Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Workers Fear Running Out of Money

Retirement planning

New research shows that 22 percent of workers say they would rather die than run out of money.  However, 61 percent say they are not sacrificing a lot to save for their golden years. 

The Wells Fargo Middle Class Retirement survey looked at the retirement planning of Americans with household incomes between $25,000 and $100,000 who held investable assets of less than $100,000.  One third contribute nothing to a 401(k) plan or IRA, and half say they have no confidence they will have enough to retire. 

Although middle-class Americans have a median retirement balance of just $20,000, those who have an retirement plan are doing better than those without one. 

Most people do understand the need to save for retirement, yet they do not see it as an urgent goal requiring spending cutbacks.  Still, many individuals have room in their budget to boost their savings rates. 

“Of course, the larger problem is that a sizeable percentage of middle-class Americans are struggling financially and simply don’t [have] enough money to stash away for long-term goals like retirement.  As economic data show, many workers haven’t has a real salary increase for 15 years, while the cost of essentials, such as health care and college tuition, continues to soar.”

See Dan Kadlec, 22% of Workers Would Rather Die Early Than Run Out of Money, Time, Oct. 22, 2014.

October 24, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Melissa Rivers to Inherit More than $100 Million

Joan and Melissa Rivers

Following the tragic death of iconic comedian Joan Rivers, her daughter will inherit more than $100 million in cash and property.  Melissa Rivers will receive $75 million in cash from her mother and the comedian’s $35 million Upper East Side New York condo. 

On October 16th, the New York City medical examiner released a statement saying that Joan Rivers died from throat surgery complications. 

In light of this report, Melissa Rivers continues to struggle with the loss of her mother and business partner.  “My mother would have been overwhelmed by the scope and depth of the love that people have expressed for her. It is certainly helping to lift our spirits during this time.  We are forever grateful for your kindness and support in continuing to honor my mother’s legacy, and for remembering the joy and laughter that she brought to so many.”

See Clyde Hughes, Melissa Rivers Inheriting $100M in Cash, Property From Mother, News Max, Oct. 23, 2014.

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

October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Joan Rivers Leaves Over $125 Million to Daughter

Joan_RiversAs I have previously discussed, Comedian Joan Rivers passed away at 81-years-old early last month after complications arose from a routine outpatient surgery. A large portion of River's estate will pass to her daughter Melissa Rivers. Melissa is expected to receive over $85 million and River's condo valued at $40 million. In addition, Cooper, Melissa's son who is 13-years-old, will also likely receive an inheritance from his grandmother's estate.

See David K. Li, Melissa Rivers to Inherit Over $125 Million of Joan River's Estate, New York Post, Oct. 23, 2014.

October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FATCA Enforcement Efforts Continue to Increase

OfficerAs I have previously discussed, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires financial institutions to report large accounts held by U.S. account holders to ensure compliance with U.S. tax laws. Commitment to enforcement has been demonstrated through the use of investigative resources to indict alleged violators. Enforcement actions continue to increase, and the IRS has begun using customs holds as another method of catching those attempting to avoid taxes through foreign accounts.

See Sean M. Golding, FBAR & FATCA Tax Attorney – IRS Will Use Customs Holds to Facilitate FATCA Compliance, PR Log, Oct. 14, 2014.

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

October 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Article on Tax Equality in a Post-Windsor World

Anthony Infanti

Anthony C. Infanti (University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Associate Dean and Professor of Law) recently published an article entitled, The Moonscape of Tax Equality: Windsor and Beyond, 108 Nw. L. Rev. 3, 1115-1135 (2014).  Provided below is the article’s abstract:

This Essay takes a critical look at the tax fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which declared Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.  The Essay first describes the path that led to the decision in Windsor.  Then, it turns to describing the ways in which the post-Windsor tax terrain may actually be worse for same-sex couples than the bleak tax landscape that they faced before that decision.  Under DOMA, same-sex couples already faced a debilitating level of uncertainty in determining how the federal tax laws applied to their relationships.  Post-Windsor, same-sex couples will see this uncertainty multiply—even after receiving guidance from the IRS on the implementation of the Windsor decision in the federal tax context.  They will have to grapple not only with lingering questions surrounding the federal tax treatment of relationships that are not recognized, but also with new questions regarding whether and how their relationships will be recognized for federal tax purposes.  Moreover, it seems that dispatching discrimination designed to erode the progress of same-sex couples toward formal equality has served only to entrench the privileged status of marriage in our federal tax laws rather than foster the recognition of a broader array of human relationships. 

October 22, 2014 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Son Accused of Shooting Parents, Sister Over Inheritance

JailA 19-year-old Oklahoma College Student has been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting that resulted in the death of his immediate family. Prosecutors believe that Alan Hruby shot and killed his parents and sister in order to inherit enough cash to pay off a debt he owed to a loan shark.

See Associated Press, Oklahoma Teen Accused of Killing Family Was Hoping to Inherit Money, KEYE TV, Oct. 15, 2014.

October 22, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Documents Faked to Steal from Dead Woman

TheftPhiladelphia resident Dorothy Kennedy died at age 79 without any heirs in 2010. Her property, including her house and car, were going to pass to the state, but instead her neighbor, Romanoff Quarlas, concocted an elaborate scheme with the help of his attorney to become the administrator of Kennedy's estate and inherit the property, according to police. The alleged plan involved the assistance of two funeral directors, a real estate agent, and a car salesman to fake documents that resulted in Quarlas becoming administrator and receiving the house and car. After four years, the police discovered the scheme and plan to charge the men with multiple criminal charges including conspiracy and theft.

See Meg Wagner, Band of 6 Philadelphia Crooks Concoct Elaborate Plot to Steal Dead Woman's House, Car: Police, New York Daily News, Oct. 18, 2014.

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

October 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Buffalo Bills Sale to Buffalo Sabres Owner

Buffalo Bills As I have previously discussed, the death of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson left many wondering who the new team owner would be. Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres, has been approved as the new owner. The sale is for the record making amount of $1.4 billion.

See Eben Novy- Williams & Mason Levinson, NFL Owners Approve Record $1.4 Billion Bills Sale to Pegulas, Bloomberg, Oct. 8, 2014.

October 19, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Las Vegas Ready for Same-Sex Weddings

CoupleAs I have previously discussed, the 9th circuit struck down the same-sex marriage bans of Nevada and Idaho earlier this month. Leading up to the decision, Las Vegas was gearing up for same-sex weddings. The city known for high wedding volumes and large variety of wedding options, including of course an Elvis impersonator officiant, was ready to facilitate legal same-sex marriages even before the ruling. The county had already changed their marriage licenses to be gender neutral, and individual chapels made sure their photographers knew how to take to perfect wedding day photos when both members of the couple are wearing white wedding dresses.

See Kimberly Pierceall, Land of Chapels Ready for Gay Weddings, The Fresno Bee, Oct. 8, 2014.

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

October 19, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

John Wayne Trademark Case Dismissed

John_WayneAs I have previously discussed, the family of movie legend John Wayne is in a trademark battle over the word “Duke.” The family's attempts to market a line of bourbon under the brand name “Duke,” have received backlash from Duke University. The family's attempt to have the trademark issue resolved in a Santa Ana, California federal district court resulted in the judge dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction. However, the family is viewing this as just one battle in a larger fight for the rights to the name “Duke.”

See Emily Foxhall, John Wayne Family Loses Round 1 to Duke University in Trademark Fight, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 2, 2014.

October 17, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)