Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Book On Texas Jury Charges For Family And Probate Law

ArticleThe 2016 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges—Family & Probate has recently been published by Texas Bar Books and is now available. Provided below is a description of the book:

The assistance that this excellent resource offers extends beyond providing definitions, instructions, and questions useful for drafting charges in your jury trials. Many practitioners find it very helpful in preparing findings of fact and conclusions of law in nonjury cases and in identifying issues and evidence requirements in family and probate cases generally. Comments provide a ready reference to the source of each charge and instructions on when to use it.

Texas Pattern Jury Charges—Family & Probate digital product contains the entire book as a hyperlinked and word-searchable PDF file. All charge language is included as MS Word files linked to the comments for quick retrieval and assembly of jury charges. Texas and federal case citations are linked to the online version of the Casemaker Web Library. Texas and federal statute citations are linked to the main code section cited via Casemaker online.

April 25, 2016 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 22, 2016

CLE On Advanced Planning And Probate In Texas For 2016

CLEThe State Bar of Texas is hosting a CLE entitled, Advanced Estate Planning And Probate 2016, which will take place on June 22-24, 2016 at the La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. Provided below is a description of the event:

Many issues that arise in a practice involving wills, trusts, and estates fall somewhere in between the basic “mom and pop” will or independent estate administration and the more sophisticated matters such as GRIT’s and GRAT’s. The goal of the intermediate course is to offer practitioners practical advice on either less-routine matters or those which may be beyond the basics but not as challenging as topics covered by the advanced course. This course will teach you how to dissect a will, so that you will be able to recognize (and avoid) the deficiencies of the Office Max or Legal Zoom form wills. For those with a probate practice, the course will cover from head to toe the still very common heirship proceeding, and will also address the sometimes difficult task of collecting assets in the administration of estates, including one talk devoted specifically to handling real estate in planning and administrations. For those whose practice is more geared to estate planning, the course will address marital property agreements and dealing with international assets. In addition, the course will address the ever-growing area of special needs planning and incapacity planning. This course is designed to be both a “stand-alone” training ground to propel your practice to the next level and also an ideal complement and primer to the Advanced Course which follows it.

April 22, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Financial Records That Should Be Saved Or Destroyed

DocumentsThis article discusses what kinds of financial records people should keep or discard.  There are certain documents that should be kept permanently and in their original form “including marriage, birth, adoption, citizenship and death certificates; diplomas and transcripts; veteran’s papers; health records (immunizations and surgeries); Social Security cards.” People should also keep and update important estate planning documents.  Certain documents that will only need to be kept for a certain period of time can be stored digitally online.  It is a good idea to purchase an accordion file folder with tabs for each month to deal with documents with term dates that need to be replaced regularly.  The documents that should be shredded are those that are either not important for keeping or can be easily retrievable by some other means. 

See Eleanor Blayney, What Financial Records to Keep – and What to Shred, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2016.

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

April 9, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New Article On Probate Lending

Pen and PaperAndrea Cann Chandrasekher (Professor, University of California, Davis - School of Law) & David Horton (Professor, University of California, Davis - School of Law) recently published an article entitled, Probate Lending, 126 Yale L. J. (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

One of the most controversial trends in American civil justice is litigation lending: corporations paying plaintiffs a lump sum in return for a stake in a pending lawsuit. Although causes of action were once inalienable, many jurisdictions have abandoned this bright-line prohibition, opening the door for businesses to invest in other parties’ claims. Although some courts, lawmakers, and scholars applaud litigation lenders for helping wronged individuals obtain relief, others accuse them of exploiting low-income plaintiffs and increasing court congestion.

This Article reveals that a similar phenomenon has quietly emerged in the probate system. Recently, companies have started to make “probate loans”: advancing funds to heirs or beneficiaries to be repaid from their interest in a court-supervised estate. The Article sheds light on this shadowy practice by empirically analyzing 594 probate administrations from a major California county. It finds that probate lending is a lucrative business. Nevertheless, it also concludes that some of the strongest rationales for banning the sale of causes of action — concerns about abusive transactions and the corrosive effect of outsiders on judicial processes — apply to transfers of inheritance rights. The Article thus suggests several ways to regulate this nascent industry.

April 5, 2016 in Articles, Estate Administration, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Article On Probate-Error Costs

ArticlePictureMark Glover (Professor, University of Wyoming College of Law) recently published an article entitled, Probate-Error Costs, 49 Conn. L. Rev. (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

This Article uses decision theory to more fully explain both why the conventional law focuses on minimizing the risk of false-positive outcomes and why the modern law should be crafted to minimize total probate-error risk. Decision theory suggests that, to identify the proper goal of a decision-making process, one must compare the error costs of false-positive outcomes and false-negative outcomes. If error costs are symmetric, then the decision-making process should be designed to minimize the total risk of error. However, if error costs are asymmetric, then the decision-making process should be designed to minimize the more costly type of error.

This Article is the first to systematically analyze relative error costs within the context of will authentication. Specifically, it argues that probate-error costs were previously asymmetric, with false-positive outcomes being more costly than false-negative outcomes, and it therefore explains why the conventional law minimizes the risk of false-positive outcomes at the expense of an increased risk of false-negative outcomes. Furthermore, the Article argues that probate-error costs have changed so that they are now more symmetric. The recognition of this shift bolsters the reform movement’s argument that the goal of will authentication should be increased accuracy.

April 1, 2016 in Articles, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

CLE On Probate Bonds And What You Need To Know

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Probate Bonds: What You Need to Know, which will take place on March, 16, 2016, from 1:00-2:30PM Eastern, Online. Provided below are some details about the event:

Probate bond claims range from assets missing from an estate to beneficiaries and creditors who are upset to fiduciaries who simply have not accounted for estate assets. Of course, it is up to the surety to save the day. Based on the second edition of The Law of Probate Bonds, this webinar is an essential program for both entry-level and experienced attorneys and claim professionals, as well as for general practitioners who want to understand this complex area of law.

March 3, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Article On The Problems With Antemortem Probate

Pen and PaperJacob Arthur Bradley recently published an article entitled, Antemortem Probate is a Bad Idea: Why Antemortem Probate Will Not Work and Should Not Work. Provided below is an abstract of the article:

Antemortem probate is a devise by which normal people with rational sensibilities may be prejudiced. Under the contest model used by Ohio, Arkansas, Alaska, North Dakota, and now North Carolina potential beneficiaries under the will and intestate succession must be notified, but the circumstances under which they are notified can leave normal families in the cold. But the contest model is not even the most favorable model for undue influencers. The other models streamline the probate process even more,11 multiplying the potential that the rightful heirs will be left with nothing.

This article is an attempt to neutralize the enthusiasm for antemortem probate as a means to solve the problems endemic in traditional probate law. While proponents claim that antemortem probate is a tool to carry out the testator’s true intent, this article posits that the statutes are more fairly characterized as a tools that complicate the system and mask the testator’s true intent. All proposed versions of ante-mortem probate have practical, constitutional, and policy issues that cannot be overcome.

February 15, 2016 in Articles, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2016

CLE On Probate Bonds And What You Need To Know

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Probate Bonds: What You Need to Know, which will take place on March, 16, 2016, from 1:00-2:30PM Eastern, Online. Provided below are some details about the event:

Probate bond claims range from assets missing from an estate to beneficiaries and creditors who are upset to fiduciaries who simply have not accounted for estate assets. Of course, it is up to the surety to save the day. Based on the second edition of The Law of Probate Bonds, this webinar is an essential program for both entry-level and experienced attorneys and claim professionals, as well as for general practitioners who want to understand this complex area of law.

February 12, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 5, 2016

New Book On Jury Charges For Texas Family Law And Probate

ArticleThe 2016 edition of Texas Pattern Jury Charges—Family & Probate has recently been published by Texas Bar Books and is now available. Provided below is a description of the book:

The assistance that this excellent resource offers extends beyond providing definitions, instructions, and questions useful for drafting charges in your jury trials. Many practitioners find it very helpful in preparing findings of fact and conclusions of law in nonjury cases and in identifying issues and evidence requirements in family and probate cases generally. Comments provide a ready reference to the source of each charge and instructions on when to use it.

Texas Pattern Jury Charges—Family & Probate digital product contains the entire book as a hyperlinked and word-searchable PDF file. All charge language is included as MS Word files linked to the comments for quick retrieval and assembly of jury charges. Texas and federal case citations are linked to the online version of the Casemaker Web Library. Texas and federal statute citations are linked to the main code section cited via Casemaker online.

 

February 5, 2016 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Unhappiness With Form 8971 Filing Requirements

Charitable trustThe IRS has recently issued final Form 8971 as well as instructions for a requirement that will now be placed on the executors of estates filing a Form 706. “The Form requires a schedule for each beneficiary which lists the assets received by the beneficiary and the estate tax value of those assets.” The purpose is to allow the beneficiary to be able to calculate the gain or loss on any assets they received. This new form will have to be filed within 30 days of the Form 706 filing. The process of filing a Form 8971 might be complex and difficult for practitioners. Some may argue for Congress to introduce an amendment to permit the deferment of the due date for the Form 8971 “until either actual distribution is made to the beneficiary or the assets to be distributed to the beneficiary can be precisely identified.”

See Charles Rubin, Form 8971 Filing Unhappiness, Rubin On Tax, February 3, 2016.

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

February 4, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)