Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lady Lucan’s Revenge from Beyond the Grave: Wife of Infamous Missing Nanny Murderer Leaves Her Multi-million Pound Fortune to a Homeless Charity After Cutting Her Three Children out of Her Will

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-23/0a570383-6d8f-453b-8e54-b17966f95cc0.pngLady Lucan, wife of the infamous nanny-killer Lord Lucan, took her life last September. Lucan apparently believed she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease after noticing a tremor in her hand. Not wanting to face the challenges of the illness, of which there is no evidence Lucan had it, she took a lethal dose of alcohol and barbiturates. In her will, she left all of her assets to Shelter, a charitable organization dedicated to helping the homeless. Lucan’s three children were completely left out from inheriting any portion of their mother’s sizable estate. Lucan and her three children had not spoken in many years and she had never met any of her grandchildren, so their exclusion as beneficiaries is not overly surprising.  

See Katie French, Lady Lucan’s Revenge from Beyond the Grave: Wife of Infamous Missing Nanny Murderer Leaves Her Multi-million Pound Fortune to a Homeless Charity After Cutting Her Three Children out of Her Will, Daily Mail.com, January 13, 2018.

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

January 23, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Connie Sawyer, Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress Dies at 105

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-23/ac4953dd-6856-4906-b71a-e21a4de1e45a.pngConnie Sawyer, Hollywood's oldest working actress, died today at the age of 105. She starred in movies like Dumb and DumberPineapple Express, and When Harry Met Sally. She also played in a number of TV series over the span of six decades, including: The Andy Griffith Show, SeinfeldStarsky & Hutch, and Mary Tyler Moore. She died in her Woodlands Hill home. While the cause of death is unknown, it is presumed to be related to age. 

See Connie Sawyer, Hollywood's Oldest Working Actress Dies at 105, TMZ, January 22, 2108.

 

January 22, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking Down the Totten Trust

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-22/0e71aa32-fc47-464a-a286-a4878d4c1735.pngThe Totten trust became a legally valid estate planning tool in 1904, when the New York Court of Appeals decided the Matter of Totten case. Since then, the use of these trusts has become much more commonplace. A Totten trust allows a settlor to move assets to a bank account, to which they retain unfettered access while living, so a named beneficiary can receive these assets upon the settlor's passing. These trusts are also revocable, which allows the settlor to make changes to the previously designated beneficiaries as necessary. A benefit to using this type of trust is that funds transferred to the bank account avoid the probate process, which can be timely and costly.

See Inna Fershteyn, Esq., Breaking Down the Totten Trust, BrooklynTrustandWill, January 14, 2018.

Special thanks to Alexander Evelson for bringing this article to my attention.

January 22, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Is New Code Section 199A Really Going to Turn Us All into Independent Contractors?

Independent_contractors_1_.556ccbfd149a6Shu-Yi Oei & Diane M. Ring  recently posted an Article entitled, Is New Code Section 199A Really Going to Turn Us All into Independent Contractors?, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

There has been a lot of interest lately in new IRC Section 199A, the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction that grants passthroughs, including qualifying workers who are independent contractors (and not employees), a deduction equal to 20% of a specially calculated base amount of income. One of the important themes that has arisen is its effect on work and labor markets, and the notion that the new deduction creates an incentive for businesses to shift to independent contractor classification. A question that has been percolating in the press, blogs, and on social media is whether new Section 199A is going to create a big shift in the workplace and cause many workers to be reclassified as independent contractors.

Is this really going to happen? How large an effect will tax have on labor markets and arrangements? We think that predicting and assessing the impact of this new provision is a rather nuanced and complicated question. There is an intersection of incentives, disincentives and risks in play among various actors and across different legal fields, not just tax. Here, we provide an initial roadmap for approaching this analysis. We do so drawing on academic work we have done over the past few years on worker classification in tax and other legal fields.

January 22, 2018 in Articles, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

GE CEO Renews Pledge to Study Breakup After $6.2 Billion Stumble

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-22/cda8a21c-29cd-48d5-8995-d05c6ca40dfc.pngJohn Flannery, General Electric Co.’s (GE) new Chief Executive Officer, renewed a discussion considering a potential breakup after he disclosed an upcoming $6.2 billion charge resulting from an old failing portfolio of long-term care insurance. Tuesday, while on a conference call with analysts, he said that he was, “looking aggressively at the best structure or structures for our portfolio to maximize the potential of our businesses.” Long-term care insurance has become a growing issue for companies that have been active in the market in recent decades. The polices, which took form in the 1980s, were designed to cover healthcare costs not paid for by standard health insurance or Medicare. These products were fatally undermined by faulty assumptions regarding potential expenses for care and the longevity of those purchasing the policies. Joseph Belth, professor emeritus of insurance at Indiana University, commented that the market really started struggling in the 2000s, when companies found that they “had to raise rates frequently and substantially, and everybody was unhappy.” GE, once the largest issuer of these policies, has been attempting for years to limit the volatility associated with the insurance industry.

See Rick Clough, GE CEO Renews Pledge to Study Breakup After $6.2 Billion Stumble, Bloomberg, January 16, 2018.

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

January 22, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Widow of Eagles Guitarist Glen Frey Sues New York Hospital for Wrongful Death Because It ‘Failed to Properly Treat His Ulcerative Colitis’

48343FA500000578-0-Cindy_Frey_right_the_widow_of_Glenn_Frey_left_filed_a_wrongful_d-m-93_1516134536643Cindy Frey, widow of Glenn Frey, co-founder of The Eagles, has filed a wrongful death suit in New York state court. She is alleging that Steven Itzkowitz and Mount Sinai Hospital were negligent in the manner they treated her husband. According to the complaint, the failure to properly treat Frey’s ulcerative colitis and warn of the possible negative effects of treatment caused Frey to suffer mental anguish and pain prior to his death in January of 2016.

See Ariel Zilber, Widow of Eagles Guitarist Glen Frey Sues New York Hospital for Wrongful Death Because It ‘Failed to Properly Treat His Ulcerative Colitis’, Daily Mail.com, January 16, 2018.

January 21, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tom Petty Died From Massive Accidental Drug OD

1130-tom-petty-getty-4The L.A. Country Coroner released Tom Petty’s autopsy results and they show the singer died from organ failure caused by “mixed drug toxicity.” The report notes that when paramedics arrived on scene, Petty was in full cardiac arrest. Paramedics were able to revive him using CPR, but he lost pulse again while on the way to the hospital. While at the hospital, Petty had to be revived again and died twenty-one hours later. Petty was apparently on a number of pain killers, including oxycodone, citalopram, and Fentanyl. His family says that Petty’s desire to continue performing after he fractured his hip lead to his increased need for pain medication, which was the ultimate cause of death.

See Tom Petty Died From Massive Accidental Drug OD, TMZ, Janaury 19, 2018.

January 20, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Influence of Objective Elements on the Interpretation of Wills

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-20/c5a6c9d2-6261-44b6-856f-55f33caac9fe.pngMiloš Vukotić recently posted an Article entitled, Influence of Objective Elements on the Interpretation of Wills, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The author of the paper discusses rules relating to will execution formalities, and rules relating to interpretation of wills in order to show the importance of legal policy and general legal values for interpretation of wills. Aharon Barak’s theory of purposive interpretation is a starting point for the discussion because this theory emphasizes the importance of objective elements for interpretation of wills. The author analyses the main problems that arise in connection with interpretation of wills and indicates possible policy considerations underlying different approaches to interpretation. The author concludes that courts have a justifiably large freedom to interpret the words of the will and that there is convergence between civil law and common law approach to interpretation of wills, and this interpretation is often based on objective rules not connected to the most likely intent of the testator.

January 20, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Roy Hallady Autopsy Report: Traces of Morphine in System at Time of Crash

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-19/41cf59cb-9ece-41e2-b713-9f039d7a9a46.pngRoy Halladay, 8-time MLB all-star, died in single-person plane crash off the Gulf of Mexico in November. Toxicology reports reveal that Halladay had morphine, amphetamines, and zolpidem (generic Ambien) in his system at the time of the incident. On its website, the FDA notes that an excess of 50 ng/ml of zolpidem would potentially impair driving to an extent that would increase the risk for a motor vehicle crash. Per the autopsy report, Halladay had 72 ng/ml of the drug in his system at the time of his death. 

See Roy Hallady Autopsy Report: Traces of Morphine in System at Time of Crash, TMZ, 1/19/2018.

January 19, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obscure Provision of New Tax Act Complicates Testamentary Tax Planning for Nonresidents with U.S. Beneficiaries

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-19/c6c28163-8967-4424-90f5-78aff7bd8e3f.pngThe new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminates the 30-day window U.S. shareholders of a foreign corporation had to sell their shares before it became a controlled foreign corporation (CFC) following the death of a non-resident owner. By liquidating their portion of held shares within 30 days, shareholders with a stepped-up basis could avoid negative U.S. tax consequences. The new result after the passage of tax reform is potential burdensome taxation for the new U.S. shareholder. Though difficult, this outcome can be avoided by churning appreciated stock in the foreign corporation. 

See Charles Rubin, Obscure Provision of New Tax Act Complicates Testamentary Tax Planning for Nonresidents with U.S. Beneficiaries, Rubin On Tax, January 15, 2018.

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

January 19, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)