Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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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)

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 11, 2015

The 1040 Handbook: Updated Edition

1040 Handbook

The ABA Section of Family law updated the reference book entitled, The 1040 Handbook: A Guide to Income and Asset Discovery, Sixth Edition, by Jack Zuckerman.  This classic reference explains how to use the 1040 return as a discovery tool in divorce cases—in practice, not theory.  It is a great tool for drafting a detailed discovery plan for assets and income.  The handbook:

  • Uses a hypothetical couple’s tax return for a line-by-line analysis of the federal tax form and its schedules to suggest areas of inquiry
  • Explains what each line reveals about a couple's assets and the income, notes clues that should be followed up on, and red flags to watch for
  • Discusses how the 1040 can be used to draft a tentative list of assets, identify areas of inquiry, ask the right questions, and develop a list of documents to obtain

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this book to my attention.

February 11, 2015 in Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | 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)

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)

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Book: Texas Probate System

Texas Probate System

The new 4th Edition of the Texas Probate System by James E. Brill and Russell W. Hall, which is based on the new Texas Estates Code (effective January 1, 2014) is now available in both hard copy and digital.  The new edition of the Texas Probate System includes:

  • Letters of a standard, routine, and repetitive nature
  • Forms to be prepared for court proceedings
  • Worksheets designed to guide you through proper decisions, to make calculations, or to maintain a single summary record of multiple related transactions
  • Significant Date List to assist you in calculating and recording important dates for all proceedings
  • Checkplan containing a checklist of all activities to be considered and performed in handling a decedent’s estate.

October 17, 2014 in Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book on Guardianship Alternatives in Texas

Guardianship alternativesA Road Map to Guardianship Alternatives, by Sarah Patel Pacheco provides forms and guidance for utilizing available alternatives to court-supervised guardianship in Texas. Provided below is a description of the book from Texas Bar Books.

Texas guardianship proceedings can be intrusive, burdensome and costly. Practitioners should be aware of the many alternatives to guardianship that are available to Texas residents. This guide provides an overview of those alternatives, including specific forms that can be used to avoid a court-supervised administration of affairs.

A Road Map to Guardianship Alternatives, previously published as Contingency Planning, is intended to support practitioners in every area by providing knowledgeable and cost-effective legal support to families making plans for financial and medical care. This useful handbook has been expanded and updated to reflect legislative changes that have occurred since the previous publication.

The book is organized to easily direct both general practitioners and seasoned estate planning attorneys through situations in which the time and expense of creating a guardianship is not in the best interest of the client. It alerts practitioners to events that may be anticipated, such as travel, planned surgery, and administering the assets of minors or the infirm.

A Road Map to Guardianship Alternatives Digital Product, containing the entire book as an internally hyperlinked, word-searchable PDF file and all forms in Wordformat, is included at no additional charge.

September 1, 2014 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Booklet: Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services

AICPA PFPThe American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has published the latest version of their Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services. Provided below is a description of this guide from AICPA.

The AICPA’s Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services (SSPFPS No. 1), was issued to provide authoritative guidance and establish enforceable standards for members practicing in PFP. SSPFPS No. 1 was issued in January 2014 and is effective beginning July 1, 2014.

CPAs are licensed and regulated by their state boards of accountancy. Additionally, all AICPA members are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct which requires that they act with integrity, objectivity, due care, competence, fully disclose any conflicts of interest (and obtain client consent if a conflict exists), maintain client confidentiality, disclose to the client any commission or referral fees, and serve the public interest when providing financial services. The vast majority of state boards of accountancy have adopted the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct within their state accountancy laws or have created their own.

Over the past three decades, a growing number of CPAs have expanded into providing personal financial planning services to individuals and families. The Compliance Toolkit was designed to provide non-authoritative guidance via checklists, engagement letters, and more to aid in compliance with SSPFPS No.1. For an overview of the challenges facing practitioners and the tools available to provide CPAs with guidance in determining whether SSPFPS No. 1 compliance is required, listen to this podcast on Understanding and Applying the Statement on Standards in PFP Services.

August 31, 2014 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)