Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Portion Of Millionaires Have No Estate Plan

SavingsMore than a third of millionaires have not consulted with a financial planner to set up an estate plan.  Procrastination is a problem that has an effect on people in all income groups.  Recent changes in tax policies have created a sense of “estate planning fatigue” with some wealthy families.  Not having an estate plan can result in “complete chaos” as loved ones who are left behind fight over the estate.  It is a good idea for wealthy individuals to consult with a professional estate planner so that they can be prepared for the future.

See Alex Padalka, One-Third of Millionaires Have No Estate Plan, Financial Advisor IQ, July 2, 2015.

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

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Issues Final Regulations On The Portability Of Unused Exclusion Amounts

IrsPortability lets a surviving spouse carry over any portion of the deceased spouse’s unused exclusion (DSUE) to shield more assets from estate taxes.  It is a new provision that has been confusing lawyers, CPA’s, and their clients since it was brought into existence on Jan. 1, 2011. There are some people who miss out on these benefits by failing to elect for portability, some critics have called for a more simplified process.  The new rules will permit some people to elect for these exclusions even if they are past the 15-month extended estate tax filing period so long as their estate falls below the exclusion amount ($5.43 million in 2015). The IRS is adopting a stricter approach for larger estates by only granting a portability election if they file at the time of the first spouse’s death. 

See Ashlea Ebeling, IRS To Allow Do-Overs For Some Estates, Forbes, July 2, 2015.

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

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brevity Is The Soul Of... An Obituary?

Article PictureA man in Fargo, North Dakota had a strange request for his eventual death, he only wanted a two word obituary that said "Doug died." The man felt that going on about where you work, and the like, after death was unnecessary. But he seems to have only gotten part of his wish; while his obituary was appropriately brief, the newspaper wrote a separate article that ran several hundred words and essentially acted as the last ode to the gentleman's life.

See Kate Seamons, Fargo Man Sums It All Up in 2-Word Obit, Newser, July 2, 2015.

 

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Of Legendary Musician Nina Simone Faces Sony In Court

Article PictureAfter years of legal wrangling the estate of Nina Simone is heading back to court after a settlement with Sony fell through. The controversy revolves around the rights Ms. Simone's music being sold online to iTunes, Amazon, and other digital music services. Sony acquired the rights after buying the original distributor and has been fighting the estate for a long while. No trial date has yet been set.

See Ann Brown, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood: Nina Simone’s Heirs In Another Legal Battle With Sony, Madame Noire, May 22, 2015.

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

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Future Of Asset Discounts On Family Transfers Is Uncertain

Estate taxThe IRS is expected to issue proposed regulations by the end of 2015 that would restrict intra-family transfers that are designed to get valuation discounts.  Utilizing discounts on family transfers of closely held business and real estate interests has been a primary estate planning technique used to reduce gift and estate taxes for many decades.  The value of the transferred interests often comes in the form of non-voting stock or non-controlling limited partnership or assignee interest.  The IRS has taken the position that these transfers are not appropriate for a family setting and are done only for tax planning.  In the past the IRS has had limited success in combating these transfers, though that might all change with the new regulations that many expect will come out in the future.

See John P. Dedon, Are Asset Discounts on Family Transfers a Thing of the Past?, The National Law Review, June 30, 2015.

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

July 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kirk Kerkorian’s Legacy Continues After His Passing

Kerkorian2I have previously discussed the estate of the late billionaire casino tycoon Kirk Kerkorian.  It appears that Kerkorians influence and legacy over MGM Resorts will continue to be wielded through his close friend and executor of his estate Anthony Mendekic, who is the CEO of Tracinda Corp., a holding company that owns a large portion of MGM Resorts.  Kerkorian left instructions for Mendekic to conduct an orderly disposition of MGM Resort shares.  MGM Resorts is continuing to expand, with a number of projects underway in different parts of the country.  Kirk Kerkorians legacy over the large company is going to continue long after his death. 

See Howard Stutz, Inside Gaming: Even after death, Kerkorian’s legacy through Tracinda will wield influence, RGT Online, July 1, 2015.

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

July 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Has Pledged His Entire $32 Billion Fortune To Charity

Prince alwaleedSaudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has pledged to donate his entire $32 billion dollar fortune to charitable causes in the coming years.  Prince Alwaleed has been in close coordination with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the charity that Alwaleed would like to serve as the model for his philanthropic endeavors.  The 60 year old Saudi Prince is the nephew of the late King Abdullah.  In Saudi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed does not currently hold any government rank.  The prince has been involved in a number of lucrative business projects.  This current promise of extreme generosity is unprecedented for the region, Prince Alwaleed plans to use the money to “help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world."

See Ian Timberlake, Saudi Prince Alwaleed pledges $32 bn fortune to charity, Yahoo Finance, July 1, 2015.

Special thanks to Adam Hirsch for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

South Korean Court Rules Against Effort To Block Samsung Takeover Bid

LeeA South Korean court has blocked an effort by a U.S. hedge fund to block a takeover deal involving Samsung.  Elliott Associates is trying to prevent Samsung C&T Corporation from taking over a central holding company called Cheil Industries.  The shareholders will be meeting later this month to vote on whether to approve the deal.  This column discusses how South Korean courts have a history of ruling against firms that challenge large Korean interests on matters involving mergers and acquisitions.  If the estimated $8 billion merger is successful it will help the Lee family maintain control over the Samsung empire.

See Donald Kirk, Samsung Heirs Win Court Decision In Fight With Elliott For Inheritance, Forbes, July 1, 2015. 

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Complex Battle Over Robin William’s Estate

Robin_williams1-267x300I have previously discussed the complicated dispute between Robin William’s wife and his three children over the late actor’s estate.  The children of the late actor and comedian are in a disagreement with Susan Williams over how much money she should receive.  The two opposing parties in this dispute have already settled most of their differences over how to divide the actor’s personal belongings.  In his will Robin Williams left Susan the Tiburon home that they lived in together with instructions that she is to receive enough money to support her.  Lawyers on both sides are disputing over how much money she should receive.

See Robin Williams’ family at odds over how to divide estate, Fox News, June 1, 2015.

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

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

When People Post About Funerals On Social Media

Funeral-trust25-crop-600x338It is very common for people to post just about every detail of their life on social media services like Facebook or Twitter.  This column discusses some of the controversy surrounding the increasing number of people who post pictures and comments about funerals on their social media accounts and the mixed feelings that society has about this new trend.  Some people believe that funerals should be private affairs and would not like it if somebody took a picture of the casket and posted it on Facebook or Twitter.  There are other individuals who have no issue with sharing pictures and information about funerals with their social media networks.  As social media technology continues to develop these concerns about privacy will continue to become more prevalent. 

See Leanne Italie, For social media fans, funerals are now fair game: Share, comment, or take a selfie?, Arkansas Online, July 1, 2015.

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

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)