma, actually provides young plasma infusions for $8,000 a liter.

Others see death as fundamental to our lives as living them. Without death, according to them, life would not have the meaning that it was designed to have. Barbara Ehrenreich in her book, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer, writes that, “You can think of death bitterly or with resignation, as a tragic interruption of your life, and take every possible measure to postpone it. Or, more realistically, you can think of life as an interruption of an eternity of personal nonexistence, and seize it as a brief opportunity to observe and interact with the living, ever-surprising world around us.”

The beginnings and the endings, the tragedies and the blessings, are the moments that can make us feel human instead of simply a piece of the Earth.

See Allison Arieff, Life is Short. That’s the Point, New York Times, August 18, 2018.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

August 19, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Article on Wayfair and the Retroactivity of Constitutional Holdings

WayfairAdam B Thimmesch, Darien Shanske, & David Gamage recently published an Article entitled, Wayfair and the Retroactivity of Constitutional Holdings, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This essay analyzes the issue of retroactivity with respect to the Supreme Court case of South Dakota v. Wayfair.

August 18, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

How America’s 88,000 Missing People Become Legally Dead

MissingAccording to a report in the Wall Street Journal, there are currently approximately 88,000 people that are actively missing. These people are somewhere in the legal limbo of dead and alive, and without a death certificate, the families of these individual are facing not only emotional trauma but potentially financial trauma.

A death certificate of a person is the literal key for many things, such as selling jointly-owned property, collecting social security benefits for minors, or collecting benefits from retirement plans. Life insurance policies may be especially tricky, as often of the pay outs are dependent upon the cause of death of the insured.

Attorney Beth Chapman who practices in Juneau, Alaska, Chapman has worked with the families involved in two “presumption of death” trials in regards to people who disappeared while engaging in outdoor activities. She says that it has been extremely emotional for her as an attorney to work on these case, but also that, “It is wrenching for families to go into court to seek a death declaration without a body.”

See American has 88,000 Missing Persons, and Some Families Need Them Declared Dead, Real Clear Life, August 17, 2018; see also Sara Randazzo, How America’s 88,000 Missing People Become Legally Dead, Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2018.

August 18, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 17, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning and Administration for Family Businesses

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Estate Planning and Administration for Family Businesses, on Friday November 16, 2018 at the Hilton Garden Inn Columbus/Polaris in  Columbus, Ohio. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

How to Protect the Family Business Assets and Ensure a Smooth Transfer

Estate planning and administration for business owners requires specialized knowledge and tools to ensure the best client representation. This legal course will give you the knowledge and skills to preserve the legacy your clients have worked their entire lives to build. Explore the tools and opportunities unique to family businesses to help make good sense of difficult legal and financial policies. Learn what you need to know about taxes, wills, trusts, valuations, and other key elements. Help your clients take care of their estate planning and administration needs and their family's future - register today!

Explore the deciding factors in choosing the right business entity when planning ownership transfer.

Take full advantage of valuation discounts.

Employ all available tools for transferring assets and preserving wealth.

Tackle top methods of business valuation and their consequences in estate planning and tax.

Learn how to navigate an estate administration that involves a family business: with or without express instructions for transfer in a will or other transfer documents.

Protect the value of the family business: help executors act in their full authority and in the best interests of the estate.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for:

Attorneys

Estate Planners

Accountants and CPAs

Tax Professionals

Trust Officers

Paralegals

Course Content

Determining the Consequences of Business Entity Choice (LLCs, S-Corps and C-Corps, Corps, etc.)

Medicaid and LTC Planning: A How-to Guide

Transferring the Business Within the Family

Business Value: Determining, Preserving and Maximizing

Tax Considerations in Transferring a Family Business

Legal Ethics

How to Navigate a Family Business Through Probate

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.60

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 7.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

August 17, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Funerals are Becoming one Last Extravagant Display of Wealth

GoldOnce upon a time destination weddings were the only big occasion that was prevalent to show a person's wealth; now, destination funerals are becoming popular. The wealthy are dictating in their last wishes the desire for Rolls-Royce hearses, gold caskets, and other last "flairs" to show the world their prestige. “There’s a certain set of expectations about how you’re supposed to go out,” said Ted Klontz, chief executive officer of Klontz Consulting Group. “It’s become one last display of power and wealth.”

Where to be buried may also be seen as an extravagant expenditure. A crypt beneath New York’s Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is available for $7 million. It can hold nine caskets and 10 cremated remains and according to Frank Alfieri, who oversees the church's cemetery, three prominent families have already expressed interest.

Go big or go home.

See Olivia Carville, Funerals are Becoming one Last Extravagant Display of Wealth, Bloomberg, August 17, 2018.

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

August 17, 2018 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on The Future of Salt: A Broader Picture

SaltDavid Gamage & Darien Shanske recently published an Article entitled, The Future of Salt: A Broader Picture, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

In this essay, we evaluate the new cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. We argue that the structure of the new cap is not consistent with any theory as to what the SALT deduction is or should be. In canvassing these theories, we further evaluate how future reforms to the SALT deduction might proceed.

August 17, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Secret’s Safe with Your Estate Planning Attorney... Maybe [Colorado]

ShhWhen a client's intent is at issue in a will contest suit, who better to ascertain the client's intentions than that of their estate planning attorney? However, due to client-attorney privilege, many confidential pieces of information must be included in that privilege, even after death. In  Swidler & Berlin v. United States, 524 U.S. 399, 406 (1998), the Supreme Court stated that certain things cannot be forced from the attorney as it "may result in the posthumous exposure of detrimental information concerning a client’s reputation or impose possible harm to friends and family."

Colorado allows the client-attorney privilege to extend past death, and thus the personal representative stands in for the descendant and therefore can waive the privilege. Colorado also recognizes the testamentary exception in which the attorney may, but does not have to, disclose privileged communications that would otherwise be protected if sought by the decedent’s heirs in a will contest suit.

The Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee has also issued a formal ethics opinion that in the absence of the client or the client's representative consent to disclose information, a court order may be required.

See Lauren A. Morris, Your Secret’s Safe with Your Estate Planning Attorney, or is it?, Lexology, August 15, 2018.

August 17, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Reasons Why You Should Consider a Living Trust

UnicornTrusts can be an extremely important feature in an estate plan, but they are not magical - they cannot do anything and everything imaginable. There are various types of trusts, but one that many people have heard of but unaware of their features is that of a living trust. A living trust is one that you make while you are still alive and can be either revocable or irrevocable. Depending on the language of the trust document, here are a few things that a living trust can do for you:

  • Reduce your estate tax
  • Protect minor children
  • Save your adult children from themselves
  • Keep your assets in the family
  • Take the sting out of the fling (in case you fear a tryst by a family member may put your assets in danger)
  • Avoid probate
  • Ensure your family's privacy
  • Protect yourself while you are alive

See Christine Fletcher, 9 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Living Trust, Forbes, August 16, 2018.

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

August 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Retrenchment, Temporary-Effect Legislation, and the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

HomeVictoria J. Haneman recently published an Article entitled, Retrenchment, Temporary-Effect Legislation, and the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

There are several sacred cows in the Internal Revenue Code, but perhaps none quite as sacrosanct as the home mortgage interest deduction. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has characterized the mortgage interest deduction as so beloved by the American people that it is “kind of like apple pie.” Reform of the home mortgage interest deduction has been described as the third rail of tax reform, in that “touching the [mortgage interest deduction] is not just treasonous but ruinous.” That is, until December 22, 2017 when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was enacted. And though the change to Section 163 may not seem significant by its own terms, its interaction with other changes to the Internal Revenue Code will result in profound change: the reduction of the home mortgage interest cap to $750,000 from $1 million will interact with the provision capping state and local property, sales, and income tax at $10,000, and the almost-doubled standard deduction. The obvious effect will be fewer homeowners itemizing their home mortgage interest deduction: an estimated 44% of taxpayers received the benefit of the home mortgage interest deduction under prior law, and it is anticipated that this number will drop to less than 15%.

Notably, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 continues a process of temporary-effect lawmaking—the changes to the home mortgage interest deduction expire in eight years unless extended by Congress. The use of temporary-effect legislation that came into vogue during the administration of George W. Bush has been the object of scathing critique, with a prevailing view that such legislation is generally little more than a manipulation that allows the cost of legislation to be distorted. This Article considers the advantages of temporary-effect legislation through the lens of an entrenched tax expenditure, namely the home mortgage interest deduction. The Article models the impact of the home mortgage interest deduction upon the returns of several different taxpayers, under both prior and current law. A problem is illuminated in that both the previous and present approaches are broken: a pernicious regressive subsidy has been exacerbated, and a drip-feed of upper- and upper-middle class welfare benefits delivered through the Internal Revenue Code continues. Consequently, the Article explores the anathema of temporariness to address retrenchment to fix this tax expenditure, and balances the negative externalities that flow from renewal uncertainty against long-term policy implications.

The ambition of this Article is to evaluate the recent changes to the home mortgage interest deduction both from a tax policy perspective and to also consider the politics and processes that are drivers—and so Section V suggests that it is time to pivot. Temporary-effect legislation has created a window during which it is feasible to retrench the entrenched home mortgage interest deduction from the Internal Revenue Code, with little political cost, and replace the deduction with a targeted tax credit to subsidize homeownership.

August 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)