Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Estate Planning for Crypto and Other Digital Assets: What You Need to Know

BitcoinEstate planning has evolved past simply writing a will and placing other documents in a safe deposit box. With the rise of the internet, cloud storage, and crypto currency comes a new style of planning for one's death.

Your executor still needs to know what assets you have and how to access them, and tt is the access that is the trickiest part in planning for handing off your digital assets to your heirs. “It’s most important to explain (to them) the kinds of assets, key locations, and access controls you’re using for security. Access controls are things like PINs, passphrases, multisignature or timelock requirements,” explains Pam Morgan, a probate attorney who has written a book on cryptoasset inheritance planning.

The vast majority of states with laws on digital assets have adopted a model law that was written broadly enough to include things that haven’t been invented yet, says Ben Orzeske, chief counsel for the Uniform Law Commission. So far, 42 states have enacted laws allowing executors to manage digital assets in much the same way they do traditional holdings of estates.

See Ted Knutson, Estate Planning for Crypto and Other Digital Assets: What You Need to Know, Forbes, August 14, 2018.

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

August 15, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Technology, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article of Japanese Law and the Global Diffusion of Trust and Fiduciary Law

JapanMasayuki Tamaruya recently published an Article entitled, Japanese Law and the Global Diffusion of Trust and Fiduciary Law, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article will trace the paths of trust law diffusion, with the dual aim of identifying the role of Japanese law in shaping the global evolution of the fiduciary norm and examining the doctrinal and conceptual implication that the understanding of these historic paths can bring about. The path of trust diffusion that started from England in the seventeenth century diverged into two routes. One route went around the Cape of Good Hope toward the East, through South Africa and India. The other path went West, crossing the Atlantic and across North America. These two routes met with each other in the early twentieth century, when the Trust Act of 1922 was introduced in Japan. The westbound diffusion continued when Japan imposed its law and industry regulation in Taiwan and Korea as part of its colonial expansion. While the colonial impact diminished over time after World War II, the common self-identification as civil-law jurisdictions and the similarities in economic growth models have led to the development of parallel trust doctrines in South Korea and Taiwan. On the eastbound route, Hong Kong and Singapore have emerged as the two major commercial hubs in Asia with vibrant trust practices based on English common law. Today, these two routes converge in mainland China, where trust industries have played a vital role in the development of the Chinese market economy since Den Xiao Ping declared the opening up policy in 1979. Over a long period of time and across a number of jurisdictional borders, many factors interacted to shape the law and practice of trusts. Those factors included financial pressures, legislative imitations, academic exchange of ideas, colonial rules, commercial competitions, and shifts in national wealth and demographics. Despite some signs of the harmonization of trust law worldwide, in the increasingly competitive global economy, trust service providers and their host jurisdictions are vying with each other for comparative advantages.

August 15, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Trusts | 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)

'Kayak Killer' Awarded Portion of Life Insurance Money From Fiance

KayakAngelika Graswald was convicted in 2015 of criminally negligent homicide in the drowning death of her fiancé, Vincent Viafore. Because the conviction was not reckless or intentional, she still maintain the right to collect 45% of Viafore's death benefits of his $491,000 life insurance payout as the policy’s primary beneficiary.

Graswald and the family of Viafore have come to an agreement where Grawald will be awarded a confidential financial settlement and drop her appeal in her conviction, and the family will drop their wrongful death lawsuit against her.

Graswald pulled the drain plug on Viafore’s kayak while they were paddling on the Hudson River in 2015 and watched him drown. She later confessed in court to the actions, but claimed that she failed to see her actions would lead to Viafore's death.

See Katherine Lam, 'Kayak Killer' Awarded Portion of Life Insurance Money From Fiance She Killed, Fox News, August 14, 2018.

 

August 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Recent Case: Intestacy, Wills, Probate, and Trusts

Will and testamentGerry W. Beyer recently published an Article entitled, Recent Case: Intestacy, Wills, Probate, and Trusts, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This is the Summer 2018 edition of my article discussing recent judicial developments relating to the Texas law of intestacy, wills, estate administration, trusts, and other estate planning matters. The discussion of each case concludes with a moral, i.e., the important lesson to be learned from the case. By recognizing situations that have led to time consuming and costly litigation in the past, estate planners can reduce the likelihood of the same situations arising with their clients.

August 14, 2018 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Time May be Right for Land-Value Taxes

NycThe tax system is based on property values rather than land values, and landlords in cities such as New York City and San Francisco definitely feel the benefit by driving up rent to tenants. Taxes on land have long had a magnetic attraction for liberals and economists, and the time for them may just be blooming.

For economists, they are are enticed by land-value taxes because of their efficiency. The supply of land is finite, and thus taxes on it cannot lower the supply and increase price. As a result, as long as landlords are competing with each other for tenants—whose numbers and willingness-to-pay are unaffected—the tax cannot, in theory, be passed on through higher rents.

Land-value taxes are hard to implement as land is difficult to value. Its price is not recognized directly when property is sold. Some cities in Pennsylvania have tried to levy a form of land-value tax, but the valuations of the land are still controversial.

See The Time May be Right for Land-Value Taxes, The Economist, August 9, 2018.

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

August 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

3 Tax Breaks That May be Better in the Long Run

The tax overhaul that was pushed through Congress last year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), has left some agencies and professionals still grappling with its effects. Many of the changes have to do with the little details of taxes and short-term tax benefits, that may not be the best thing to do for greater benefits later. The tax changes and exemption increases are not yet permanent, and until that time they should be deemed temporary. Mitchell Drossman, national director of wealth planning strategies at U.S. Trust explains, “This tax law is a temporary provision because most of the individual tax provisions sunset at the end of 2025.”

Short-term benefits may look desirable, but here are three tax breaks that may be better in the long run:

  • Estate Tax
    • For the very wealthy, an important question is whether to make substantial gifts to heirs now or to leave it to them later in a will. It has become a big issue because the estate and gift tax exemption is now $11 million per person or $22 million for a couple. If they gift them now, the recipients will have to only pay capital gains tax rather than estate tax, and the gifting party will end up saving on taxes. But debating a large gift solely on the basis of taxes is a difficult decision, and advice may need to be sought.
  • Capital Gains Tax
    • Indexing an investment’s purchase price to inflation could also reduce the amount of a loss a taxpayer could claim as a deduction in the long run. Not all investments rise. And the ones that lose money can be carried forward on tax returns until future gains soak them up.
  • Charitable Giving
    • The standard deduction has been increased to $12,000, and there is no itemized deduction for charitable giving. For those that are privy to donating a certain amount that is less than this threshold, they may worry about how to achieve their goal of giving while receiving the benefit of the deduction. One solution is front loading a donor-advised fund, allowing them to give each year while initially getting over the itemized deduction amount.

See Paul Sullivan, 3 Tax Breaks That May be Better in the Long Run, New York Times, August 10, 2018.

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

August 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is Micro Estate Planning and do You Need it?

BabyhandEstate planning does not always have to be complex or expensive, but every person should have a "traditional" estate plan in plan. This is even more important for those with dependents and the court will have to establish guardianship according to the wishes dictated in your will. But what about the time - days or even hours - right after an accident or a death? That is where "micro estate planning" comes into play.

Before legal guardianship can be established, a separate legal document can be drafted to clarify what a babysitter should do or should call in the case of an emergency.  Orange County, California estate attorney Darlynn Morgan explains, “If there is no one with clear legal authority the police must call in child protective services (CPS) and the child will go into their custody.”

If you have underage children, ask your estate attorney about adding a separate document to your plan that protects your children when they need it the most.

See Robert Palgiarini, What is Micro Estate Planning and do You Need it?, Forbes, August 8, 2018.

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

August 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)