Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Benefits of Selling Memorabilia Before the Estate Tax Might Rise

MoneyAs I have previously discussed, the estate tax rate is projected to rise to its pre-Bush era tax cut rate if Congress chooses to not act before the end of the year. Some people, including sports stars and hall of famers, have decided to sell their old memorabilia, although not all are looking to take advantage of the favorable estate tax exemption. Among these stars are Don Larsen, Bob Knight, Evander Holyfield. Provided below is an excerpt from the National Review Online explaining their situation:

Rather than leave a 56-year-old uniform hanging in a closet at his Idaho home, Don Larsen decided it should be used for education.

He’s auctioning off the Yankee pinstripes he wore in 1956 when he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, and will use the proceeds to pay college tuition for his grandchildren, one in college and the other a high school freshman. . . .

Similarly, Bob Knight is selling his NCAA championship rings and other mementos to fund education in his family. “I have two grandsons,” the Hall of Fame basketball coach said, “and my wife has a niece and nephew, who would get good use out of this.” . . .

[Evander] Holyfield, like Larsen, said he didn’t consider the tax implications of selling items now rather than after the first of the year.

“This is something new to me,” the former heavyweight champion said.

But the auction houses say the tax issues come up in the planning.

See Corey Dean Hall, Selling Memorabilia Before the Estate Tax Rises, Right Field, The National Review Online, Oct. 25, 2012.

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

October 27, 2012 in Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Estate of Iron Range Chef Jeno Paulucci is in Dispute

Estate DisputeThe estate of Iron Range Chef Jeno Paulucci is in dispute between his children and the new trustees of their father's large trusts. Paulucci "is best known for founding the Chun King line of canned Chinese food products in the late 1940s, which he sold in 1966 for $63 million." He later went to make a larger fortune selling frozen dinners under a number of trademarks. He established the trust in dispute more than a dozen years before his death. At the time of his death, the trust contains about $100 million in assets. 

His adult children contend that the two men, a businessman and state senator, manipulated Paulucci and his wife to make them the trustees of the trust. With regards to their claim, the children claim that as the beneficiaries of the trust "they have the right to fire the trustees David Simmons and Larry Nelson and replace them with the original trustees, William Berens and George Eck." The children contend that their parents lacked the capacity needed to appoint the new trustees and that they were under "undue influence" of the newly appointed trustees. While the attorney for Simmons and Nelson claim that Paulucci made them the trustees because Paulucci wanted the trust to be well-managed. At the moment, the estate dispute is on hold because the two parties on in dispute over the proper venue of the case. 

See Abby Simons, Jeno Paulucci Money in Nasty Court Dispute, StarTribune, Oct. 20, 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 27, 2012 in Estate Administration, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas Tech University Seeks President


The Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System invites nominations and applications for the position of President of Texas Tech University.

The President is the chief executive officer of Texas Tech University and is responsible for the executive management of its operations. The President provides overall leadership in the planning and management of the academic, research, international, athletic, service, fiscal, administrative, operational and auxiliary enterprise mission of Texas Tech.

The President is appointed by the Chancellor (the chief executive officer of the Texas Tech University System), with the prior approval of the Board of Regents of the System ("Board"). The President reports directly to the Chancellor, and the performance of the President is evaluated annually by the Chancellor, with a report of the evaluation provided to the Board for concurrence or modification.

Inquiries, applications and nominations may be submitted electronically in total confidence. The 17-member search committee is chaired by Texas Tech University System Board of Regents Chair Jerry E. Turner of Blanco, TX.

Review of applications will begin immediately, with applications accepted until the position is filled, but applications should be submitted no later than November 21, 2012 in order to assure full consideration by the Search Committee. Application materials (to include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, and the names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of five references, who will not be contacted without permission) must be electronically submitted (in MS Word or PDF format) to PresTTU@agbsearch.com.

Follow this link for more information about the position.

October 26, 2012 in Faculty Positions -- Permanent | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on Legacy of Former ACTEC President Ed Benjamin

BenjaminEarlier, I reported the recent death of former ACTEC President Edward Bernard Benjamin, Jr.

Here is some additional information about Ed from John Pope, Edward Benjamin Jr., New Orleans lawyer with an eye for details, dies at 89, NOLA.com, Oct. 25, 2012:

"He was a perfectionist," said David Edwards, a former colleague of Mr. Benjamin's at Jones Walker. "He wanted to do his absolute best, and he wanted people around him to do their absolute best."

In addition to earning a living as a lawyer specializing in taxes and estate planning, Mr. Benjamin spent 19 years as the chancellor, or chief lawyer, of Trinity Episcopal Church and 19 more years as the chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.

Mr. Benjamin provided evidence of his painstaking ways when he accompanied a priest to a bank to sign documents for a loan, said James B. Brown, who was the Episcopal bishop of Louisiana when Mr. Benjamin was the diocesan chancellor.

Instead of simply letting the priest sign the papers and leave, Mr. Benjamin insisted on reading everything carefully, making so many corrections as he went that the papers had to be retyped, Brown said, chuckling. "Instead of 20 minutes, it wound up taking more than an hour."

October 26, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Retrospective of Stanley Kubrick Set To Begin November 1, 2012

Stanley KubrickThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, are set to begin presenting a retrospective of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. The retrospective is set to run for little more than half a year, starting this November 1st and ending on June 30, 2013. The exhibition will display "archival material, annotated scripts, photography, costumes, cameras and equipment, set models, original promotional materials and props...[and] will feature sections on projects that Kubrick never completed, special effect he and his team developed, and an alternative beginning to his film 2001." The retrospective was developed by the Kubrick Estate and Deutsches Filmmuseum, and was made possible by a gift from producer Steve Tisch.

See Skurtur, Stanley Kubrick Retrospective, Digtanya, 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 26, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

College in Texas Investigated by the State's Attorney General's Office

Lon Morris CollegeRecently, the Texas Attorney General has begun an investigation of how Lon Morris College used a charitable gift given to them by the Long Endowment Fund. The fund provides funds for the college's library, but should the college close its door, the funds will go to Sam Houston State University. According to the will and testament of the founder of endowment, James D. Long, "half of the income was exclusively to purchase books and journals for the Long Morris library and 'to modernize library services and improve student access to library resources.'" However, court documents state the library at Lon Morris borrowed about $1 million, but there is no promissory note to prove that it did.

At this moment, the Attorney General has examined the Former President of Lon Morris College, Dr. Miles McCall. Soon, the Attorney General will examine the auditor of the college, Lynn Acker. This investigation is only the latest problem that the college has had to face in recent times. This past July, the college filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. As I stated earlier, if the college closes the fund will move to fund the library at Sam Houston State University. This could become a reality because Long Morris College had to close its door to the students for the Fall of 2012 when it lost its eligibility to receive federal student aid. Soon, the court scheduled the college to appear in court to ask permission to employ an auctioneer to sell some of its property. 

See Kelly Gooch, Lon Morris' $1.3M Gift Investigated by AG Office, TylerPaper.com, Oct. 25, 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 26, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mistaken Identity Leads to a Man Showing Up at His Own Wake

Images-5One supposedly deceased man's family was at his wake when the man showed up and shocked them all. A car washer was murdered over the weekend, and when Gilberto Araujo's brother went to see the body at the mortuary, he mistakenly identified the body to be Gilberto's.  The dead body apparently resembled Gilberto closely.  

Gilberto heard about the mistake when an acquaintance approached him in the street and notified him that his family was about to head to his funeral.  Gilberto tried to call a friend to let him know that an error had been made, but his friend rejected the call because he thought it was a hoax.  That is when Gilberto just headed to the wake in person.  

See Shock As Brazilian Man Turns Up At Own Wake, BBC News Latin America, Oct. 24, 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 25, 2012 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Article on Nonmarital Children and the Uniform Probate Code

PMonopoliPaula A. Monopoli (Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law) recently published her article entitled Toward Equality: Nonmarital Children and the Uniform Probate Code, 45 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 995 (2012).  The introduction to the article is available below: 

The 1960s witnessed an equality revolution that we usually associate with race and gender. But there was another, less visible, equality movement that had its roots in that era--the idea that children born out of wedlock, or “nonmarital” children, should be treated in the same way as children born to a married couple. Legal scholars began to lay the groundwork for a theory of equal treatment of nonmarital children, and the original 1969 Uniform Probate Code (UPC) reflected that scholarly embrace of equality and civil rights. The UPC has remained faithful to that original equality framework. This Article analyzes how the UPC's equality framework has evolved since 1969 to provide for the equal treatment of virtually all nonmarital children. With one small exception--class gifts from nonparent transferors--the UPC has provided nonmarital children the opportunity to inherit from and through their parents in the same manner as children born in wedlock.
Part I discusses the evolution of the law concerning nonmarital children and the development of the UPC's broad protective framework for nonmarital children. Part II examines how using an agency approach in section 2-705(e) of the UPC to determine whether nonmarital children should be included in a class gift from a nonparent transferor deviates from the UPC's overall equality framework. Part III illustrates the costs of such an agency approach, while Part IV outlines a possible constitutional argument against the approach. Part V argues for a return to the default rule found in the version of section 2-611 of the UPC as it existed between 1975 and 1990 and recently embraced by the Massachusetts legislature in its new probate code.

October 25, 2012 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former ACTEC President Ed Benjamin Dies

BenjaminIt is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of former ACTEC President Edward Bernard Benjamin, Jr.

Here is an excerpt from his obituary:

Mr. Benjamin was a well-known author and lecturer in the Tax and Estate Planning fields. He was elected President of what is now known as the American College of Trust and Estate Law (previously, the American College of Probate Counsel), and was the first elected-President of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law. He was elected to the Councils of both the American Bar Association Tax Section and its Real Estate Probate and Trust Law Section, and was one of the only persons to serve on both at the same time. He was a member of the American Law Institute, and of a number other national legal organizations.

Mr. Benjamin is survived by his dearly-beloved wife, the former Adelaide Wisdom, their four children: Edward Wisdom Benjamin, (his wife, the former Helaine Higgins, and their children.

October 25, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Victims of Multimillion Dollar Trust Theft Want The Estate Manager Out of Business

Estate DisputeThe boyfriend of Christine Backhouse, a Silicon Valley Estate Manager, has stolen $17.3 million in funds from her client's accounts, including trusts. Her boyfriend, Leo "Josh" Kennedy stole the money by wiring money from the accounts to a new company. The family members are justifiably angry at this situation, and are in the process of tyring to re-coup the losts that they have incurred. Some of these people are curious as to why Ms. Backhouse is still able to do business as an estate manager, especially when one considers the scope of the funds that were lost and the federal investigation by the FBI. The problem here is that Ms. Backhouse appears to be an innocent bystander in all of this because she claims that Kennedy did all of the accounting. This is difficult for the family members to understand, considering that Ms. Backhouse is a state-licensed fiduiciary and oversees numerous accounts. These family members want more done, but the attorney for Ms. Backhouse, Andrew Watters, stated that she done a great deal because has taken the proactive steps to recover the embezzled funds and in the investigation.

See Karen de Sa, Victims of Multimillion-dollar Trust Thefts Want Silicon Valley Estate Manager Out of Business, MercuryNews.com, Oct. 25, 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 25, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Malpractice, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)