Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Attorney Michael Santucci Helps Settle Bob Marley Trademark Infringement Case

Michael SantucciAs I have previously discussed, the trademark infringement case involving Bob Marley's name came to a close after the attorneys from both parties agreed to settle. The case was settled thanks to the assistance of an attorney from Fort Lauderdale, Florida by the name of Michael Santucci. Mr. Santucci represented Richard Booker, Bob Marley's brother, and several other parties, including the Bob Marley Movement of Jah People and the Bob Marley Heritage Foundation. The case was difficult because it involved several different aspects of intellectual property law and many different personal aspects that threatened the legacy of Marley and his family. Following the resolution of the case, Mr. Santucci stated that "'[f]rom what I learned about Bob Marley and his intentions, he would be happy with our recent achievements, especially the peace brought to the family.'" 

However, the good outcome from the Marley case should come as no surprise considering that Mr. Santucci has helped resolve other high profile cases in the past. Mr. Santucci was part of the team that litigated the All Pro Sports Camps, Inc. v. Walt Disney Company case in 2002. That case ended with a court granting a rather large verdict of $240 Million for his clients. More recently, Mr. Santucci finished settling a dispute between Ultra Music Festival and Ultra Records before he took on the Marley case. Reportedly, Mr. Santucci and the opposing counsel worked endlessly for 13.5 hours overnight to bring the case to a resolution. 

If you are interested in the specifics of Bob Marley Trademark Infringement case or any of his other activities, please visit Mr. Santucci's blog here. There are particular blogs that about the Marley case that a person can read about on his blog, including an article discussing his entrance into the case and an article discussing when both parties settled.

See Attorney Michael Santucci Helps Settle Bob Marley Family Dispute, PRWeb, Dec. 3, 2012; see also Bob Marley's Family Settles Fishy Trademark Suit, Mon!, TMZ, Dec. 2, 2012.

December 22, 2012 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning

CLE ImageThe University of Miami School of Law will host an estate planning conference entitled, 47th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning at the Olrando World Center Marriot Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida from January 14-18, 2013. Provided below is a description on the event:

The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is the nation's leading conference for estate planners, including attorneys, trust officers, accountants, insurance advisors, and wealth management professionals. The general session lectures and breakout sessions offer comprehensive coverage of the latest estate planning techniques and strategies, and special program tracks allow attendees to customize their educational experience. In addition to traditional estate planning topics, this year's Institute offers programs on the important related areas of elder law, marital law, and income tax planning. Attendees can also enjoy unparalleled networking and professional development opportunities that make attending the Heckerling Institute a valuable investment for every estate planning professional.

December 22, 2012 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Article on Trusts in Belgium

Verbeke-lrAlain-Laurent Verbeke recently published his article entitled Trusts in Belgie: Liaisons Dangereuses (Trust in Belgium: Dangerous Liasons), Tijdschrift voor Privaatrecht (Private Law Journal) 2012, no.2, p. 693-704.  The abstract of the article available on SSRN is below: 

In this article I make a claim against off shore trusts and foundations as useful estate planning vehicles for Belgian residents. My point is that such structures may end up causing a nightmare both from the perspective of tax law and of civil law. 

On the fiscal side, the Belgian tax administration makes a strong argument for taxation both on the level of income tax and inheritance tax. Even fully discretionary and irrevocable trusts have a hard time to pass the tough tresholds. The administration has a point: how often is such fully discretionary trust really also in the facts fully discretionary with no power whatsoever for the settlor? 

This may change dramatically upon the decease of the settlor. At that moment the trust may become genuinely discretionary, in the hands of the trustees. Their fiduciary obligation is towards the goals and objectives set out in the trust deed and defined by the settlor. The latter however is not there anymore to correct or finetune. 

Hence, on the civil law side, the paradox of the discretion may turn into a true nightmare after the settlor has passed away. In many instances trustees may then rely on the discretionary character and the will of the late settlor to pretty much act as they seem fit. The heirs of the settlor are then at the mercy of the trustees goodwill.

December 21, 2012 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Surviving Twin Sister Plans to Marry the Man Convicted of Killing Her Sister

Unknown-3Victor Cingolani is serving a 13-year sentence for murdering girlfriend Johana Casa in August 2010, but he insists that he is innocent, and Johana's twin sister plans to marry him on Friday in his prison in Santa Cruz province.  

The mother of the twins has vowed to do everything she can to prevent Edith, the surviving twin, from marrying Cingolani.  The mother wants to have her examined by a psychiatrist because she believes she does not know what she is doing.  Edith maintains that she is fully aware of what she is doing, continues to insist on Cingolani's innocence and accuses her mother of abandoning her and her sister.  

See Agence France Presse, An Argentine Woman is Planning To Marry the Convicted Killer of Her Twin Sister, Business Insider, Dec. 20, 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 21, 2012 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reminder: CLE on Estate Planning 101

CLE ImageThe ABA Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law and ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals will host a 60 minute session entitled, Estate Planning 101: The Basics on January 9, 2013. The session will be led by two members of the Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Hugh Drake (Brown, Hay & Stephens LLP) and Tye Klooster (Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP). The session include discussions of the following:

  1. Defining the need and objectives for clients.
  2. Determining intestacy.
  3. Wills and revocable trusts.
  4. Steps of probate and probate avoidance.
  5. Taxes and asset protection.

December 21, 2012 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Winter

Happy_WinterGood Morning,

Happy First Day of Winter!


December 20, 2012 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Holiday Parties and Networking

Images-6Holiday parties are in full swing, and these events give lawyers opportunities to engage in professional networking as they are enjoying the festivities.  

Above The Law featured an article entitled Moonlighting: How Not to Network, full of tips on what you should avoid at holiday parties.  The bottom line seems to be that indulging too much can backfire and it is best to be prepared, courteous and to follow up with new contacts after an event. 

See Jillian Snell, Holiday Parties and Networking Faux Pas, Wealth Strategies Journal 2.0, Dec. 20, 2012. 

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

December 20, 2012 in Humor, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CLE on Planning, Drafting and Administration

CLE ImageMinnesota CLE is hosting a Live Seminar entitled, 2013: An Estate Planning Odyssey: Critical Issues In Planning, Drafting and Administration on Friday, January 4, 2013 from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The keynote address will be given by Ronald D. Aucutt. Attorneys who cannot make it to the live seminar can also view the Mr. Aucutt's keynote address through webcast. Provided below is a description of the event:

  • Ron Aucutt’s coverage of what happens in the 2012 election; tax reform in general; estate, gift and GST taxes and any last-minute developments
  • The latest on changes to the Minnesota estate tax – the calculator; the intersect with federal estate and gift tax law changes and the status of “qualified” property
  • Small Estates Panel – drafting ideas for equalizing gifts; planning to minimize claims under recovery statutes; using trusts to protect M.A. interests; inter vivos gifts to reduce Minnesota estate tax and disclaimers for federal estate taxes
  • Large Estates Panel – predicable ramifications of inaction or action by Congress; the perils of independent trustees and trust protectors; drafting tips including guiding language for trustees, avoiding the Delaware tax trap, decanting provisions and disclaimers
  • Income tax issues for trusts and estates – pitfalls and opportunities of higher rates on ordinary income; capital gains rate increases; the new tax on investment income for individuals and trusts and thoughts on investment allocation to minimize the impact of the new tax
  • And much, much more!

December 20, 2012 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Limit Charitable Deductions

Gift TaxOne option for reforming the IRC is to limit the amount of charitable deductions that a taxpayer may take in a given year. However, some people argue that if Congress were to limit the number of charitable of deductions, it should only be for charitable deductions made under the federal estate and gift tax. If Congress were to take this particular route, they could meet both of their primary goals. This move would increase revenue while ensuring that Congress could still provide an incentive for people to make charitable contributions.

In addition, a limitation on the amount of charitable deductions that a person could make under the estate and gift tax code would only affect the largest estates. Under a plan like this one, Congress could limit the amount by creating a deduction with a particular amount cap. For example, Congress could create a law that states that "the first $10 Million of charitable bequests could by fully deductible for estate tax purposes and only the amount gifted over that threshold would be deductible in part." Congress could also choose to create a progressive charitable tax deduction, where the amount that taxpayer can take as a deduction decreases as the amount that taxpayer donated increases. All of these propositions could be implemented while keeping Congress' primary goals for tax reform in mind.

See Edward Zelinsky, Limit the Estate Tax Charitable Deduction, OUPblog, Dec. 19, 2012.

December 20, 2012 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Short Sale of Firearms Stocks

America!In the awake of the tragedy that unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut, a national debate has resurfaced about gun control laws in this country. These talks have placed the firearms industry directly in the regulatory cross-hairs of lawmakers in this country, which could have an effect on the price of stocks from these companies. The private sector is already experiencing these effects. According to The Trust Advisor, "Smith & Wesson has lost 28% of its market capitalization since Friday's tragic events. Sturm Ruger is down 16%." This situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, considering that both "New York and California city and state pension funds [are] 'aggressively' dumping their firearms holdings." 

At this time, it is more critical for advisors to begin asking questions about whether their clients have invested in gun stocks. The good news here that any present clients are probably not at risk because of their limited exposure to the companies that are experiencing the greatest effects. Both Smith and Sturm Ruger only account for 0.1% of the entire holdings "in [most] typical small-cap equity index fund[s]." An advisor probably needs to be more concerned if their client has primarily invested with these companies or is part of the Bushmaster Rifle equity fund. Regardless, it is probably still a good idea for an advisor to tell his or her clients about the risks associated with their investment plans. 

See Scott Martin, Short Sale: Is It Time To Suggest Dumping Your Clients' Firearms Stocks?, The Trust Advisor, Dec. 18, 2012.

Special thanks to Scott Martin (Contributor, The Trust Advisor) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 20, 2012 in Current Affairs, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)