Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fascinating book on human remains just published

Marsh bookA human cadaver is no longer a person, but neither is it an object to be easily discarded. As a result of this tenuous legal status, human remains occupy an uneasy position in U.S. law. Perhaps because of what anthropologist Ernest Becker called our “universal fear of death,” the law of human remains occupies a remarkably unexamined niche of U.S. law.  In The Law of Human Remains, Professor Tanya Marsh of Wake Forest University School of Law, collects, organizes, and states the legal rules and principles regarding the status, treatment and disposition of human remains in the United States. The most recent comprehensive overview of the law was published in 1950 (Percival Jackson's The Law of Cadavers). The Law of Human Remains builds on that work by creating detailed summaries of each individual state’s laws and regulations. This unprecedented resource allows readers to quickly identify the often fascinating differences that exist between states.

By defining and describing this neglected area of law, The Law of Human Remains simultaneously establishes the theoretical and doctrinal basis for the law of human remains and provides a framework so that attorneys and courts can more easily discover, understand, and use the law.

The first part of the book establishes the foundational principles of the common law of human remains in the United States and outlines major federal statutes on the subject. It then restates and explains legal doctrines in five categories:

(1) The Newly Dead (including legal recognition of death, presumption of death, obligations to report human remains, inquests and autopsies, and disposition of unclaimed remains);

(2) The Initial Disposition of Human Remains (including the decedent’s right to determine the place and manner of disposition, determining the rights and obligations to control disposition, the nature and scope of interment rights, and the obligation to pay funeral and disposition expenses);

(3) Disposition Options (including burial, cremation, and organ/cadaver donation);

(4) Regulation of the Funeral Industry; and

(5) Treatment of Human Remains (including abuse of corpse, disinterment, grave desecration, the possession and sale of human remains, and funeral protests).


The second part of the book includes detailed summaries of each state’s laws on each of the doctrines explained in Part I. Statutes and leading cases are cited and explained, providing a valuable resource for attorneys and courts.

August 18, 2015 in Books - For Practitioners | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Report Released On Recent Tax Developments

Year in reviewHoward M. Zaritsky has put out a special report titled The Year In Review: An Estate Planner’s Perspective on Recent Tax Developments.  In this this report he examines the substantial changes in tax laws dealing with a wide range of estate planning issues.  “This exclusive special report summarizes the legislation, regulations, revenue rulings and procedures, regular decisions of the Tax Court, the Claims Court and the courts of appeals, as well as selected district court and Tax Court memorandum decisions, private rulings, notices, announcements and other Service and Treasury document from the past year.” The author divides the tax developments into five broad categories discussing estate taxes, gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, special valuation rules, and income taxes.  This report also contains another section called “selected attachments,” which examines certain cases that deal directly with tax planning.

See The Year In Review: An Estate Planner’s Perspective on Recent Tax Developments, Bloomberg BNA, August 5, 2015. 

August 10, 2015 in Books - For Practitioners, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs: How to Leave (some of) Your Estate to Your Pets

Fat catsIn this audio interview with Peggy Hoyt I discuss my book, ‘Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs: How to Leave (some of) Your Estate to Your Pets.’  This interview explores the ways people can plan for the well-being of their pets after they pass away.  Pet trusts have been gaining in popularity within the United States; today all fifty states now have some sort of pet trust statute with Louisiana and Minnesota being the most recent.  I go over the history of how Pet Trust Statutes developed and the ways people can use them to make sure their beloved pets are provided for.  This interview will hopefully give people the information they need to provide for their pets after they die.  No one wants their beloved companion to be sent to the shelter to walk the green mile after they pass away.

See Peggy Hoyt and Gerry Beyer, Planning for Your Pet with Gerry Beyer on All My Children Wear Fur Coats, blogtalkradio: Natures Channel, July 27, 2015. 

July 28, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Book On Estate Planning Strategies

BookThe fourth edition of Deborah L. Jacobs’ recently published Estate Planning Smarts, provides a comprehensive look at an array of estate planning techniques and provides useful tips and explanations for various methods of asset protection. The guide, which is one of the best estate planning books designed for a lay audience, includes discussions about understanding the estate tax system, protecting a spouse, proper care being assured for young and disabled children, protecting assets from creditors, maintaining control of the estate, and many other excellent topics. Provided below is a description of this helpful guide from the author’s website:

I wrote this book to guide you through what can be a difficult and very emotional process. That’s true whether you are tackling estate planning for the first time or revising your plan to reflect changes in the law, your finances or your personal life. The best place to start is with this book’s Table of Contents. It can help you identify the chapters that apply to you. Each chapter cross-references others but is designed to be freestanding. At the end of every chapter is an action-oriented To-Do list based on material covered in that chapter. You can read a sample chapter here.

June 4, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Robert Madden’s New Book Offers Federal Tax Planning Insights

Robert maddenA new tax planning book has been released by one of the top Washington, D.C., estate and probate lawyers.  Robert E. Madden has written the Fourth Edition of Tax Planning for Highly Compensated Individuals.  This book offers the reader insights and guidance on tax and estate planning.  It gives detailed analysis of recent regulatory changes and provides the reader with the tools needed to make better estate planning decisions.  Madden’s book is a good read for attorneys, accountants, estate planners, and financial advisors.  Any person seeking more knowledge about federal tax regulations should consider reading this book. 

See Thomson Reuters, Robert Madden Authors Fourth Edition Of Tax Planning Book, Blank Rome LLP, May 1, 2015. 

May 31, 2015 in Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Choate's Bible Can Now Be Accessed Electronically In The Cloud

Choate bibleNatalie Choate’s book the Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits is considered to be the “bible” on the topic of Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP’s), and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s).  The book has sold over 50,000 copies and has received excellent reviews on Amazon.  The book is read by lawyers, financial planners, CFPs, Accountants, IRA advisors, and many other professionals.  Choate’s book can now also be accessed electronically in the Cloud.  The Cloud version includes many new features like automatic updates, more content, and links to other information. 

The United States is estimated to have about $28 billion invested in QRP’s and IRA’s.  One major benefit of these types of retirement plans is that people can use them as tax avoidance technique.  The best way to be efficient about using these plans is to take distributions slowly to delay taxation of income. 

See Jonathan Blattmachr, Good News for Advisors of IRA and Qualified Retirement Plans: Choate’s Bible Now Is Available in the Cloud, TrustAdvisor, May 19, 2015. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

May 22, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Edition: Inherited IRAs

Inherited IRAsAmerican Bar Association Publishing recently released the updated 2015 edition of Inherited IRAs: What Every Practitioner Must Know, by Seymour Goldberg, CPA, MBA, JD.  Here is why you should pick up a copy of this book:

Discover how to effectively implement an estate plan that includes retirement-type assets. Written especially for the practitioner, this updated edition of Inherited IRAs will alert you to the most critical retirement distribution rules that you must know in order to effectively safeguard your client and their retirement assets. Within this concise, easy-to-follow guide, you'll find:

  • More than 100 scenarios, questions, and answers that you will most likely encounter
  • Checklists, sample forms, and summaries of court rulings on inherited IRA cases
  • Information and resources to help your clients through what is often a very difficult time in their lives.

May 14, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 4, 2015

New Book: Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors

Art Collectors and Their AdvisorsRamsay H. Slugg recently published a book entitled, Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors, available both in print and eBook formats. Provided below is the description of the book from the ABA store:

Addressing the two essential elements of art ownership--planning for the art’s eventual disposition and the practical considerations for collectors as they collect and plan for how it will be handled—this book introduces a client-focused process to use when advising art collectors and the other professionals involved in these decisions.

Art is an asset of passion, as author Ramsay H. Slugg begins this invaluable guide, yet has unique and not unimportant financial characteristics. These elements make art possibly the most difficult asset to incorporate into an overall estate and financial plan. Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors addresses two essential elements of art ownership: planning for the ultimate disposition of the art, including how to represent the wealth represented by the art into any estate and financial planning, and also the practical considerations for collectors as they actively collect and plan for the art’s eventual disposition.

After a brief discussion of the art market generally, the author introduces and explains a client-focused process that can be used when advising art collectors. This includes explaining both the income, estate and gift tax consequences of various options, as well as the important and often emotional non-tax considerations of collecting and disposing of art. The book also discusses the role and importance of other advisors who are involved in these decisions, including art advisors, risk management professionals and appraisers. To better illustrate the material, the book features enlightening case studies. Particular attention is given to the charitable solutions available as these are often especially appealing to many collectors and their advisors.

Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors is accessible to all levels of knowledge, and is designed not only to trusts and estates professionals who have clients who collect art, but also for the art collectors themselves as well as the many other professionals involved, including art advisors, risk management advisors, valuation advisors, and financial planners.

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

May 4, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Book: Inherited IRAs

Inherited IRAsThe American Bar Association Publishing released a new book by Seymour Goldberg entitled, Inherited IRAs: What Every Practitioner Must Know, 2015 Edition.  Provided below is a brief synopsis of the book:

Discover how to effectively implement an estate plan that includes retirement-type assets. Written especially for the practitioner, this updated edition of Inherited IRAs will alert you to the most critical retirement distribution rules that you must know in order to effectively safeguard your client and their retirement assets. Within this concise, easy-to-follow guide, you'll find:

  • More than 100 scenarios, questions, and answers that you will most likely encounter
  • Checklists, sample forms, and summaries of court rulings on inherited IRA cases
  • Information and resources to help your clients through what is often a very difficult time in their lives.

This 2015 Edition is updated to include all of the recent changes to the rules and regulations surrounding estate planning and retirement asset distributions that have been enacted in the past year.

April 2, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pankauski's Trustee's Guide: 10 Steps to Family Trustee Excellence

Pan

 John J. Pankauski (Pankauski Law Firm PLLC, West Palm Beach, FL) has recently published his Trustee's Guide: 10 Steps to Family Trustee Excellence in Kindle e-book format for the amazing price of ninety-nine cents! 

Here is a description of this great new publication:

Pankauski’s Trustee’s Guide explains how individuals who serve as a trustee of a family trust can “go rogue,” or do things badly--not just poorly--with some straight-talk, plain-English and a bit of humor. While intended for the lay person—the individual who will serve as trustee, or perhaps a trust beneficiary--this book will be enjoyed by probate lawyers, trust officers, and financial professionals, who will no doubt recognize generic, recurring fact patterns of family money, which all probate and trust lawyers deal with. I believe that professionals will find Pankauski’s Trustee’s Guide insightful, and useful, most likely a book to purchase for clients who are trustees, or co-trustees. It is a must for any person thinking about creating a trust, leaving an inheritance in a trust, updating their estate plan, or dealing with a trustee of a family trust.

March 21, 2015 in Books - For Practitioners, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)