Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

Aretha2Aretha Franklin, the famed American singer known as the 'Queen of Soul,' has died at the age of 76 in her home in Detroit, Michigan. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer according to her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

Ms. Franklin had unrivaled musical career, with 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits, as well as 18 Grammy wins. She was awarded the lifetime achievement award 1994 and was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She sang at President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009 as well as at both the Democratic National Convention and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2005, the nation's highest civilian award.

Aretha Franklin is survived by her four sons, Clarence, Eddie, and KeCalf Franklin and Ted White, Jr., as well as grandchildren.

See Jon Pareles, Aretha Franklin, 'Queen of Soul,' Dies at 76, New York Times, August 16, 2018.


August 16, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Source says Queen of Soul is in Hospice Care

ArethaA source close to 76-year-old singer Aretha Franklin states that she as entered hospice care. In February of 2017, Franklin announced that she would stop touring, but she continued to book concerts. Earlier this year, she canceled a pair of performances, including at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, on doctor's orders. She has been very private about her health, with Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman told CNN: "She has a great family, she's surrounded by love, and the world is sending prayers. All further announcements will be made by her family. We just want to send love and prayers."

Aretha Franklin spouts an impressive 6-decade career, starting out as a gospel singer in Detroit at the church where her father was the minister By 1968 she was topping the charts with songs such as "Respect," "Chain of Fools" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987 -- a year before the Beatles were inducted. She also has 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins.

See Joe Marcelle, Source: Aretha Franklin is in Hospice, CNN, August 14, 2018.


August 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Escape From the Mayo Clinic: Parents Break Teen Out of World-Famous Hospital

MayoIn late February of 2018, the parents of 18-year-old high school senior Alyssa Gilderhus, Duane and Amber Engebretson, decided to break her out of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where she had been a patient for 2 months. Alyssa had had a brain aneurysm on Christmas Day and fortunately neurosurgeons saved her life. But Alyssa and her parents became disgruntled with the continued care and their requests to be transferred to another facility were ignored.

So the parents devised a plan to escape, but it had to maneuvered just right because there were now 2 nurses on the door of their daughter's hospital room acting as guards. Pretending the great-grandparent was at the entrance and wanted to see Alyssa, they managed to leave, and their younger daughter Allie filmed the experience.

The next day, after an eventful night of running from the cops and the medical facility that they learned were trying to get the county courts to grant guardianship of Alyssa to, Duane and Amber Engebretson brought her to a non-Mayo owned hospital in South Dakota. The doctors there prescribed her medications and deemed her mentally fit, and discharged them to care for her at home.

See Elizabeth Cohen & John Bonifield, Escape From the Mayo Clinic: Parents Break Teen Out of World-Famous Hospital, CNN, August 13, 2018.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

August 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CLE on 2018 Fall Tax Meeting

CLEThe Section of Real Property, Trusts, and Estates Law and the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association is holding a conference entitled, 2018 Fall Tax Meeting, on October 4, 2018 - October 6, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. Provided below is a description of the event:

Atlanta, GA welcomes the ABA Section of Taxation and the Trust and Estate Law Division of the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law to the 2018 Fall Tax Meeting, October 4-6, 2018!

Join us and take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the country’s leading attorneys and government officials to discuss the latest federal tax policies, initiatives, regulations, legislative forecasts and planning ideas. In addition, you will have the opportunity to earn valuable CLE and ethics credits and network with Tax Section and Trust and Estate Division members and government guests. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta will serve as the host hotel.

August 14, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

IRS Issues Private Letter Ruling Regarding QDOT Election Extension Granted

QdotOn July 27, 2018 the Internal Revenue Service issued a private letter ruling regarding QDOT election extension:

Decedent passed away leaving Surviving Spouse, a non-U.S. citizen, as the beneficiary of Decedent's estate. Surviving Spouse was the trustee of Trust 1 and executor of Decedent's estate. A provision in Trust 1 stated that the trustee was to distribute outright the trust estate to Surviving Spouse. Surviving Spouse was advised by an accountant and a law firm that to claim a marital deduction for the estate, a Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT) was required. Trust 2 was created with a QDOT election and the estate claimed a marital deduction on Form 706. After Form 706 was filed, additional estate assets were discovered. Decedent's estate requested an extension of time under Sec. 301.9100-3 to make a QDOT election under Sec. 2056A(d) on the subsequently discovered assets.

Under Sec. 2001(a) there is a tax imposed on the transfer of a taxable estate of every U.S. decedent citizen or resident. The value of the taxable estate is determined by deducting amounts passed to the surviving spouse from the gross estate. Sec. 2056(a). Section 2056(d)(1)(A) states that if a surviving spouse is not a U.S. citizen, no deduction is allowed under Sec. 2056(a). Section 2056(d)(2)(A) provides that property passing to a surviving spouse in a QDOT is exempted from treatment under Sec. 2056(d)(1)(A). For a trust to qualify as a QDOT, three requirements must be met. First, the trust instrument must have at least one U.S. citizen or domestic corporation trustee with the right to withhold estate tax from principal distributions of the trust. Second, the trust must meet the Sec. 2056A(b) tax collection requirements. The third requirement is that the executor must elect QDOT treatment. Regulation 301.9100-3 allows for an extension of time to be granted if the taxpayer acted reasonably and in good faith and the relief granted will not prejudice the interests of the government. Regulation 301.9100-3(b)(1)(v) states that a taxpayer will be deemed to have acted reasonably and in good faith if the taxpayer reasonably relied on a qualified tax professional who failed to make, or advise the taxpayer to make, the election. Here, the Service determined that Surviving Spouse met the requirements of Sec. 301.9100-3 and granted an extension of 120 days from the date of the letter to make a QDOT election on the subsequently discovered assets.

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

August 11, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Father Discovered he was Mourning at the Wrong Grave for his Daughter for 30 Years

GravestoneVictoria Salt died two days after she was born in July, 1988, in the United Kingdom and her father George visited her grave twice a year for 30 years. He was shocked to discover the grave that he believed was his daughter's was actually empty and the gravestone moved.

The gravestone had been moved to a public grave that contained Salt's daughter as well as the remains of 16 other people. When the gravestone was erected in the 1980s, it was apparently moved to a vacant spot but employees discovered this year it was in the wrong area and moved it back.

"I just wasn't told. I feel so let down," Salt said. "When you go to a grave, you sit and talk and say what your troubles are but the annoying thing is you're talking to a piece of ground where she isn't there."

See Kathleen Joyce, Dad Devastated to Discover he was Grieving for Daughter at the Wrong Grave for 30 Years, Fox News, August 8, 2018.

Special thanks to Jay Brinker (Cincinnati Estate Planning Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.


August 10, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Man Accused of Killing Family Wants His Trust Fund

Nathan-carmanA 24-year-old Vermont man has been accused of killing his grandfather in 2013 and even his own mother in 2016, but has not officially been charged in the crimes. It is his aunt that has accuse him of the killings, and also happens to be the trustee of the trust fund his grandfather established for him.

Nathan Carman has requested that he be allowed immediate access to $150,000 of the Nathan Carman Family Trust, and that his aunt, Valerie Santilli, be removed as trustee. He said he needed the money for legal representation to defend himself against a lawsuit in New Hampshire filed by Santilli and her two sisters. As of right now Carman is representing himself in the lawsuit, but has said that, “I need to hire an attorney to defend me in New Hampshire to ensure a just outcome." Santilli’s attorney, Dan Small, said Carman already has enough money to hire a lawyer and refuses to provide any details of his finances.

Carman's grandfather,b John Chakalos, 87, left an estate now worth more than $29 million to his four daughters, and $7 million of that could go to Carman.

See Associated Press, Man Accused of Killing Family Wants His Trust Fund, The New York Post, August 7, 2018.

Special thanks to Deborah Matthews (Virginia Estate Planning Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 9, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

ACTEC 2018 Summer Meeting Musings

ActecSteve R. Akers wrote a summary of his observations while attending the 2018 ACTEC Summer Meeting. Provided below is his introduction to the material:

Some of my observations from the 2018 ACTEC Summer Meeting Seminars in Chicago, Illinois on June 20-23, 2018 are summarized below. (At the request of ACTEC, the summary does not include any discussions at Committee meetings.) This summary does not contain all of the excellent information from the seminars, but merely selected issues. The summary is based on the presentations at the seminars, but the specific speakers making particular comments typically are not identified.
Items 1-34 come from the “Stand Alone” program titled “The Life Cycle of a Business Entity.” Items 35-43 come from a seminar titled “Are The Kids Alright? Modern and Practical Challenges of Minors in Estates and Trusts.”

August 4, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Prince's Estate Files Lawsuit Over Cybersquatting of Prince.com

PrinceThe recording artist and actor Prince died at 57 of a fentanyl overdose in 2016 at his Paisley Park recording studio in suburban Minneapolis. His estate also owns three trademarks under the Prince name, which the estate claims is being trampled on by Domain Capital, a domain broker out of Englewood, New Jersey, who owns the rights to the domain name Prince.com.

The suit is being brought under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. Passed in 1999, the law created a federal cause of action if a domain name was registered, trafficked or used in a way that infringed upon a trademark or personal name. Plaintiffs requested immediate and permanent injunctive relief, transfer of the domain, damages and attorneys’ fees.

According to the complaint, the company “has been ordered to transfer domain names under the Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy for the registration and use of the domain names in bad faith.” Domain Capital provides a lease-back program where an owner of a domain sells the digital property to the company and the company then leases it back to the original owner for continued use, keeping the identity of the leasee private.

See Jason Tashea, Prince's Estate Files Lawsuit Over Cybersquatting of Prince.com, ABA Journal, July 30, 2018.


August 3, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Technology, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols' Emotional Plea to Family After Dementia Diagnosis

UhuraThe actress that played Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols, is in a legal battle with her family after her dementia diagnosis and supposed memory loss. She has had a friend release a video of her pleading her son, Kyle, to allow her to continue working and attending Star Trek conventions.

In May, an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition from her son to sign over control of Nichelle’s assets to four temporary conservators due to her memory loss. There is a hearing scheduled later this month to determine if the actress should be assigned a permanent guardian. The son's lawyer, Jeffrey Marvan, told the judge he was concerned Nichelle’s manager, Gilbert Bell, had deeded one of Nichol's two $2 million properties to himself. There was also a concern that $259,000 from attending Star Trek conventions had disappeared from the actress's accounts.

See Laura Martina, Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols' Emotional Plea to Family Amid Court Battle to Stop her Working After Dementia Diagnosis, Mirror, August 2, 2018.


August 2, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)