Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Book on Federal Gift, Estate, and Generation-Skipping Taxes

The Insurance CounselorLawrence Brody (Attorney, Bryan Cave, LLP), Norman H. Lane (Attorney, GreenbergTraurig), Mary Ann Mancini (Partner, Loeb & Loeb, LLP) recently published a book entitled, The Insurance Counselor, Federal Gift, Estate, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxation of Life Insurance, (3d ed., 2012). Provided below is a description from the ABA store:

Now updated and completely revised, this volume in the popular Insurance Counselor series will help you take full advantage of minimizing the transfer taxation of the estate plan as well as avoid the many pitfalls that can arise. The first chapter deals with life insurance as a gift, informing you about the valuation of policies and their qualification for the gift tax annual exclusion. Among the areas discussed are:

  • Outright transfers, transfers in trust, indirect gifts
  • The uses and issues relating to Crummey powers
  • The gift tax marital deduction

Further issues discussed in the second chapter are the gift tax, including consideration of cases when a gift occurs with respect to a life insurance policy, the valuation of the gift, and the availability of the gift tax annual exclusion and the gift tax charitable or marital deduction. The third chapter deals with the estate taxation of life insurance, with emphasis on the two IRC sections that have particular application to life insurance: sections 2035 and 2042. The fourth chapter discusses the generation-skipping transfer tax and its application to life insurance and irrevocable life insurance trusts, while the final chapter specifically addresses important community property considerations.

Citations and case law and the relevant IRC provisions are provided, as well as a table of cases and a table of IRC Sections, Regulations, and Rulings.

December 7, 2012 in Books - For the Classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CLE on Estate Planning in 2013, Part 2

CLE ImageThe Illinois State Bar Association is offering a 1 MCLE Hour teleseminar entitled, TELESEMINAR: Estate Planning in 2013: Part 2, on January 9, 2013 at 12:00-1:00 pm. The keynote speakers at the event are Blanche Lark Christerson, Renee M. Gabbard, Daniel Daniels, and David LeibellBelow is a description and highlights of the event as provided by the Illinois State Bar Association: 

New Year 2013 marks the third consecutive year in which estate and gift tax laws are in a state of substantial flux. Exemption amounts and rates have varied widely and changed unpredictably in the last several years and New Year 2013 is expected to herald substantial new changes again as Congress alters the historically high exemptions and low rates of 2012. For larger and smaller estates, planning must change to reflect changes to the law which will impact more client estates than before. This program will provide you with a practical guide to major changes in the estate and gift tax law in 2013, planning opportunities (and traps) under the new tax regime, and discuss how the new law impacts existing plans. Part 2 of 2.

Highlights

  • Growing importance of using defined value clauses in an environment of lower exemptions and higher rates
  • Strategies for smaller estates under $2 million
  • Advanced gifting strategies – GRATs, installment sales to intentionally defective irrevocable trusts, and more
  • Role of sophisticated trust planning under the new law

December 7, 2012 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

CLE on Year-End Estate Planning

Images-4ALI-CLE presents a telephone seminar and audio webcast entitled Year-End and 2013 Estate Planning Ideas. The CLE will be on Thursday, December 13, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern and it is $199.  

Please click here to register. 

December 6, 2012 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rabbi Arrested for False Insurance Claims in Miami

Unknown-2South Florida authorites recently arrested a rabbi who is facing dozens of charges for false insurance claims.  Barry William Kallenberg was arrested and is accused of one court of organized scheme to defraud and 73 counts of grand theft, false insurance claims and false supporting insurance documents. Allegedly he submitted false insurance claims to American Express and Allianz Global Assistance.  Apparently he would fly in and out of MIA on numerous occasions and then declare that his luggage did not arrive on time.  Surveillance video once caught him picking up his luggage and then later returning to make a claim that the luggage never arrived.  

His fraudulent claims accounted for $30,342.62 in Miami-Dade.  Other claims were outside of the county and lack documentation. He used the money he made from this scheme to make purchases, return the purchases, and then keep the money from the returned merchandise. 

When Kallenberg appeared in bond court on Tuesday, the judge ordered him to surrender his passport and set bond at $110,000.  

See Brian Hamacher, Rabbi Arrested in Miami in Insurance Fraud Scheme: Police, NBC 6, Dec. 5, 2012.  

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

December 6, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Article on Louisiana Prenuptial Agreements

CarterEElizabeth Ruth Carter (Assistant Professor, Paul M. Hebert Law Center) recently published her article entitled Louisiana Prenuptial Agreements: Issues for Contemporary Spouses, 42nd Annual Estate Planning Seminar (Oct. 2012).  The abstract availabe on SSRN is below: 

Prenuptial agreements can benefit nearly all couples. The stereotypical second-marriage couple and the couple with a large wealth disparity remain candidates for prenuptial agreements. But, the market is much larger than that. All couples, particularly those in Louisiana, can benefit from a prenuptial agreement. The default legal regime of community property presents a number of likely unintended and unexpected consequences for many spouses. Moreover, modern spouses likely have different concerns than the stereotypical prenuptial agreement candidates. This paper examines important demographic changes among married couples and attempts to identify some possible concerns and scenarios raided by these changes that could be addressed in a prenuptial agreement.

December 6, 2012 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CLE on Estate Planning in 2013, Part 1

CLE ImageThe Illinois State Bar Association is offering a 1 MCLE Hour teleseminar entitled, TELESEMINAR: Estate Planning in 2013: Part 1, on January 8, 2013 at 12:00-1:00 pm. The keynote speakers at the event are Blanche Lark Christerson, Renee M. Gabbard, Daniel Daniels, and David LeibellBelow is a description and highlights of the event as provided by the Illinois State Bar Association: 

New Year 2013 marks the third consecutive year in which estate and gift tax laws are in a state of substantial flux. Exemption amounts and rates have varied widely and changed unpredictably in the last several years and New Year 2013 is expected to herald substantial new changes again as Congress alters the historically high exemptions and low rates of 2012. For larger and smaller estates, planning must change to reflect changes to the law which will impact more client estates than before. This program will provide you with a practical guide to major changes in the estate and gift tax law in 2013, planning opportunities (and traps) under the new tax regime, and discuss how the new law impacts existing plans. Part 1 of 2.

Highlights:

  • Detailed review of new estate and gift tax law and how it alters current law
  • What does the new law mean for planning in 2013 and how does it impact existing plans?
  • Planning for the Obama Administration’s transfer tax proposals
  • Relationship of new federal law to state estate taxes

December 6, 2012 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Marley's Family Settles In Trademark Lawsuit

Bob MarleyThe lawsuit between Bob Marley's family and his half brother Richard Booker has come to a close after both parties agreed to settle. The lawsuit began when Marley's family accused Booker and several of his affiliates of violating copyright and trademark laws. More specifically, the family alleged that they had used Marley's image to promote an annual music festival in Miami without the permission of the estate. Following this, Booker responded by filing a counter-suit against Marley's family, claiming that Marley gave him permission to use his likeness before he died. This is what led to the decision to settle the case. According to Booker's lawyer, both parties seem to be satisfied with the settlement agreement. 

See Bob Marley Trademark Lawsuit: Singer's Family Settles Case With Half Brother, Richard Booker, The Huffington Post, Dec. 5, 2012.

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

December 6, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Court Might Hear New Basic Marriage Case

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court is set to add another case on same-sex marriage to its docket. A Nevada law was challenged by eight same-sex couples on 14th Amendment equal protection grounds in Coalition for the Protection of Marriage v. Beverly Sevcik. The lawyer group that is defending the law has asked the Supreme Court to to hear the merits of the case before the Ninth Circuit has the opportunity to hear the case. What makes this case different is the issue that has been presented for the court to decide. The question presented before the court is "must a state allow gays and lesbians to get married?" Of all the cases presented before the court, none of the cases have presented the basic issue on same-sex on whether there is a fundamental right to marry.

The federal district judge, Robert C. Jones, that handled the case affirmed Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage, concluding that past precedent states that there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage and that the law served a legitimate purpose in protecting the institution of marriage. The judge based his ruling in part on the 1972 Minnesota case, Baker v. Nelson. In that case, the court indirectly upheld Minnesota's statute that limited the right to marriage to different-sex couples. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal made by the petitioner for lack of a federal question. Judge Jones also determined that if even the courts were to judge the case of the merits, the statute would be able to pass the constitutional muster. 

See Lyle Denniston, Court Gets New, More Basic Marriage Case, SCOTUS Blog, Dec. 5, 2012.

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

December 6, 2012 in Current Affairs, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Article on Special Needs Trusts

Ruthann Lacey Heather NadlerRuthann P. Lacey (Attorney, Georgia and Washington D.C.) and Heather D. Nadler (Attorney, Georgia) recently published an article entitled, Special Needs Trusts, 46 Fam. L.Q. 247-267, (2012). Provided below is the description from the American Bar Association's webpage:

One in twenty-six American families reports raising a child with a disability. Thus, special needs trusts are no longer a concept reserved just for special situations. Family law, elder law, special needs, and estate planning attorneys regularly encounter situations in which good planning centered around an individual with a disability is essential. Special needs trusts are a legal planning tool that enables children and adults with disabilities to more easily become eligible for public benefits while also providing for at least partial reimbursement to the government for some of these benefits. The authors explain the types of special needs trusts and how they can work with regard to public benefit eligibility rules of four of the principal federally-funded programs that provide benefits to the aged, blind or disabled. In addition, the article covers distribution standards, trustee selection and duties, reporting requirements, and attorney liability.

December 6, 2012 in Articles, Elder Law, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Man Accused of Killing his Mother Could Still Benefit From her Estate

ImagesBrett Bednarz is accused of killing his mother and two others two thanksgivings ago, yet he still stands to inherit interest in two houses and cash from his mother's estate.  

Bednarz's mother, Beverley Therrien, died without a will.  Her estate consists of the house where she was killed, another house, and cash totaling about $35,000.  Because there was no will, state law dictates that the estate would be divided equally among her children. Brett's sister was appointed administrator of the estate and has been paying bills to on the two houses. There is one bill remaining unpaid--a $46,877 bill from crime scene cleaners.  The cleaners have filed a lien on one of Beverley's properties.  

If Bednarz is convicted of killing his mother, state law can prevent him from receiving anything from her estate, from receiving any property that he held in joint tenancy with his mother, and from receiving a payout from her life insurance policy.  In order for him to be excluded from all of these shares, an interested party has to raise the claim in the proper court.  Any challenges to the estate would be handled in probate court and a challenge to Bednarz receiving a payout from his mother's life insurance policy would be addressed in Superior Court.  

If Bednarz is acquitted of his mother's murder, he can receive all the benefits that the court finds him entitled to.  

Even though Therrien died without an official will, she drafted one in 2006 and her lawyer applied ot manage the estate and presented a copy of the will.  For a copy of that will to be accepted, someone would have to apply to the court for a hearing and present evidence that the copy should be accepted because the original was accidentally destroyed.  In the 2006 draft, Therrien designated her son as executor and primary beneficiary while excluding her daughter from receiving anything.  

While investigating the homicide, officers found that Therrien had an appointment to meet with her lawyer on December 1, 2010 to cut her son out of her will.  Her lawyer confirmed to the police that he had a meeting scheduled with her that day.  

See David Owens and Christine Dempsey, Accused Killer Could Benefit From Slain Mother's Estate, courant.com, Dec. 1, 2012.  

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

December 5, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)