Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Book on Ethical Issues in International Estate Planning

WorldBloomberg BNA recently released a Tax Management Portfolio entitled, Ethical Issues in International Estate Planning, and written by Michael A. Heimos (Michael A. Heimos, P.C., Denver, Colorado) and Christopher M. Reimer (Long Reimer Winegar Beppler LLP, Jackson, Wyoming). Provided below is the description of the portfolio:

Tax Management Portfolio, Ethical Issues in International Estate Planning, No. 872, discusses professional responsibility issues that tend to arise when an estate planning practice crosses international boundaries. Many of the ethical standards applicable to estate planning lawyers in general apply to international estate planning. But this Portfolio focuses on issues of special concern for international planning.

Despite its international focus, this Portfolio is directed at U.S. lawyers. While international planning often implicates foreign laws and rules, this Portfolio is largely based on the framework provided by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules) adopted by the American Bar Association (ABA). International ethical issues frequently have domestic analogues. For example, unauthorized practice of law in a foreign jurisdiction bears many similarities to the longstanding issue of unauthorized practice across state lines by U.S. lawyers. The application of domestic ethical rules to estate planning in general is dealt with in more depth in Price, 801 T.M., Conflicts, Confidentiality, and Other Ethical Considerations in Estate Planning. This Portfolio discusses some of those rules, as well as domestic and foreign regulations, as they tend to become relevant in the international planning context.

The function of this Portfolio is to provide information about the following issues, which can arise when providing estate planning advice and services to international clients:
  • Determining applicable ethical and legal rules
  • Providing competent representation
  • Avoiding committing unauthorized practice of law
  • Hiring and associating with foreign lawyers and legal consultants
  • Advertising international practice
  • Avoiding providing assistance to fraud, money laundering, terrorism, and other unlawful activities.

The Worksheets include a table of Model Rules relevant to international estate planning, sample engagement letter, notice of termination of representation, asset protection solvency affidavit, steps for ensuring professional responsibility compliance, anti-money laundering and terror finance screening procedures, a sample fee splitting agreement letter, and sample letterhead for a multinational partnership.

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

February 24, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Book: Examples & Explanations Wills, Trusts, and Estates

Examples and explanations

I recently published the sixth edition of Examples & Explanations: Wills, Trusts, and Estates.  This book is a favorite among successful students and often recommended by professors.  By giving an extremely clear introduction to concepts, followed by realistic examples, any student can deepen their understanding of wills, trusts and estates.  Designed to complement the casebook, this Examples & Explanations gets right to the point in a conversational, often humorous style designed to help each student prepare for the exam at the end of the course. 

This unique, time-tested series is an invaluable tool to have.  This guide:

  • helps you learn new material by working through chapters that explain each topic in simple language
  • challenges your understanding with hypotheticals similar to those presented in class
  • provides valuable opportunity to study for the final by reviewing the hypotheticals as well as the structure and reasoning behind the corresponding analysis
  • quickly gets to the point in conversational style laced with humor
  • remains a favorite among law school students
  • is often recommended by professors who encourage the use of study guides
  • works with ALL the major casebooks, suits any class on a given topic
  • provides an alternative perspective to help you understand your casebook and in-class lectures

February 18, 2015 in Books, Books - For the Classroom, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Second Edition of Wills Road Map

Wills Road Map

The new second edition of Wills Road Map: Practical Considerations in Will Drafting, by Steve R. Akers, Bernard E. Jones, and R. J. Watts, II is now available.  The new edition is updated to reflect the replacement of the Texas Probate Code with the Texas Estates Code, bringing together legal concepts from wills, probate, and trust law to provide expert guidance in properly assembling a will.  Included are:

  • Basic discussion of estate tax planning
  • Doctrines affecting the validity of a will
  • Review of legal significance and effect of specific wills provisions
  • Helpful appendixes including a checklist and sample will forms

February 13, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Book Review: Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Lawyers

Diminished-capacity-lawyersStan Rule has written a review on American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging and the American Psychological Association handbook entitled, Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Lawyers. Provided below is an excerpt from the review:

Lawyers are required to make assessments of their clients’ capacity to make legal decisions, and sign legal documents. This is especially true in a wills and estates practice, which will often include incapacity planning, such as making enduring powers of attorney, and applications to court for guardianship of adults.

. . . .

I have just finished reading Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Lawyers, published by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging and the American Psychological Association in 2005. It is a useful resource for Canadian estate-planning lawyers as well as American.

For the rest of the favorable review, see Stan Rule, Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Lawyers, Rule of Law, Feb. 1, 2015.

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

February 4, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Book: Tax Planning for Retirees

Tax planning for retirees

Vorris J. Blankenship recently published a book entitled, Tax Planning for Retirees (2014).  In this book, Mr. Blankenship has combined his extensive knowledge of accounting and tax laws to help clients stretch their retirement dollars to the maximum.  This complete, one-stop guide is filled with “how to do it” expertise that will help practitioners steer clients towards the best tax and estate planning decisions possible, both before and during retirement.  This comprehensive book is everything you will need to navigate complex tax-planning issues with confidence, root out every tax-saving opportunity, and help your clients keep more of their nest eggs for themselves.  Written in clear, jargon-free language, the book covers:

  • Federal tax treatment of everything from IRAs and Social Security benefits to long-term care insurance and disability benefits.
  • Strategies for optimizing IRA and 401(k) distributions.
  • Pensions, ESOPs, veterans’ benefits, and all other types of retirement income.
  • Smart Estate Planning to protect retirement benefits. 

January 22, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Book on The Law of Probate Bonds

The Law of Probate BondsThe second edition of the recently published book entitled, The Law of Probate Bonds, edited by Jeffrey M. Frank and Sharon A. Sergeant, is now available through ABA Book Publishing. Provided below is a description of the book:

Now revised and updated, this book provides a detailed discussion of all aspects relating to probate bonds. The chapters in The Law of Probate Bonds cover topics ranging from public policy regarding the need for probate bonds to claim handling to many different defenses and special situations. 

The book's twenty chapters include:

  • Public Policy—Why Require Probate Bonds?
  • Underwriting the Probate Bond
  • Types of Probate Bonds and Rules of Fiduciaries
  • Claimants on a Bond
  • Procedural Prerequisites to Asserting Claims on Probate Bonds
  • Statute of Limitations: When the Surety’s Liability Can Be Laid to Rest
  • Handling and Disposition of Fiduciary Bond Claims: Types of Claims and Damages
  • Bond Liability for Money Principal Borrows
  • Surety’s Liability for Acts Occurring before Bond Was Issued
  • The Impact of Attorney Neglect and Bad Acts on the Probate Bond Surety
  • The Surety’s Liability for Misconduct or Co-Fiduciaries
  • Fiduciaries Serving Estates in Multiple Capacities
  • Non-Estate Property Obtained under Color of Office
  • The Prudent Investor Rule and Exposure of the Probate Surety
  • Prior Judgment against the Principal and Its Effect on the Probate Surety’s Liability
  • Penal Sum Issues Relating to Probate Bonds
  • Defenses Available to the Probate Bond Surety
  • Probate Bonds: Recovery and Salvage
  • The Probate Surety and Bankruptcy
  • Practical Guide to Handling Probate Bond Claims

The book includes detailed footnotes citing case law from courts around the country and applicable state statutes relating to probate bonds.

The Law of Probate Bonds is an indispensable reference tool for both the experienced and entry-level claim professional and practitioner, as well as for general practitioners seeking an understanding of this complex area of law.

January 22, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Supplement Retirement With Your Home

House

Downsizing to a less expensive home or taking out a reverse mortgage can supplement your nest egg.  Why focus on housing?  First, home equity is a significant source of wealth for retirees.  Second, housing is often the largest expense in retirees’ budgets. 

Consider downsizing first.  “You want to be in the ‘right’ home for retirement as soon as you can.  And it’s costly to downsize after a reverse mortgage, as the fees and interest will reduce the equity you have in your current home.”

A new e-book from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College is a useful resource on how to tap into this valuable resource. 

See How to Get Retirement Income From Your Home, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 30, 2014. 

December 3, 2014 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Book on Estate Tax and Movies

Art of the Estate Tax ReturnKeith Schiller's new book, Art of the Estate Tax Return, Second Edition-Estate Planning at the Movies, uses films to illustrate estate planning and tax concepts.  Provided below is the description of the book from Bloomberg BNA:

Art of the Estate Tax Return, Second Edition – Estate Planning at the Movies® provides in-depth tax analysis and strategic counsel, while offering the ultimate in readability, by connecting well-known motion pictures to practical estate planning and compliance. These connections create great reminders of significant strategies or law, lending humanity to technical issues, and making the tax law fun. 

Art of the Estate Tax Return will enhance your practice and enable you to potentially save your clients millions of dollars in estate taxes by presenting strategic analysis for preparation, presentation, and post-filing defense and advocacy with tax-saving results.

Underlying the cinematic connections, the author shares his best practice tips from a career of preparing, reviewing, and defending estate tax returns, and his greater than 25 years of teaching experience for tax professionals.

With a Foreword by former IRS Appeals Team Manager John Schooler, and an Afterword by Charles W. Morris, the former IRS Territory Manager, Estate and Gift Tax for the Western United States, Art of the Estate Tax Return unsnares the traps and explores the nuances of law and procedure that enter into the preparation and defense of Form 706, including:

  • Expanded coverage of portability elections
  • Illustrated estate tax returns for 2013
  • Maximizing valuation discounts and deductions
  • Protecting FLPs and FLLCs
  • Securing best appraisal results
  • Tips to avoid audits
  • Pointers on GST reporting
  • Cautions and help for fiduciaries
  • Warnings and opportunities from inconsistencies in the law
  • Strategies for audits and appeals
  • Comprehensive analysis
  • And much more!

November 11, 2014 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Understanding Trust Compliance Issues

Trustee

CPAs are often asked to act as trustees or are retained to prepare fiduciary income tax returns for trusts.  A CPA who is involved in trust issues must become aware of the fiduciary trust accounting rules that apply to a trust. 

In the book entitled, Trust Your Trust, Seymour Goldberg discusses the CPA’s need to know the specific state trust accounting rules if he or she is involved in trust issues.  Provided below is an excerpt from the book concerning the trustee and state trust laws:

Over the last decade or more, most states plus the District of Columbia have adopted versions of the 1997 Uniform Principal and Income Act. The UPAIA covers a number of subject areas including definitions and fiduciary duties, the decedent’s estate or terminating income interest, the apportionment of the beginning and end of income interest, the allocation of receipts during the administration of a trust, and the allocation of disbursements during the administration of a trust.

These revised laws triggered in part the need for the American Institute of CPAs to issue a comprehensive Practice Guide for Fiduciary (Trust) Accounting in December 2007 for accountants who perform fiduciary accounting services.

This practice guide (including the appendix) is over 250 pages long. The purpose is to provide information on what issues the CPA should know about when preparing fiduciary accountings and fiduciary income tax returns.

A dedicated number of members of the AICPA spent several years developing the trust accounting practice guide. These AICPA members were members of the AICPA Trust Accounting Income (TAI) Task Force.

In 2008 amendments were adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to the 1997 version of the UPAIA. Each jurisdiction then decides whether or not to adopt the recommended changes in whole or in part. Most states have adopted the recommended changes, but a number of states did not. This makes life difficult since the professional advisor must constantly monitor the state trust accounting law in his or her jurisdiction to determine if any changes were made as well as the effective date of any changes.

See Seymour Goldberg, What Accountants Need To Know About Trust Compliance Issues, Accounting Today, Oct. 29, 2014. 

Special thanks to Seymour Goldberg (Goldberg & Goldberg, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 1, 2014 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book on Federal Gift, Estate, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxation of Life Insurance

Federal Gift, Estate, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxation of Life InsuranceLawrence Brody & Mary Ann Mancini published the third edition of their book entitled, Federal Gift, Estate, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxation of Life Insurance. Provided below is a description of the book from ABA:

This concise primer will guide you in minimizing the transfer tax of an estate plan and avoiding the pitfalls that can occur. The authors discuss gift tax issues, estate taxation of life insurance, generation-skipping transfer tax and its application to life insurance and irrevocable life insurance trusts, community property considerations, and more.

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.

October 31, 2014 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)