Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Family Foundations as A Teaching Tool

ImagesWealthy families usually try to encourage interdependence among their children by creating a family foundation, a nonprofit organization meant to give away money to charitable organizations.  When these plans work out, they can serve as an example to families who are not as wealthy who can pass down other shared assets. 

One issue that some families have encountered when setting up a family foundation is that later generations may not favor the same charities as the prior generation. If that is not addressed, it can cause conflict later.  21/64, a philanthropic consultancy, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy conducted a study that examined how younger generations felt about philanthropy. It found that those who followed the baby boomers wanted to give to charities in ways that produced measurable change and wanted to be more hands-on with the groups that they give to.  

See Paul Sullivan, Family Foundations Prepare for the next Generation, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2013. 

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

February 9, 2013 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oscar Peterson's Widow Sues Hilary Kole For Copyright Infringement

Oscar PetersonKelly Peterson, the widow of Canadian Jazz Pianist Oscar Peterson, has filed suit against one of his collaborators, Hilary Kole. Peterson claims that Kole "gave copies of four tracks she recorded with the pianist to an Internet radio program and that the radio program played at least one of the tunes." The tracks that are the subject of the lawsuit were recorded by Peterson and Kole but never released. As a result of the copyright infringement, Peterson filed suit in a Manhattan federal court, claiming $1 Million in damages.

See Associated Press, Oscar Peterson's Widow Sues Singer Hilary Kole For Copyright Infringement, The Star, Feb. 7, 2013.

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

February 9, 2013 in Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Famous Last Words

John WayneBelow is a detailed list of famous last words uttered by celebrities. The significance and circumstances surrounding their last words can be found in the link to the article that is provided below.

  1. Bob Hope: "Surprise Me"
  2. Glenn Miller: "Where the hell are the parachutes?"
  3. Eugene O'Neill, Sr.: "I knew it! Born in a hotel room and, goddamn it, dying in a hotel room."
  4. Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer: "I want that fifty bucks you owe me and I want it now!"
  5. Groucho Marx: "This is no way to live!"
  6. Alfred Hitchcock: "One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes."
  7. "Moe" Howard (Three Stooges): "I've been really sick lately, so I'm sorry that I haven't answered yours and Ernie's letters, but I think about you daily."
  8. Rod Serling: "That's what I anticipate death will be: A totally unconscious void in which you float through eternity with no particular consciousness about anything."
  9. Sid Vicious: "We had a death pact. I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye."
  10. John Wayne: "Of course I know who you are. You're my girl. I love you."
  11. Jackie Wilson: "My heart is crying, crying."
See Chris Higgins, The Surprising Last Words of 11 Entertainers, The Week, Feb. 7, 2013.

February 9, 2013 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Found: The Skeleton of Richard III

UnknownA skeleton was found under a car park in Leicester, and tests have confirmed that the skeleton is that of King Richard III.  Tests on his skill and body indicate that he was brutally hacked, presumably by victors on the battlefield, and ultimately suffered at least two fatal head wounds.  

DNA recovered from the remains played a large role in the academics' conclusion that this was Richard III's skull.  Radio-carbon dating and battlefield wounds on the skeleton also played a role in the "beyond reasonable doubt" determination. 

The remains, which were under the ground for over 500 years, will be interred in the city's cathedral.  

See Skeleton Found in Car Park is Richard III, IrishTimes.com, Feb. 4, 2013. 

February 8, 2013 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge Rules Majali Family Cannot Review Arbitration Award

Images-5I previously blogged abut Sandi Majali's estate challenging an arbitration award to Majali's former business partner, Lindani Mthwa.  On Thursday, South Gauteng High Court judge threw out the estate's attempt to review the award.  The judge said that Majali's estate had no direct interest in it.  

The Majali family's counsel tried to argue that, because Majali was not notified in writing of the initial arbitration hearing that occurred while he was still alive, the award was obtained improperly.  And if an award was improperly obtained, the Arbitration Act entitles a court to set aside an arbitration order by "any party to the reference."  The judge did not think that the failure to notify Majali of the hearing in writing was fatal.  He also said that Majali did not even qualify as a "party to the reference".  Imvume claimed to be Siyanda's shareholder, not Mr. Majali.  A party to the reference must have a legal interest in the arbitration, and Majali did not.  

See Franny Rabkin, Majali Estate Loses Bid to Access Dividends, BDlive, Feb. 8, 2013. 

February 8, 2013 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

TJ Jackson Has Petitioned Michael Jackson's Estate For Reasonable Compensation

TJ JacksonAs I have previously discussed, TJ Jackson was named to be co-guardian to Michael Jackson's three children. Now, it appears that TJ and the executors of Michael Jackson's estate are asking a federal judge to provide TJ "a reasonable amount of money to keep the ship afloat" so to speak. TJ claims that without some help he cannot continue to be the surrogate parent of Jackson's children. In the petition, the executors claim that TJ has shown great devotion to the children and spends upwards of 40 hours a week caring for them. The petition also claims that this has been difficult for TJ considering that he has three children of his own. The petition concluded that even though TJ was appointed to be the children's co-guardian this past July, he has received no compensation for his services. The executors ask that TJ be granted $9,000 a month, retroactively applied from July to the present. 

See TJ Jackson -- He Needs Cash To Care For Michael's Kids, TMZ, Feb. 6, 2013.

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

February 8, 2013 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

REITbid, an Online Auction Platform

MoneyREITbid is now offering "a new online auction platform that matches buyers and sellers of shares in existing non-traded public real estate investment trusts (REITs)." The program is designed to create a easy way to make illiquid assets liquid. According to REITbid, these are the advatanges to their program:

In addition to offering a liquidity option and streamlining the entire process of buying, selling and transferring shares, REITbid provides several other unique advantages including:

  • User-friendly platform that is easy enough for virtually any qualified investor to use
  • Transparency – provides instant access to non-traded REIT metrics and links to SEC filings and sponsor data; users can also view all pending bid activity on each auction
  • Convenience – ability to bid on and find documentation about available non-traded REITs 24 hours per day
  • Security – strict multi-layer protection of all documents and personal data

February 8, 2013 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Inheritance For the Royal Baby

WillsWhile we do not even know whether Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby will be a boy or a girl, their child is already set to inherit a vast fortune and "become the custodian of extraordinarily valuable state assets." Her large inheritance is the result Queen Elizabeth II's great personal wealth. Her majority owns a large number of properties in northwest England known as the Duchy of Lancaster. The Duchy of Lancaster is 46,000 acres collection of property valued at 348 million pounds. The property yields a decent profit at about 13 million pounds per year. King Edward III established the Duchy for his son, Prince John of Gaunt. The duchy was created after Prince John married the Duke of Lancaster's daughter. The couple's son would eventually rise to throne as King Henry IV. It was Henry who decided that the Duchy should remain separate from other crown properties. He also decided that the property would pass directly from the monarch to his or her heirs.

The only thing that could possibly make this better is that the Duchy is tax-free because of 1993 agreement with Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister John Major that exempts the assets from the applicable inheritance tax. This would likely also apply to other assets that Queen Elizabeth has received from her father. These properties are a little different than the Duchy because the Duchy's principal must be kept in the principal.  The future heir will also get access to all of the royal palaces. The only trade off here is that the future monarch who inherits will have to manage the crown properties.

See Carolyn Harris, How An Inheritance Awaits Kate and William's Baby?, Bloomberg, Jan. 30, 2013.

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

February 8, 2013 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wealth Can Poison a Child's Desire, Says Some of the Wealthiest Parents in America

MoneyGraham Tuckwell is not well-know, mostly because of his own efforts to remain anonymous. The Australian entrepreneur is credited for constructing the ETF Securities, a multi-billion dollar financial empire. While he has avoided the publicity and fame that comes with amassing a great amount of wealth, he recently made news when he announced that he would be giving "$50 million to [the] Australian National University for scholarships." While the news that he is making a gift seems bland, his reasoning is not. Tuckwell made the claim that money and wealth can ruin a person's children. Tuckwell went on to say that children develop better if they are allowed to obtain a sense of achievement. He concluded that giving them wealth does so much to destroy their personal desire to accomplish anything. Tuckwell is not alone. The most famous supporter of this school of thought is Warren Buffett. Of course, there are children that inherited great amounts of wealth and are still successful people. For example, Donald Trump's children were raised with large amounts of wealth and they are still successful and business savvy. 

See Robert Frank, Wealth 'Poisons' Kids, Says Aussie Finance Tycoon, CNBC, Feb. 6, 2013.

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

February 8, 2013 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Small Rise in Charitable Giving

Unknown-6When it comes to fundraising, small non-profits are faring better than larger charities. Blackbaud, a company who provides software for nonprofits,  conducted a study of 3,144 nonprofit groups.  Their report shows that charities that raise less than $1 million a year have seen a 7.3% increase in charitable giving.  In contrast, mid-size groups have seen a 2.7% increase, and larger groups only saw a 0.3% increase.

Overall, Blackbaud found that charitable giving was up 1.7% last year as compared to the 4.2% it rose in 2011. Results varied by sector.  Religious groups saw the biggest boost in 2012, followed by education groups. Online philanthropy also continues to grow in importance. 

See Charitable Giving Up Just 1.7%, Barron's, Feb. 4, 2013.

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

February 7, 2013 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)