Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Common Estate Planning Mistakes That People Need To Avoid

Plan aheadA large number of people often make estate planning mistakes.  Kyle E. Krull, an attorney involved in estate planning, wrote about his own embarrassing experience of forgetting to prepare a durable power of attorney for a loved one when he was a young captain in the U.S. Army.  Mr. Krull wants more people to become aware about the need to plan ahead.  He suggests that people update their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives every five years or whenever a major life event happens.  Not planning ahead can lead to consequences if something unexpected happens to a loved one. 

See Kyle E. Krull, Avoiding Estate Planning Gotchas, Wealth Management, May 19, 2015.

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

May 22, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

B.B. King's Daughters Want To Help With Late Musicians Memorial

Bb kingI have previously discussed the dispute between three of B.B. King's daughters and his manager and guardian Laverne Toney.  The three sisters now hope that Toney will include them in the planning in creating a memorial for the late blues legend.  The daughters were devastated when their father passed away before they ever got a chance to say a final goodbye.

See B.B. King’s Daughters Urge Manager To Let Them Help With Memorial Plans, World Entertainment News Network, May 16, 2015.  

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

 

May 19, 2015 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Guardianship, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How To Manage Digital Assets After Death Of Account Holder

ComputersaThe digital revolution has done more to advance humanity than almost any other creation. However, that same revolution creates a new problem in the form of management of digital assets after death. In the case of one couple, the surviving spouse was unable to do something simple such as requesting cable repair since her husband was the one who knew all the passwords to their online accounts. Estate planners should take heed and encourage their clients to make sure all necessary digital information to manage online assets is accessible to their heirs be it in a will or in some other secure location that will be accessible to their family. 

See Thomas Owen, Preparing For The Digital Afterlife, WGN News, May 18, 2015.

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

May 19, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Intestate Succession, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lost Principle Recovered For Deficient Wisconsin Funeral Trust

FuneralA court appointed receiver named John Wirth has spent 32 months recovering almost $12 million in settlements for a Wisconsin Funeral Trust that had at least a $21 million deficiency.  The fund which is now known as a WFT Liquidating Trust is now defunct, but it will continue to exist to pay for the funeral expenses of its remaining 7,859 investors. 

John Wirth took control of the Trust when Wisconsin finance and insurance regulators discovered that the fund had been shedding money and making highly speculative investments for several years since the Trusts creation in 1999.  Wirth was able to recover in settlements “more than the principle that was lost.”  Most of the settlement agreements remain confidential with Wirth stating that “[w]e would not have been as successful if we didn’t include those (secrecy) agreements with each of the people we settled with.”

See George Hesselberg, Case In Money-Shedding Funeral Fund Closes With Lost Principal Recovered, Wisconsin State Journal, May 15, 2015.   

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

May 18, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

When It Is A Good To Idea To Divide Cremated Remains

UrnCremation has increased in popularity over the years as more people eschew traditional burial. The trend has created issues as the lack of a grave site all can visit equally may lead to conflict when one person has all the ashes. However, this problem could be solved by a division of the ashes between loved ones of the deceased which gives each person what amounts to a graveside visitation right. This process can be done personally or, for the uncomfortable or emotionally fraught, may be done at a funeral home. While this division might sound macabre to many clients, it should be mentioned as a way of ending family disputes over possession of mortal remains.

See Ken Gallinger, Dad's Ashes Can Be Divided Up, If The Children Prefer That Option: Ethically Speaking, The Star, May 16, 2015.

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

May 18, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why Funeral Trusts Are A Good Asset Protection Strategy

Funeral-trust25-crop-600x338A good way for senior citizens to protect their property while planning for death expenses is to create an irrevocable funeral trust. This is a good asset protection strategy that is often used in crisis planning situations.  The first component of an irrevocable funeral trust is whole life insurance which is a good way to avoid probate costs and taxes. The second component is the trust itself which is a legal agreement to set aside funds for funeral costs.  Speaking to clients about funeral trusts may prevent the family of a decedent from being burdened with unexpected death expenses.   

See John D. Ferenchik, Life Insurance And The Funeral Trust, LifeHealthpro, May 12, 2015.

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

May 16, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Girlfriend Of Former CBS Chairman Seeks Legal Advice

Sumner RedstoneSydney Holland, the girlfriend of 91 year old Sumner Redstone, is reportedly seeking legal advice in anticipation of legal challenges from Mr. Redstone's children over the contents of his will. Rumors have placed Ms. Holland's expected legacy at over $100 million which represents a small part of the $6 billion estate. Based on the number of legal challenges in cases of differently aged significant others this might be a prudent move for her to make.

See Richard Johnson, Sumner Redstone’s Gal Pal ‘plotting’ What To Do When He Dies, Page Six, May 11, 2015.

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

May 14, 2015 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Battle Over Body And Estate Of Prominent Doctor Continues

Money FightComing out of east Texas is an example of the problems that may emerge from a failure to have an estate plan settled long before ones anticipated death. In this case, the remains of a prominent doctor sit in limbo as his family fights for executive rights over his body and an estate worth several million dollars. The problems started when he suffered a crippling stroke one year ago and his children began a legal battle over guardianship over their fathers person and assets. No matter how this situation resolves, it serves as a good example of why a client should always have contingency plans for incapacitation.

See Marcia Davis, Legal Battle Continues Over Late Doctor’s Remains, Estate, The Daily Tribune, May 11, 2015.

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

May 14, 2015 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Smart Planning Includes Choosing Potential Guardians For Children

ChildrenNo parent wants to think about dying and leaving their minor or incapacitated children without a guardian. However, smart planning will always look at this unhappy but potential problem and make sure that the wishes of the parents will dictate who takes care of their children rather than an unfamiliar judge. One tip included in the article is to make sure that you have a redundant list that provides more than one set of names in the event the intended guardians are unwilling or unable to take care of the children. It is also prudent practice to check with the potential guardians to make sure they are willing to take on the responsibility.

See Kyle Krull, Picking Back-Up Parents for Your Minor Children, KyleKrull.com, May 5, 2015.

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

May 12, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Consider Ethical Wills For Clients Seeking A Legacy

WillsMany clients want to leave more than just money to the next generation and seek ways to be able to express their hopes for the future. An ethical will is an excellent way to pass down a message to loved ones and state your final thoughts about the world. There is no set format for these documents as they have been as long as hundreds of pages down to a few heartfelt sentences. They also have the advantage of not imposing any binding conditions. No matter the style, advise the client to carefully think through what they want to say so they may have the peace of mind knowing their finals hopes and opinions will be clearly communicated.

See Lauren Foster, Bequeathing Smart StrategiesBarron's, Sep. 18, 2010.

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

May 12, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)