Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Direction in a Trust to Pay the Settlor’s “legal debts” Does Not Include Debts Secured by Real or Personal Property

ImagesIn a case of first impression, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that a direction in a trust agreement to pay the settlor’s “legal debts” on her death has the same meaning it has in a will.  Accordingly, the clause does not require the payment of debts secured by the settlor’s real or personal property.  In re Pamela Andreas Stisser Grantor Trust, 818 N.W.2d 495 (Minn. 2012).
 
Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.

October 20, 2012 in New Cases, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Estate Planning For Those Living In Two States

UnknownIf you spend part of the year in one state and part of the year in another, for estate planning purposes, it is important to designate which state is your legal residence.  The laws of your legal residence will dictate your estate planning, so choose the state in which it is more advantageous to die.  Some states have estate tax laws in addition to the federal estate tax law, so that is one thing you should check on.

If you own property in both states, your heirs may have to go through the probate process in more than one state.  One way to make the property transfer easier is to set up a trust that owns the real estate. It is also helpful to execute a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Medical Directive in each state that you live in. 

See How to Protect Your Estate While Living In Two States, CBS Boston, Oct. 19, 2012.  

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

October 20, 2012 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Investor Pays Call Girls With Illegally Obtained Funds

MoneyGeoffrey H. Lunn created and operated an investment scheme with two other people: "Darlene Bishop of Odessa, Texas, and Vincent G. Curry of Las Vegas." Together the three operated an investment scheme worth $5.77 million. To make the scheme believable, Lunn created a false subsidiary of a real investment bank, Dresdner Bank. Lunn stated that he operated the company, known as Dresdner Financial, as the vice president and that he planned to acquire and purchase other banks. The three persons claimed that their program could easily turn a profit. In fact, the three claimed that they "could turn an investment of $44,000 into $2 million within 12 banking days." 

Unfortunately for their investors, the company was not real nor was their investment scheme. In fact, Lunn paid three call girls in Las Vegas at grand total of $848,500 using the investors money. Lunn claimed that he acted righteously, and that he gave the money to the call girls "so that they could have 'a better type of life.'" Lunn also used the investor's money to give another deserving person $1.3 million and his cohorts $650,000. The SEC, which has brought a lawsuit against the three, is seeking disgorgement, fines, and injunctions.

See Investors' $850,000 Goes to Call Girls, Courthouse News Service, Oct. 19, 2012.

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

October 20, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Is the Supreme Court More Likely to Take the Windsor Case?

Gay MarriageAs I have previously discussed, a couple of days ago the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the provision in DOMA that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of 14th Amendment. I have also discussed that the Supreme Court of the United States will likely take and decide one of the many same-sex marriage cases that exist at the moment. Following the Second Circuit's ruling, some believe that the Court will most likely take the Windsor v. United States case as opposed to the other cases. Although it is certainly not out of the question that the Court might want to consider all of the same-sex marriage cases.

There are several reasons why the Court might be more likely to take the Windsor case. At this moment, there is a split between the circuit courts on a major issue of federal law. In this case, it is the Defense of Marriage Act. As in other cases, some believe that the key to having the Supreme Court affirm the ruling in Windsor will likely come from Justice Anthony Kennedy. In the past, Justice Kennedy has provided the necessary support to case that have held laws that were discriminatory against homosexuals to be unconstitutional. 

See John Schwartz, U.S. Marriage Act Is Unfair to Gays, Court Panel Says, New York Times, Oct. 18, 2012; see also Joe Palazzolo, Second Circuit's DOMA Decision: A Road Map for SCOTUS?, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 21, 2012.

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

October 20, 2012 in Estate Tax, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Use Caution When Freezing Eggs

Unknown-7One can freeze human eggs to treat infertility, but the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently urged caution for women hoping to pause a ticking biological clock.  The Society cited studies that found younger women are as likely to get pregnant if they use frozen eggs for their infertility treatment as if they used fresh ones. 

The pricey technology is not covered by insurance for elective reasons, but it is being marketed aggressively for women who are not ready for motherhood at this point, but want their frozen eggs as insurance for later. So, should otherwise healthy women freeze their eggs in case they are not ready for motherhood until their late 30s or later, when childbearing windows are closing?

The Society makes it clear that there is no guarantee on this procedure.  Eggs are more difficult to freeze than sperm because eggs contain a lot of water. It is not clear who is a good candidate for the procedure and if women who are storing their eggs are getting a false sense of security.  Anyone who considers egg freezing should seek counseling about their specific circumstances. 

See Freezing Eggs For Fertility Works, Caution Urged, The Examiner, Oct. 19, 2012. 

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

October 19, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Psychological Side of Planning for Special Needs Children

Unknown-2While estate planning for special needs children tends to be more complicated in several aspects, one of the most difficult aspects of the financial decisions is the psychological side.  The psychological aspects come up when addressing where a special needs child should live or how to avoid broken relationships while planning for  a special needs child's affairs.  

Some parents are inclined to keep their children in a bubble, but this may not be the best thing for one's special needs child.  Managing tough decisions like this can wear on a couple.  The New York Times reports that some couples turn to religion to stick together. 

See Ron Lieber, The Psychic Toll Paid In a Special Needs House, The New York Times, Oct. 12, 2012. 

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

October 19, 2012 in Disability Planning - Health Care | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Overweight positions do not violate the trustee’s duty to diversify

ImagesIn a complex opinion, the New York intermediate appellate court held that overweight positions in a diversified group of securities does not in and of itself violate the diversification requirement of the Prudent Investor Act.  The court also held that it was imprudent to retain a security, even though it was inception property, after it ceased to pay dividends because the purpose of the trust was to provide income to the current beneficiaries.  In re HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 947 N.Y.S. 2d 292 (N.Y. App. Div. 2012).
 
Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.

October 19, 2012 in New Cases, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The World's Oldest Father

BabiesMr. Ramjeet Raghav recently welcomed his second child into the world at the age of 96 on October 5th. The Times of India reported that Mr. Raghav was a bachelor for most of his life and practiced celibacy until he met his wife Davi about a decade ago. The couple decided that they wanted to try to have children and made the decision to start their family. The couple now has two sons. Mr. Raghav stated that the keys to his success was his faith in God. While the father of two believes that he is still healthly enough to have children, he has "asked [his] wife be to sterilised [sic] now." His primary reason is financial, as he does not believe that he has the finances to have more chidren and still give his sons the life that he wants for them. The man's age has not been confirmed by other news sources. His wife reportedly gave birth to a health baby boy 

See Ramjeet Raghav, 96-Year-Old Dad, Claims He Is World's Oldest New Father, The Huffington Post, Oct. 17, 2012.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 19, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Second Circuit Rules on Windsor Case

Gay MarriageAs I have previously discussed, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York agreed to hear Edith Windsor's claim that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. Now, the court has rendered its ruling and held that DOMA does violate the equal protection clause of 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. In its ruling, the court noted that homosexuals should be entitled to heightened level of scrutiny based upon on a history of discrimination that homosexuals have suffered in this county, and because they are not in a strong enough political position to protect their interests from potential discrimination at the hands of the majoritian public. The court also highlighted the fact that DOMA is "'an unprecedented breach of longstanding deference to federalism.'" Provided here is a copy of the court opinion in Windsor v. United States.

See Terry Baynes, Appeals Court Rules Against Defense of Marriage Act, Reuters, Oct.18, 2012; Patricia Hurtado and Bob Van Voris, Marriage Law Violates Same-Sex Couple Rights, Court Says, Bloomberg, Oct. 18, 2012.

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

October 19, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Tax, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arthur Beetson's Will

Arthur BeetsonThe Queensland Rugby Player, Arthur Beetson, drafted two different wills in 2000. The two wills were the product of "two homemade will kits,...witnesses by the same people, both name the same executor and both left his estate equally to the same six beneficiaries." So, what is the difference between the wills? Well, Mr. Beetson wrote one of the wills in Old English and the other is plain English. Put another way, all of the words "hereby" were replaced with "do" and all of the words "forthwith" were replaced with "will." Otherwise the two wills are identical. When Mr. Beetson gave the two wills to his executor, the executor believed that he had received the original and a copy of the same will. The problem for the executor soon became determining which will Mr. Beetson signed last. The judge in this case determined that the wills should be read together as one document.

See Amy Remeikis, Artie's Will Tackles Language Barrier, Brisbanetimes.com, Oct. 16, 2012.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) and Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 19, 2012 in Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)