Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Michael Levin's New Minibook for People in the Financial Industry

BookFinancialMichael Levin (Founder and CEO of Business Ghost, Inc., Orange County, Caliornia) recently published a book, The Financial Advisor's Dilemma.(2013). A description of the book as provided by Business Ghost, Inc., is below:

This short, powerful minibook by New York Times best-selling author and Shark Tank entrepreneur Michael Levin, with a foreword by Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, can transform your position in the marketplace.

In The Financial Advisor’s Dilemma, you’ll get answers to these pressing questions:

  • Why do those in the financial industry have such a difficult time creating trust with prospects?
  • Is there a proven alternative to both cold calls and spending thousands of dollars on dinner events for high net worth prospects?
  • How can you stand out from the pack without breaking the bank?
  • What’s the easiest way to get speaking engagements, radio and TV appearances?
  • What’s the one thing to add to your website that practically no other financial advisor can offer?

February 16, 2013 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Homeless Man Returns Diamond Ring

Diamond RingA homeless man named Billy Ray Harris who accidentally received a diamond ring in his change cup showed a great amount integrity by returning the ring to its rightful owner, Sarah Darling. Darling stated that she did not even know that her ring was missing until the next day. While Darling was upset at the lost of her ring, it was not because of its value but because of its sentimental value. When Harris found the ring, he instantly knew that the ring was expensive. The surprising turn in this story is when Darling went to look for her ring. She re-appoached Harris and asked him if he had her ring.

He recalled, "She squatted down like you did like right there and says, ‘Do you remember me?' And I was like, ‘I don't know. I see a lot of faces.' She says, ‘I might have gave you something very valuable.' I said, ‘Was it a ring?' And she says, ‘Yeah.' And I said, ‘Well, I have it.'"

Harris attributes his attitude to his father's teachings. His father who was reverend taught him many values. He claimed that "he wasn't the type of cash in on someones misfortune." As a reward for his virtue, Darling happily paid him all the money she had in her wallet.

See Claudine Zap, Homeless Man Returns Diamond Ring Accidentially Dropped Into His Change Cup, Yahoo, Feb. 13, 2013.

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

February 16, 2013 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ruling Releases Legion of Christ Documents

CrossAs I have previously discussed, Gabrielle Mee bequeathed $60 million to the Legion of Christ, and her niece, Mary Lou Dauray, challenged the validity of the will that made such a large gift. Amidst the current lawsuit challenging Mee's will, the highest court in Rhode Island has ruled that "documents related to a disgraced Roman Catholic organization called the Legion of Christ [are going to] be unsealed and [made] available to the public." More specifically, the court issued an order that declined to delay the release of the documents related to the case. The Legion did not want to documents released because they felt that information contained within them could possibly taint the opinion of a future jury. The unsealed documents could be released as early as today, February 15, 2013. 

Previously, a court ruled against the niece because she lacked standing to bring the suit. Dauray's attorney plans to the appeal the ruling by the court.  

See David Klepper, RI Ruling Means Release of Legion of Christ Docs, GoUpstate.com, Feb. 14, 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 15, 2013 in Current Events, Wills | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Re-broadcast of a CLE on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

CLE ImageThe ALI-CLE and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is sponsoring a telephone seminar/audio webcast entitled, Estate Planning After the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012on Friday, March 1, 2013 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST. Provided below is description of the event:

Although the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 preserves tax cuts for nearly 99% of the American people, the federal estate tax rate rises to 40%.

Find out what's changed and what remains the same in the estate tax universe. Featuring a faculty of experienced estate planners who closely watch the action on Capitol Hill, this timely webcast will give you an update on the latest changes, practical advice to follow up on actions taken in 2012, and strategies for living with the estate tax law in 2013 and beyond.

Who should attend:

  • Estate Planners
  • Wealth Management Advisors
  • Accountants
This replay was originally presented on January 25, 2013.

February 15, 2013 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on the Urooj Khan Estate Dispute

LotteryAs I have previously discussed, the investigation into the death of a lottery winner and the battle for his estate is ongoing. Now, one of largest questions surrounding Khan's death and investigation have been answered. The identity of the relative that questioned Khan's death has been revealed. According to the Chicago Tribune, it was his brother, Imtiaz Khan, who first raised suspicions about Khan's death to authorities. 

See Jeremy Gorner, Brother Says He Raised Suspicions In Death of Lottery Winner, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 11, 2013.

February 15, 2013 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Study on Access To Electronic Accounts by The Executor or Administrator of Estate

WillsAs I have previously discussed, there are only a number of states that have passed laws that provide administrators of an estate access to the electronic accounts of the decedent. This group includes Connecticut. Now, the General Assembly of Connecticut has introduced an act that would study the effects of allowing the public administrator of an estate to have access to the testator's electronic accounts following their death. Provided here a copy of Proposed Bill No. 5227.

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

February 15, 2013 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, New Legislation, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Overview of an Executor's Role

Images-1Forbes offers a basic explanation of an executor's role as a starting point for anyone who has been named an executor.  An executor or personal representative is charged with carrying out the wishes of the deceased person.  Typically, an executor offers the will for probate, protects the assets of the estate, distributes property to beneficiaries and pays the debts and taxes of the estate. In all duties, it is important for an executor to pay close attention to detail and engage in a careful, deliberative process.  Forbes also suggests that an executor consult a knowledgable estate planning attorney with any concerns.

See Bernard A. Krooks, Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of an Executor, Forbes, Feb. 14, 2013. 

February 14, 2013 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

U.K. Will Raise Money Through Inheritance Tax and Fund Elderly Care

UnknownUK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reports that Prime Minister David Cameron's government will raise more money through inheritance tax to fund planned improvements to financial support for the elderly.  When the measures come into force in 2017, the government will step in when any individual pays over 75,000 pounds for old age care.  Those with less than 123,000 pounds will receive help sooner. The government aims to encourage wealthier people to take out insurance or use pension products to cover the 75,000 pound cap.  

Successive governments have been ignoring the issue of social care for too long, and Hunt comments that this has led to "an unfair system that has seen people selling their homes and losing nearly everything they've worked for to pay for their care." 

See Robert Hutton, U.K. Will Use Inheritance Tax to Fund More Elderly Care, Bloomberg, Feb. 11, 2013. 

February 14, 2013 in Current Events, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Services Board Recommends Regulation on Will-Writing

ImagesThe Legal Services Board (LSB) recommended to the Lord Chancellor that will-writing be subject to regulation.  One charity director believes that this could lead to more legacies by making consumers more confident in writing a will.  Currently, legacy income is worth almost  £2bn a year to the UK charity sector

The Board seeks to give consumers greater ability to seek redress through the Legal Ombudsman and create a level playing field between traditional law firms and other services, including online services and will-writing companies among others. 

The Lord Chancellor must decide within 90 days whether to proceed with the LSB's recommendations. 

See Niki May Young, Will-writing Regulation Recommended By Legal Services Board, civilsociety.co.uk, Feb. 14, 2013.

February 14, 2013 in Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tax Panel On Conservation Easements

CLE ImageStrafford Webinars & Teleconferences will host a live 110-minute CLE/CPE teleconference with interactive Q&A entitled, Tax Planning With Conservation Easements on March 7, 2013 from 1:00-2:50 EST. If a person registers by tomorrow, there is $50 discount on the registration fee. Provided below is a description of the event.

This teleconference will explain the tax advantages and potential tax treatment of conservation easements. The panel will discuss recent case law developments, how to structure easements to avoid IRS challenges, and how to pair conservation easements with the historic tax credit.


Conservation easements granted in perpetuity as a charitable donation can provide donors with significant income, estate and property tax planning opportunities if structured properly.

The charitable contribution deduction for conservation easements has been under heightened IRS scrutiny in recent years. The IRS has frequently challenged the valuation of the easement, and also attacked other deficiencies in structuring transactions. Several critical tax court cases were decided in 2012.

Moreover, the 3rd Circuit’s Historic Boardwalk Hall ruling regarding a historic tax credit transaction could also have a significant impact on existing and planned tax credit structures for conservation easement transactions.

Listen as our authoritative panel of practitioners reviews tax planning opportunities with conservation easements and recent IRS scrutiny of the charitable donation. The panel will explain how to structure easements to avoid IRS challenges and pair conservation easements with the historic tax credit.


  1. Tax planning opportunities with conservation easements
  2. Potential IRS challenges to the charitable donation of conservation easements
  3. Recent case law developments
  4. Structuring easements to avoid IRS challenges
  5. Pairing conservation easements with the historic tax credit


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are common IRS challenges to conservation easement donations?
  • What lessons does recent case law provide on elements practitioners should consider when structuring conservation easements to minimize challenges by the IRS?
  • What is the potential impact of the Historic Boardwalk Hall ruling on existing and planned tax credit structures for conservation easement transactions?
  • How can conservation easements be paired or combined with the historic tax credit?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.

Upon completing this seminar, you will understand the tax advantages and potential tax treatment of conservation easements, how to structure easements to avoid IRS challenges, and how to pair conservation easements with the historic tax credit.

Special Thanks to Alice McCarthy for bringing this article to my attention.

February 14, 2013 in Conferences & CLE, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)