Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

CLE on Drafting Effective Wills and Trusts

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Drafting Effective Wills and Trusts, which will take place on  on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at the Wyndham Garden Greensboro in Greensboro, NC. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Help Your Clients Meet Their Estate Planning Needs

Do you have a clear understanding of the basic tax issues, medical decisions, and planning documents that can complicate the estate planning and probate processes? Are you prepared to answer your clients' tough questions about planning for final wishes? Attend this seminar to gain insight into the fundamentals of preparing estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, and ancillary documents. Discover the pros and cons of using various types of documents, as well as the tax ramifications involved. Register today!

  • Choose the planning document that is best suited for your client.
  • Provide protection for minors, incompetent persons, and beneficiaries with special needs.
  • Learn how and when to use revocable living trust, pour-over wills, and durable powers of attorney.
  • Reduce your clients' future tax burdens.
  • Use a living will or durable power of attorney for health care to help the client control end-of-life medical decisions.
  • Handle ethical issues that arise in estate planning, such as competency of the client and conflicts of interest.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar will provide fundamentals of drafting wills and trusts for:

  • Attorneys
  • Paralegals
  • Trust Officers
  • Accountants
  • Tax Professionals

Course Content

  1. Fundamental Principles of Will Drafting
  2. Using Living Trusts and Powers of Attorney as Estate Planning Tools
  3. Basic Tax Considerations - What You Need to Know in Order to Choose the Appropriate Plan
  4. Ethics and Estate Planning
  5. Planning Methods to Control Medical Treatment

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 7.00

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.60

National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. – NALA: 6.00 *

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

National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. – NFPA

Professional Achievement in Continuing Education – PACE: 7.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

February 17, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on The Fight for Personhood, Legal Capacity, and Equal Recognition Under Law for People with Disabilities in Israel and Beyond

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-17/4a81ca95-fd30-4ca1-b4b0-5da476d5443a.pngArlene S. Kanter & Yotam Tolub recently posted an Article entitled, The Fight for Personhood, Legal Capacity, and Equal Recognition Under Law for People with Disabilities in Israel and Beyond, Elder Law Studies eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

In 2016, Israel became one of the first countries in the world to introduce supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship in a nationwide law. The Israeli law was enacted as an amendment to Israel’s Guardianship and Legal Capacity Law. This law provides a model to other countries that are considering abolishing or revising their guardianship laws in light of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006. Since then, 175 countries have ratified it, including Israel, but not the United States. Article 12 of the CRPD specifically recognizes the right to legal capacity for all people with disabilities, as well as the right to support that some people with disabilities may need in order to exercise their right to legal capacity and equal recognition under law.

The purpose of this Article is to examine the extent to which guardianship is compatible with the fundamental values of international human rights law, especially the CRPD; and if not, to consider alternatives to guardianship that comply with human rights law. Part I of this Article reviews the historical and legal background of the development of guardianship laws, including arguments against guardianship from different points of view. Part II of the Article discusses the right to equal recognition under law prior to the CRPD, followed by Part III of the Article, which discusses the background and language of Article 12 of the CRPD. Part IV of this Article discusses the Israeli Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law of 1962 and its recent amendment, which reflects the movement in Israel to include supported decision-making as an alternative to the substituted decision-making regime included in Israel’s prior guardianship law. This Part also discusses recent Israeli Supreme Court decisions, which perpetuate the unwarranted denial of legal capacity for people with disabilities despite the Court’s human rights rhetoric. Part V of the Article discusses the background, language, and purpose of Israel’s new amendment to its Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law. Although Israel is not the first country to authorize supported decision-making as a matter of law, it is one of the first countries to adopt a nationwide law that specifically includes supported decision-making as a legal alternative to guardianship. Part VI of the Article discusses developments in other countries around the world as they strive to conform their domestic guardianship laws to the CRPD. This Article concludes with recommendations for other countries that are considering enacting domestic laws that protect the right to legal personhood and legal capacity of all people with disabilities in full compliance with Article 12 of the CRPD.

February 17, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Suicides in US Rose 10% After Robin Williams' Death, Study Finds

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-17/95780c0c-7458-488b-99cb-e0f7a6c3c1e8.pngDirectly after Robin Williams took his own life in 2014, there was a marked increase in the number of suicides in the United States. In the months following Williams’s death, there was a nearly 10% jump in the domestic suicide rate. This so-called “celebrity-suicide effect” has been documented in prior research. David S. Fink, the author of a study detailing this particular incident and its after-effects, claims that this overall pattern of copycat suicide and his research represent the “first study to examine the consequences of a celebrity suicide in the digital era.” Though most are familiar with the expression “correlation does not imply causation,” Fink believes the evidence is strong enough to suggest a connection.

While the phenomenon is certainly interesting, some experts are not convinced that it has any relevant scientific importance. John Ayers, a computational epidemiologist working at San Diego State University, said the “problem with this study is: ‘So what?’” While Ayers acknowledges the scientific rigor and validity of the study, he notes there is really “no urgency there.” Williams took his life in 2014. Those who were suffering and used his death as the impetus for their own are already dead. Ayers believes it is important to “extend this research beyond living in the past to the present.” The end-goal would be “to develop strategies where we can have these types of insights while they're happening so we can respond.”

See Susan Scutti, Suicides in US Rose 10% After Robin Williams' Death, Study Finds, CNN, February 8, 2018.

Special thanks to Adam J. Hirsch, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, for bringing this article to my attention.

February 16, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

John Mahoney, Who Played Cranky Dad on ‘Frasier,’ Dies at 77

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-16/f7565de5-e100-4417-981d-b2d89789f8ce.pngJohn Mahoney, popularly known for his role as the gruff-but-lovable Martin Crane on the television series Frasier, died last week at the age of 77. Paul Martino, Mahoney’s manager for over 30 years, said the actor passed away after a brief stay in the hospital. The cause of death was not provided. Kelsey Grammer, who played Frasier Crane, Martin’s well-to-do and often arrogant son, said of Mahoney’s death: “He was my father. I loved him.”

Mahoney was born in 1940 after his pregnant mother’s evacuation to Blackpool, England. He later followed a sister to Chicago, where he fell in love with the city. In a 2015 interview, Mahoney highlighted his favorite attributes of the city he loved: “The lake, the skyline, the museums, the symphony, the lyric opera…my favorite place in the world.”

See Lynn Elber, John Mahoney, Who Played Cranky Dad on ‘Frasier,’ Dies at 77, USA Today, February 5, 2017.

February 16, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Financial Secrecy Index

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-15/a269029a-32f0-41d3-98e0-ac8156f1f9f9.pngThe Financial Secrecy Index lists various jurisdictions according to the scale of their offshore financial activities and the relative secrecy associated with those transactions. Touted as a politically neutral ranking system, the end-goal of the index is to shed light on tax havens around the world. Though incredibly difficult to find reliable figures, it is estimated that approximately $20 to $30 trillion dollars of private financial wealth is hidden in tax shelters around the world. The countries harboring a vast majority of these funds are not tiny, palm-fringed islands as might be expected, but some of the world’s wealthiest and largest nations.  

See Financial Secrecy Index, Tax Justice Network, 2018.

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

February 16, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

American Horror Story' Murder House Owners Have Video Proof of Fan Nightmares

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-14/37b44eea-a05a-4732-8991-d8e210dacc96.pngAngela Oakenfold and Ernst Von Schwarz, the current owners of the Murder House featured on "American Horror Story (AHS)," are suing the prior owner for failing to warn them of the home's on-air history. The pair claim the house has has become a "macabre tourist attraction" enticing fans to trespass on to the property in an effort to see inside. A couple of AHS fans were so desperate to catch a peak of the interior of the house that they occupied a nearby dumpster hoping to catch a glimpse when the trash truck lifted the bin to empty its contents. Even when fans are not trespassing, they are lined up outside the home behind a chain link fence. While the frustrated duo say their impatience is not with AHS fans in general, they feel as though some go too far and make them feel unsafe.

See American Horror Story' Murder House Owners Have Video Proof of Fan Nightmares, TMZ, February 14, 2018.


February 16, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Forbes' First List of Cryptocurrency's Richest: Meet the Secretive Freaks, Geeks and Visionaries Minting Billions from Bitcoin Mania

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-14/fc15fd77-414b-4400-907a-9ba1033b9fd2.pngMatthew Mellon, a banking heir who saw his $2 million investment in XRP, Ripple's cryptocurrency, explode into a billion dollar fortune, learned first-hand the dangers associated with earning perceived easy money. The morning following a night of festivities at his Los Angles party pad, the 54-year-old says he discovered four individuals rooting around his home. Mellon did not file a report with police and guesses the unwanted intruders were after his XRP. Though they stole two cellphones and four laptops, they were not able to loot Mellon's cryto-fortune, which is carefully hidden in various locations. While not all of the individuals comprising Forbes's list of the most crytpo-affluent have such dramatic tales to tell, the incident serves to underscore the unique nature of both the crytocurrency boom and its beneficiaries. 

See Jeff Kauflin, Forbes' First List of Cryptocurrency's Richest: Meet the Secretive Freaks, Geeks and Visionaries Minting Billions from Bitcoin Mania, Forbes, February 7, 2018.

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

February 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on The Identification of Fiduciary Relationships

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-14/880bf1a7-0680-451c-b7e8-bacf86c5da25.pngPaul B. Miller recently posted an Article entitled, The Identification of Fiduciary Relationships, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law provides synthetic analysis of the law on fiduciary relationships, focusing on the identification of fiduciary relationships and fiduciary relationship formation and termination. The chapter discusses status- and fact-based methods of identifying fiduciary relationships, as well as analogical and definitional variants on these methods. The chapter concludes by highlighting the increasing convergence on powers-based definitions of the fiduciary relationship, and by explaining the merits of definitional reasoning.

February 15, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

From Whistle-Blower To Elder Champion

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-14/f27cf0fa-e4cb-4776-bf26-6be89be18840.pngNew York writer, socialite, and philanthropist, Brooke Astor, had designs to leave her family’s fortune to charity as a part of her legacy. These plans were almost derailed by Anthony Marshall, Astor’s son, when he used his mother’s cognitive decline as a springboard to sell off assets while leaving her to languish in squalor. Fortunately, Astor’s grandson, Phillip Marshall, swooped in to save his suffering grandmother from the disgustingly vile aspirations of his degenerate father. After a successful court battle, Marshall was able to protect his grandmother’s estate and memory while cementing a legacy of his own. He now works to protect the elderly on a national level and is a staunch advocate for increasing the role institutions and financial advisors have to play in preventing abuse.

See Karen Demasters, From Whistle-Blower To Elder Champion, Financial Advisor, February 1, 2018.

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

February 15, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRAs and 401(k)s Are Safe from Judgments - For Now

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-13/ca73aba8-382d-4c3f-894d-6ff473dc0e73.pngA judgment debtor who confessed judgments in favor of a bank in excess of $100,000 failed to make any payment on the acknowledged debt. Following this failure to pay, the bank initiated proceedings to collect. In the course of these proceedings, the debtor confessed that he had made significant additions to his IRA, 401(k), and a 529 plan after the initial judgment. The total contribution to the three plans was approximately $92,000. The bank argued that these conveyances were fraudulent and subject to reversal and execution. When the Court of Appeals heard the case, considering only the transfers to the 401(k) and IRA, it held that the conveyances to the IRA and 401(k) were not subject to reversal after looking at the relevant statutes. The logical question following this holding is how far the opinion may be stretched to the detriment of the judgment creditor. Based on this court’s reasoning, a judgment debtor could feasibly purchase exempt property, like firearms or a home, with non-exempt assets like cash, thereby converting previously non-exempt assets into exempt assets.

See R. Bruce Wallace, IRAs and 401(k)s Are Safe from Judgments - For Now, Lexology, February 6, 2018.

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

February 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)