Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning: The Ultimate Guide

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Estate Planning: The Ultimate Guide, on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Grow a Successful Estate Planning Practice

Are you ready to grow your own successful estate planning practice or looking for a practical refresher? This program will become your go-to guide. From client intake through will, trust and tax planning, you will receive tips, sample forms and answers to your most pressing questions to help you excel. Gain insight on everyday issues estate planning attorneys face - register today!

  • Learn how to clarify client goals and develop a sound estate planning strategy.
  • Get practical will and trust drafting skills to speed up the process and give the testator's last wishes power.
  • Explore the functions and mechanics of major trust structures - and make certain you choose the right tool for each job.
  • Walk through the basics of tax planning with simple and useful tips.
  • Give each provision full power with precise word choices - get sample forms to speed up the process.
  • Help your clients make the tough medical decisions regarding long-term care, end-of-life and organ donation.
  • Stave off conflicts of interest with a clear determination of who your client is from the start.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit estate planners, trust officers, accountants and CPAs, paralegals, and tax professionals.

Course Content

  1. CLIENT SCREENING AND INTAKE
  2. KEY ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE WILLS
  3. BASIC TAX PLANNING
  4. DOCUMENTING LONG-TERM CARE, INCAPACITY AND END-OF-LIFE DECISIONS
  5. TRUSTS 101
  6. WHO IS THE FIDUCIARY?
  7. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 6.00 -  AK*
CLE 6.00 -  AL*
CLE 6.00 -  AR*
CLE 6.00 -  AZ*
CLE 6.00 -  CA*
CLE 7.00 -  CO*
CLE 6.00 -  CT*
CLE 6.00 -  DE*
CLE 7.00 -  FL*
CLE 6.00 -  GA*
CLE 6.00 -  HI*
CLE 6.00 -  IA*
CLE 6.00 -  ID*
CLE 6.00 -  IL*
CLE 6.00 -  IN*
CLE 7.00 -  KS*
CLE 6.00 -  KY*
CLE 6.00 -  LA*
CLE 6.00 -  ME*
CLE 6.00 -  MN*
CLE 7.20 -  MO*
CLE 6.00 -  MP
CLE 6.00 -  MS*
CLE 6.00 -  MT*
CLE 6.00 -  NC*
CLE 6.00 -  ND*
CLE 6.00 -  NE*
CLE 6.00 -  NH*
CLE 7.20 -  NJ*
CLE 6.00 -  NM*
CLE 6.00 -  NV*
CLE 7.00 -  NY*
CLE 6.00 -  OH*
CLE 7.00 -  OK*
CLE 6.00 -  OR
CLE 6.00 -  PA*
CLE 7.00 -  RI*
CLE 6.00 -  SC*
CLE 6.00 -  TN*
CLE 6.00 -  TX*
CLE 6.00 -  UT*
CLE 6.00 -  VA*
CLE 6.00 -  VT*
CLE 6.00 -  WA*
CLE 7.00 -  WI*
CLE 7.20 -  WV*
CLE 6.00 -  WY*

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants

Credit Hrs State
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  AZ
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  NY*
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WA
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WI

 * denotes specialty credits

October 13, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Doing More for Children with Less: Multidisciplinary Representation of Poor Children in Family Court and Probate Court

ProbateRobert Noel Jacobs & Christina Riehl published an Article entitled, Doing More for Children with Less: Multidisciplinary Representation of Poor Children in Family Court and Probate Court, Social & Political Philosophy eJournal (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

Family court and probate court are Barmecide feasts for too many children, especially poor children with special needs. "Multidisciplinary representation" of children enables the courts to address needs and risks that cannot be resolved by fine-tuning a custody schedule, frequently at little or no additional cost to the taxpayers. Since most children cannot identify the salient issues in their cases, and do not have standing in family court or probate court much less lawyers to represent them, it becomes the court's responsibility in every case to identify the issues most relevant to children's interests and decide whether multidisciplinary representation is indispensable to justice.

October 13, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 12, 2018

'Can Let me Down One Last Time...'

BuffalobillsLee Markel, 88, was known to be a devout fan and lifelong season ticket owner of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, even though he later moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. According to his son Mark, Lee never lost hope of his grandchildren seeing his beloved team win a much desired Super Bowl.

Lee passed away this last Sunday, and his obituary read in The Observer-Dispatch that “Lee has requested six Buffalo Bills players as pallbearers so they can let him down one last time.”

He was described as a “sports enthusiast” with a “religious-like devotion to the Syracuse Orange and his beloved Buffalo Bills.” An Army veteran, Lee will reportedly be buried in a T-shirt that reads, “Just one before I die.”

See Paulina Dedaj, Buffalo Bill Fan Takes Jab From the Grave, Requests Six Players as Pallbearers so They 'Can Let me Down One Last Time,' Fox, October 11, 2018.

Special thanks to Stephen Sanders (Austin, Texas Estate Planning and Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 12, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Reforming the Law of Will Execution: The Real Property Commissioners’ Reports

Will and testamentLloyd Bonfield recently published an Article entitled, Reforming the Law of Will Execution: The Real Property Commissioners’ Reports, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

The paper is an introductory chapter of a book length study on the Wills Act of 1837. It focuses on the discussion of wills in the First Report made to by the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Law of England respecting Real Property (1829) and the Fourth Report made to His Majesty by the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Law of England respecting Real Property (1833). The Report demonstrates wide-spread disquiet over the substantive law of wills and significant dissatisfaction with the process of probate. But the enquiry also looks to other issues on inheritance, the exercise of ‘illusory appointments’ and the problem of proof of death, areas which have hither to been ignored by historians

October 12, 2018 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

How a Royal Marriage is Different than a Celebrity Marriage - No Prenup!

EugeniePrincess Eugenie is all set to marry her long-time significant other, Jack Brooksbank, on Friday, October 12. The American news did not blast the news all over the airways, probably because the Princess is further away from the British throne than either of her recently married cousins, Prince William and Prince Harry. But on a rather global scale they are still considered celebrities, but with crowns.

But unlike the majority of celebrity or high-profile marriages, it is unlikely that there will be a prenuptial agreement signed between the couple. According to Katie Nicholl, royal expert and author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, the royal family doesn't really do prenups. "I don't think members of the royal family sign prenuptial agreements." Royal weddings and marriages may be more intense than their normal celebrity counterparts, thus they can be seen as standalone entities.

Prenuptial agreements are usually devised to protect a partner's financial assets in the case of a divorce. In the case of the British royal family, the family's fortune belongs to the Queen and the Crown. Jack is not marrying the Queen.

See Korey Lane, Do Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank have a Prenup? The Answer is Pretty Surprising, Elite Daily, October 2, 2018.

October 11, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Avoid Probate Court: Head to Your Bank Instead [Texas]

BankProbate court is expensive and time intensive, and the majority of accounts have beneficiary designations that allow them to be transferred outside of probate. With a trust, more assets can be transferred outside of a courtroom. Financial institutions are called upon to help a customer determine what type of account to use and, after death of the customer, review legal documents and carry out the transfer instructions.

There are other tools that can be utilized to avoid a formal probate process, such as a small estates affidavit in Texas for estates that have less than $75,000 in assets (excluding the homestead). If there is a will and there are no unpaid debts or a need for administration, the will can be admitted to probate under a unique Texas proceeding known as a “muniment of title.” No administrator will be assigned and banks will be presented with a certified copy of of either a a small estates affidavit or an order admitting a will to probate as a muniment of title to pay out the funds in the accounts.

Power of attorney (POA) can also avoid the complex issue of a guardianship, and under a new state statute passed in 2017, POAs in Texas have expanded powers. Due to this, financial institutes also have a statutory obligations to report alleged fraud or abuse of the elderly to the proper authorities.

Employees of financial institutes are finding themselves in position to answer difficult questions and find harder solutions. They may find themselves in more of an advisor role. They may need to become more knowledgeable about statutory changes and new estate planning options, especially self-help tools, that are available to customers and train their personnel accordingly.

See David B. West, Avoid Probate Court: Head to Your Bank Instead, Lexology, October 4, 2018.

October 11, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book on Cases and Materials on Gratuitous Transfers, Wills, Trusts, Gifts, Future Interests, and Taxation

Book2Mark L. Asher and Grayson MP McCouch recently published a Book entitled, Cases and Materials on Gratuitous Transfers, Wills, Trusts, Gifts, Future Interests, and Taxation (West Academic Publishing, 7th ed., 2018). Provided below is a brief summary of the book.

The new edition of Gratuitous Transfers incorporates developments in the law of wills, trusts and estates since 2013, including a new principal case involving beneficiary consent to trust accounting. The text also includes references to case law and literature relating to same-sex marriage, revocation by divorce, reformation of wills, directed trusts, trust decanting, and fiduciary access to digital assets, as well as statutory references to recent amendments to the Uniform Probate Code and Uniform Trust Code. The coverage has been thoroughly updated while maintaining continuity of organization and general approach with previous editions.

October 11, 2018 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Books - For the Classroom, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How Hurricane Michael Might Affect Your Taxes

HurricaneEric Smith, an IRS spokesman, said that amid natural disasters, the IRS often grants tax relief to affected residents, based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s declarations. As Hurricane Michael makes landfall so close to the extended deadline of October 15 to file their 2017 taxes, the deadline could be extended further or those that are affected by the storm. Last month, the IRS granted relief to those affected by Hurricane Florence and extended the deadline.

Be aware that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax overhaul that went into effect this year, has changed the way you can claim personal casualty and theft losses. Prior to the Act, total of losses needed to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income and could be duty to natural disasters, fires, thefts, etc. Now, casualty losses can only be claimed on your taxes in the case of a federally declared disaster, and is still subject to the 10% threshold.

Under both the old and new tax law, how much you can claim as a loss will be reduced based on the insurance payout you receive for your damages.

See Darla Mercado, How Hurricane Michael Might Affect Your Taxes, CNBC, October 10, 2018.

October 10, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Planning and Your Pursuit of Happiness

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-10-10/f27c2961-7591-4cfb-b8bf-a20f455ab648.pngPhilosopher John Locke's original quotes was "life, liberty, and property," but Thomas Jefferson purposefully changed the word property to "pursuit of happiness." The debate remains of what those three words mean together, as happiness is subjective and cannot be measured numerically. Some think it could be as simple as owning property or possessing wealth, but both can be meaningless without purpose.

Your ”estate” is your property. Your “legacy,” on the other hand, is your life spent in pursuit of happiness. The wealth management industry is becoming more "goal-oriented," with the achievements being measured by life goals rather than digits and commas. Estate planners and lawyers, however, are still more interested in the transfer of property and tax avoidance than what makes the client happy in life. As a counselor of the law, the focus may need to be in part on the client's pursuit of happiness.

Recent studies show that traditional estate planning results in a 70% chance your wealth will be gone by the second generation and a 90% chance it will be gone by the third generation. This is because the estate planning attorney only focuses on your death, your property, and the taxes. The numbers could go down if the attorney would integrate the client's individuality into the plan, their goals beyond this life, and ultimately becoming legacy planners.

See Daniel Scott, Estate Planning and Your Pursuit of Happiness, Forbes, October 10, 2018.

October 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE on LLCs in Asset Protection: Top Mistakes

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a live webcast entitled, LLCs in Asset Protection: Top Mistakes, on Monday, November 26, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Prevent Misuse of LLCs in Asset Protection

What simple mistakes can remove the protections LLCs are intended to provide and that may leave your clients vulnerable to creditors? Identify key weak points of the major elements of LLC structure, understand veil piercing, and prevent the changing regulatory and judicial environment from derailing your clients' asset protection plans. Register today!

  • Identify top mistakes that strip LLCs of their protections.
  • Prevent unintended tax consequences of entity choice.
  • Zero in on the weak spots of charging order protections of your clients' LLCs.
  • Explore the problems trusts as LLC members can create.
  • Maintain your professional reputation with a practical ethics primer.
  • Learn to counter common creditor tactics.

Who Should Attend

This focused legal guide is designed for attorneys. It may also be of benefit to trust officers, accountants, estate planners, and paralegals.

Course Content

  1. Plan Design: Avoiding the Wrong Course of Action from the Start
  2. Choice of Entity Mistakes
  3. Top Errors in Formation Documents and Operating Agreements That Jeopardize Asset Protection
  4. Charging Orders, Veil Piercing and Other Risks: The Weaknesses Often Exploited
  5. Ethical and Liability Issues
  6. Preventing and Correcting Mistakes: Case Studies

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 6.00 -  AK*
CLE 6.00 -  AL*
CLE 6.00 -  AR*
CLE 6.00 -  AZ*
CLE 6.00 -  CA*
CLE 7.00 -  CO*
CLE 6.00 -  CT*
CLE 6.00 -  DE*
CLE 7.00 -  FL*
CLE 6.00 -  GA*
CLE 6.00 -  HI*
CLE 6.00 -  IA*
CLE 6.00 -  ID*
CLE 6.00 -  IL*
CLE 6.00 -  IN*
CLE 7.00 -  KS*
CLE 6.00 -  KY*
CLE 6.00 -  LA*
CLE 6.00 -  ME*
CLE 6.00 -  MN*
CLE 7.20 -  MO*
CLE 6.00 -  MP
CLE 6.00 -  MS*
CLE 6.00 -  MT*
CLE 6.00 -  NC*
CLE 6.00 -  ND*
CLE 6.00 -  NE*
CLE 6.00 -  NH*
CLE 7.20 -  NJ*
CLE 6.00 -  NM*
CLE 6.00 -  NV*
CLE 7.00 -  NY*
CLE 6.00 -  OH*
CLE 7.00 -  OK*
CLE 6.00 -  OR*
CLE 6.00 -  PA*
CLE 7.00 -  RI*
CLE 6.00 -  SC*
CLE 6.00 -  TN*
CLE 6.00 -  TX*
CLE 6.00 -  UT*
CLE 6.00 -  VA*
CLE 6.00 -  VT*
CLE 6.00 -  WA*
CLE 7.00 -  WI*
CLE 7.20 -  WV*
CLE 6.00 -  WY*

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants

Credit Hrs State
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  AZ
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  NY*
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WA
CPE for Accountants 7.00 -  WI

 * denotes specialty credits

October 10, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)