Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Robin Williams Created a Solid Estate Plan

Robin williams

Robin Williams’ tragic death sent shockwaves across the nation.  Yet, as painful as his loss was for fans, family, and friends, it seems as though Williams created a solid estate plan.

Although many wealthy entertainers fail to adequately prepare in handling the transfer of their wealth after their death, Williams used a revocable trust for the primary portion of his estate planning.  This will likely be adequate to avoid some of the complications and tax liabilities other celebrities’ families endured. 

Revocable trusts enable people to arrange for the disposition of their assets after death without any involvement from a probate court.  Additionally, the public has no right to see the trust document.  Consequently, it is likely we will never know what Williams’ trusts said.  Since trusts keep personal business out of the public eye, even family members who disagree with each other can choose to resolve disputes privately if they so choose. 

Aside from the procedural requirements, revocable trusts provide the ability to control how and when loved ones will receive assets.  Certain provisions allow advisors to act as a trustee and handle financial matters during the early part of children’s lives, and they ensure that children to not waste their inheritance. 

See Dan Caplinger, Robin Williams’ Estate Plan Spares His Heirs a Lot of Drama, Daily Finance, Aug. 14, 2014.

Special thanks to Neda Garrett (Texas attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

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

Morgan Stanley Liable to Banamex

Morgan stanley

Citigroup Inc’s Bnamex unit alleged that a unit of Morgan Stanley permitted funds from a family’s trust account to be used to repay third-party loans without its authorization.  A Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel found Morgan Stanley liable for negligence and ordered the firm pays $4.5 million to Banamex.

The trust at issue was created in 2007 with proceeds from the sale of property that a group of adult siblings and their mother inherited.  Banamex and the trust beneficiaries procured a broker at Morgan Stanley to manage their accounts the same year.  The accounts were set up in such a way that prevented the assets from being used as guarantees to pay off third-party loans taken by another family member’s account.

See Suzanne Barlyn, Morgan Stanley Must Pay $4.5 Million to Banamex: Panel, Reuters, Aug. 18, 2014.

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

August 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What Robin Williams’ Estate Plan Did Right

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams’ did not have a simple family situation, and his three marriages and children from two of them could not have made his estate planning process easy. However, Williams' seemed to have made the best of his complicated situation. While his life and accomplishments are headline news after his death, his estate planning decisions are not. At least not as much as those of other high profile celebrities', such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, and not as detailed. By relying on trusts instead of a will, Williams has ensured privacy for his family and immediate support for his children since they will not have to navigate the probate process.

See Stephen Lacey, Celebrity Tragedies Shine a Bright Light on Estate Planning, Florida Today, Aug. 18, 2014.

August 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Illicit Kidney Transplants Lure Desperate Patients

Middle east

Two years ago, Israeli citizen Ophira Dorin faced the disheartening panorama of spending years on dialysis.  At only 36 years old, Ms. Dorin had a promising job at a software company and dreams of building a family.  For five years, she managed her kidney disease, however, it slowly choked her endurance.  Unable to find a matching donor, she encountered a daily battle against nausea, exhaustion and depression. 

Yet, hope was not lost.  Ms. Dorin’s mother began making inquiries around the hospital when she learned about the global organ trade.  She met Boris Volfman and Yaacov Dayan, who maintain they operate legally and do not directly help clients buy organs, but for years, they have pocketed enormous sums for arranging overseas transplants for patients who are paired with foreign donors. 

While no reliable data exists, experts say thousands of patients most likely receive illicit transplants abroad each year.  An analysis of major trafficking cases since 2000 suggests that Israelis have placed a disproportionate role due to the religious strictures regarding death and desecration that have kept deceased donation rates so low patients feel they must turn elsewhere.  “When someone needs an organ transplant, they’ll do everything in their power.”

See Kevin Sack, Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desperate Kidney Patients to Costa Rica, The New York Times, Aug. 17, 2014.

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

Roy M. Adams, RIP

Roy M. AdamsI am saddened to report the recent death of Roy M. Adams, whose many achievements in the estate planning field made him a respected colleague and mentor to many.  Roy frequently spoke at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning and taught at the Cannon Financial Institute, among many other accomplishments. He will be greatly missed.

 

See Charles A. Redd, Industry Mourns Roy M. Adams, Wealth Management, Aug. 18, 2014.

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

August 19, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Casey Kasem to be Buried in Norway

Kasem2

According to reports in the Norwegian Newspaper VG, the body of Casey Kasem is to be moved to Oslo. 

Kasem’s body was moved by his wife, Jean, to Ontario after he died in Washington State this June.  Kasem’s children from a previous marriage contend that their stepmother is keeping his remains from them. 

Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, has accused Mrs. Kasem of abusing her father prior to his death.  Kerri wants a full autopsy to be performed on the body.  Kerri’s spokesman stated that it is not clear what Jean Kasem plans to do with her husband’s remains, “We just know that she wants to keep Casey away from family and friends and by the looks of it, [is] hiding from law enforcement.” 

If Kasem is laid to rest in Norway, it will be the end of a journey for a great man.

See Casey Kasem to be Buried in Oslo, Says Norway Press, BBC News, Aug. 15, 2014.

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

August 18, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clippers Sale Contract About More Than Money

ContractAs I have previously discussed, Steve Ballmer is now the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The $2 billion agreement between Ballmer and Shelly Sterling included more than the mere sale of a basketball franchise. The contract included some interesting perks for Shelly Sterling, including the titles "Clippers Number One Fan" and "owner emeritus," and three championship rings in the event the Clippers win an NBA championship. Shelly will likely be at many Clippers games sitting court side, since under the contract she gets two court side seats and 10 additional tickets to each game, six parking spaces, and 12 VIP passes.

See Bryan Cronan, Shelly Sterling Contract Ranks Among the Weirdest in Pro Sports, The Christian Science Monitor, August 14, 2014.

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

August 17, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Widow of Casey Kasem Planning Burial in Norway

NorwayAs I have previously discussed, news that Casey Kasem’s body may be headed to Norway was released last week. Now, an article in a Norwegian newspaper and the private investigator for Kerri Kasem, Casey Kasem’s daughter, have confirmed that Kasem will be buried in Norway despite his wishes to be buried in Forest Lawn. It is unknown where in Oslo, Norway Kasem will be buried or why Jean Kasem, Kasem’s widow, chose the location. Kerri has alleged that Jean abused Kasem, but the foreign burial may create jurisdictional issues for building an elder abuse case.

See Tim Appelo, Casey Kasem to be Buried in Norway, Hollywood Reporter, Aug. 14, 2014.

Special thanks to Shaneesa Ashford for bringing this article to my attention.

August 16, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Death Event Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Amazon At Literary Fault

George orwell

George Orwell’s literary executor is accusing Amazon.com of doublespeak.  In a letter published in the New York Times, Bill Hamilton criticized Amazon of “turning the facts inside out” by alleging that the British author urged publishers in the 1930s to stop the rise of paperbacks. 

Amazon and Hachette Book Group have been entangled in a stalemate over terms for e-book sales, with Amazon removing pre-order buttons, reducing discounts and slowing deliveries for most Hachette releases.  Amazon cited a 1936 Orwell essay in an effort to liken publishers’ objections to concerns about paperbacks in the 1930s.  Orwell wrote, “The Penguin Books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if the other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them.” 

Famous for “1984” and “Animal Farm,” Amazon stated “George Orwell was suggesting collusion,” an allusion to the 2012 government lawsuit alleging that Apple and five publishers had conspired to raise e-book prices.  

Yet, Hamilton and others say Amazon quoted Orwell out of context, and that his words were meant ironically.  Orwell had been admiring new releases from Penguin, which had recently launched its famous line of paperbacks.

See Hillel Italie, Orwell Rep Accuses Amazon of Doublespeak, Philly.com, Aug. 14, 2014.

August 15, 2014 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clippers Have New Owner

BasketballAs I have previously discussed, the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers has gone anything but smoothly. However, after Donald Sterling’s failed attempts to block the sale, the agreement made back in May between Shelly Sterling and Steve Ballmer has gone through. The former CEO of Microsoft is now the new and proud owner of the NBA franchise.

See Dana Farrington, LA Clippers Sold to Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer, NPR, Aug. 12, 2014.

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

August 14, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)