Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Article on Successions and Title Clearing Manual 2017

JasonElizabeth Ruth Carter recently posted an Article entitled, Successions and Title Clearing Manual 2017, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

These materials have been prepared as a guide for LSU clinic students and others providing pro-bono legal assistance in Louisiana. The materials give an overview of the probate process in Louisiana, common successions issues, and strategies for concentrating title.

October 14, 2017 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hugh Hefner, Role Model? He Was When It Came To Estate Planning

151207113336-hugh-hefner-playboy-playmates-exlarge-169When listing potential role models, few people would consider Hugh Hefner as a top contender for a spot. But, as is often the case, context can change everything. Though normally appearing surrounded by buxom blondes and pictured in a bathrobe and captain’s hat, Hefner’s laissez-faire persona worked to obscure his estate-planning acumen. Hefner’s business and real estate deals left him with a rent-free residence, a million-dollar-a-year allowance, and a final estate plan that seems impenetrable to contest. Though he appeared to be the quintessential playboy, Hefner’s acuity left his heirs with a solid inheritance through a meticulously designed estate plan.

See Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Hugh Hefner, Role Model? He Was When It Came To Estate Planning, Forbes, October 9, 2017.

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

October 13, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Wrong Estate Executor Can Make Family Drama Worse, As Jerry Garcia’s Heirs Discovered

Jerry-garcia1Jerry Garcia, legendary member of the Grateful Dead, passed away in 1995 at the age of 53. His personal life may be politely described as hectic, as it oversaw the entrance three wives, four daughters, and a stepdaughter. This wide range of personal interests held by Garcia’s beneficiaries was initially problematic for his estate’s administration and further exacerbated by the assignment of Debra Koons, his third wife, as executrix of the estate. While Koons could have been even-handed in her administration, banning Garcia’s first two wives from his funeral was a clear indication that difficult times were ahead.

While Garcia’s will was never challenged, beneficiaries objected to a number of decision made by Koons and the attorney appointed as co-executor; years of legal struggles ensued. While family executors can work well for small, simple estates, it may be better to seek out corporate executors for larger and more complicated estates. These generally unbiased third-party executors tend to be financially savvy and are better able to handle the administration of convoluted estates.

See Russell J. Fishkind, The Wrong Estate Executor Can Make Family Drama Worse, As Jerry Garcia’s Heirs Discovered, Saul, Ewing, Arnstein, & Lehr, October 5, 2017.

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

October 12, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Article on Probate and Succession Administration: Selected Issues

MaybepokemonElizabeth Ruth Carter recently posted an Article entitled, Probate and Succession Administration: Selected Issues, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

These materials have been prepared as part of LSU's annual Estate Planning Seminar. The materials consider complicated and unique issues that sometimes arise during estate administration including missing heirs, underage heirs, insolvent estates, and broken title.

October 11, 2017 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate of Michael Jackson v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue: Tax Court Allows Testimony of Expert who Gave False Information

Famous-liarIn a tax proceeding, the United States Tax Court denied the Estate of Michael Jackson’s motion asking the court to exclude testimony by a government expert witness. The expert had previously provided false information to the court regarding whether he had written a validation report for the IRS’ Examination Division relating to the third-party’s taxpayer audit. Jackson’s estate made numerous objections to the expert’s testimony including a request that it be excluded based on the witness’s multiple lies and deceit. The court denied the motion.

See Quinton Weinstein, Estate of Michael Jackson v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue: Tax Court Allows Testimony of Expert who Gave False Information, Wealth Strategies Journal, October 2, 2017.

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

October 11, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Carrie Fisher’s Hand Annotated Star Wars Scripts Reveal How She Worked with Harrison Ford to Change the Words and Create More Steamy Dialogue

Princess-Leia-behind-the-scenes-starwars17Carrie Fisher’s working script, which she used and notated for her role as Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, will soon be offered up for auction. The script has over 1,000 handwritten notes that show Fisher’s tweaks and personal additions to the film’s dialogue. These personal touches are especially noticeable in a number of scenes with Hans Solo, Harrison Ford’s character in the franchise. The document is part of a larger sale of Fisher’s assets, and is expected to sell for at least $50,000.

See Sara Malm, Carrie Fisher’s Hand Annotated Star Wars Scripts Reveal How She Worked with Harrison Ford to Change the Words and Create More Steamy Dialogue, DailyMail.com, October 5, 2017.

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

 

October 10, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Article on Note: Increasing Legal Support for End-of-Life Planning in the United States: How Probate and Family Attorneys Can Contribute to a Culture of Dignified Dying

A115_End_of_Life_Care_t580Sarah E. Ryan recently published an Article entitled, Note: Increasing Legal Support for End-of-Life Planning in the United States: How Probate and Family Attorneys Can Contribute to a Culture of Dignified Dying, 30 Quinnipiac Prob. L.J. 335 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Probate and family practice attorneys possess both the specialized knowledge to move EOL conversations forward and the skills to advocate for their clients.  In The U.S., guardians, like members of the bar have a crucial role to play in the evolution of EOL communication. Unfortunately, the work of family practice and probate attorneys is often removed from healthcare settings. Though some probate attorneys provide emergency bedside service, probate law and family work typically occurs in attorneys' offices, not in clinics or hospitals. Thus, there is a gulf between the EOL planning that occurs in healthcare settings and in legal practice settings. More generally, there are few attorneys on important national boards or in televised portrayals of family health decision-making. Because lawyers have been absent from certain policymaking forums and cultural representations of EOL care, it is likely that a sizeable segment of the U.S. population is under-informed about how probate and family attorneys can help them achieve more control over their EOL care. Affected patients deserve to know what attorneys can do for them.

Accordingly, this Note explores opportunities for interactions between the U.S. healthcare and legal systems. Drawing upon recent research, this Note suggests that patients can obtain a therapeutic benefit from EOL planning. The Note proceeds in five parts. First, the Note makes a case for the benefits that probate and family attorneys afford to healthy, ill, and dying clients. Second, the Note provides a brief legal history of EOL planning in the U. S. Third, the Note describes theories of pro-social communication and communication systems. Together, these theories suggest that it is possible to circulate healthcare planning information via the healthcare system in order to increase use of EOL planning. Fourth, the Note points to the example of La Crosse, Wisconsin as evidence that a holistic system for EOL planning is possible. Fifth, and finally, the Note provides recommendations for how attorneys can contribute to EOL planning throughout the U. S.

October 9, 2017 in Articles, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hefner Timed Death to Launch Playboy Reboot for Modern Era

Hef_bunniesAmidst the rabble of speculation and rumor, time is clearing away the idle speculation that Hugh Hefner died penniless and without a solid estate plan. Apparently, the Playboy mogul has had an ironclad succession plan in place for over 25 years. In 1991, he transferred the Playboy mansion, his art collection, clubs, intellectual property, and the company into a trust. Hefner later began transferring Playboy shares purchased from other stakeholders into a smaller, separate trust. During his life, the trustees acted as a de facto board of directors for Playboy and sought fit to grant Hefner the lifetime title of Editor in Chief and a healthy $1 million-per-year stipend. While the fate of the Playboy brand is uncertain under Hefner’s son, Cooper, there remains a substantial empire to manage.

See Scott Martin, Hefner Timed Death to Launch Playboy Reboot for Modern Era, Wealth Advisor, October 1, 2017.

Special thanks to Mark J. Bade for bringing this article to my attention.

October 9, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Article on Who is Entitled to Death or Survivor Benefits from an ERISA Plan or from a Federal Employee Benefit Plan?

090114-erisas-bad-tasteAlbert Feuer recently posted an Article entitled, Who is Entitled to Death or Survivor Benefits from an ERISA Plan or from a Federal Employee Benefit Plan?, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Questions are often raised about who is entitled to death or survivor benefits from a federally regulated employee benefit plan, whether for federal employees, or for private employees by a plan governed by ERISA. The following principles generally resolve these questions:

• Federal law does not lightly disregard a participant's intended designation.
• Designations may be effective even if there are ambiguities about the benefit shares of each beneficiary and/or the form of payment.
• An effective designation must be authenticated, usually, but not always with a written symbol, which is often called the participant's signature. The signature may not need to be the participant’s name or even be legible. 
• The federal (Phoenix) substantial compliance doctrine is generally applicable to plan procedures and forms that are consistent with plan designation terms. Such compliance creates benefit entitlements enforceable against the plan.
• The Amara equitable relief principles are generally applicable to plan procedures or forms that are inconsistent with plan designation terms. Such principles may create benefit entitlements enforceable against the plan administrators using those unauthorized procedures or forms.

These principles, that focus on plan terms, participant actions, and plan administrator actions, help assure that a participant's wishes are fulfilled if the participant acts consistent with what he or she reasonably believes are plan terms, without creating undue burdens on plan administrators.

October 8, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

CLE on Estate Administration Boot Camp

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Estate Administration Boot Camp, which will take place on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, at the Courtyard by Marriott San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, CA. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Everything You Need to Know About Effectively Administering an Estate

Are you fully confident in your knowledge of the latest court and tax rules and the most effective transfer tools to ensure each client's estate is laid to rest according to the decedent's wishes, with minimal tax burden? This comprehensive 2-day instruction will give you all the skills you need to administer estates that include trusts and/or business interests without a hitch. Register today!

  • Don't miss any crucial notice and filing requirements when opening the estate - learn what must be done right away.
  • Get helpful forms and checklists that will help you in administration.
  • Understand how income and estate tax deductions interact and find the most advantageous way to structure the tax returns
  • Learn how to use disclaimers more effectively.
  • Clarify what must be done when the trust becomes irrevocable.
  • Protect your professional reputation with a practical legal ethics guide focused on trusts and estates practice.
  • Prevent mistakes in final petition and ensure each estate is closed quickly and without disputes.

Who Should Attend

This two-day, basic level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants/CPAs
  • Certified Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers/Administrators/Managers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

DAY 1

  • Forms of Administration and When They are Used
  • First Steps and Notices, Executor Duties, Opening the Estate
  • Marshalling the Assets
  • Handling Debts and Claims Against the Estate
  • Spouse Elective Share and Disclaimers
  • Key Intestacy Laws You Must Know
  • Trusts That Affect Estate Administration

DAY 2

  • Income Tax Returns
  • Handling Distributions
  • Legal Ethics in Estate Administration
  • Estate and Trust Contests, Disputes, Challenges
  • Business Interests in Estate Administration
  • Portability and Estate, Gift, GST Taxes
  • Closing the Estate and Final Accounting

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 12.00 *

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 1.20

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 14.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

October 7, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Intestate Succession, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)