Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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

Why are Nursing Homes Drugging Dementia Patients Without Their Consent?

NursinghomeAccording to government data, nursing homes are still giving dementia patients medication to treat schizophrenia, mostly for its sedative purposes rather than to treat the disease. The usage has gone down from 1 in 4 nursing homes in 2012 to 1 in 6 nursing homes in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that these facilities are still administrating an improper drug, often without a necessary diagnosis or the patient's consent.

Why? The reasons include, "misperception by nursing home staff that the medications can help people with dementia; a lack of awareness of their dangers, despite the black box warnings; lack of training in dementia care; and, perhaps most significant, to compensate for understaffing. Nursing homes have been exaggerating levels of nursing and caretaking staff for years, according to an analysis of federal data by Kaiser Health News."

See Hannah Flam, Why are Nursing Homes Drugging Dementia Patients Without Their Consent?, Washington Post, August 10, 2018.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

August 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 13, 2018

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)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

CLE on Planning for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses

CLEThe Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law of the American Bar Association is holding a webinar entitled, Planning for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses, on August 21, 2018 at 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT. Provided below is a description of the event:

Many clients are affected by chronic illnesses and a large number of those are under 64. This program will hopefully help you identify clients affected by chronic illness, understand more planning opportunities, and advise them and their families accordingly.
 
This program will cover:
 - Income tax planning
 - Investment and financial planning
 - Insurance planning
 - Disability planning
 - Competency and cognitive issues
 - Estate planning

August 12, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Estate Planning 101: 5 Lessons for New Parents

BabyhandA new parent has a plethora of new tasks when it comes to that new baby or child: feeding, cleaning, bathing, and the all-consuming daily tasks that now take over one's life.  It is important, however, to have the wherewithal to make a plan for that precious child's future.

  • Set up "Living Documents
    • By naming a proper health care proxy and executing a power of attorney, a parent who becomes incapacitated can ensure someone else can access their funds for their child’s needs and make proper health care decisions for the parent in the interim.
  • Decide on a Guardian or a Trustee
    • Both have different responsibilities, but depending on the circumstances, having one or both can be necessary for your plans for your child.
  • Establish Post-Mortem Documents
    • Creating a will and possibly a separate trust document early in the child's life can alleviate a large amount of stress. If creating both seems too complex, you can create a “testamentary trust” in your last will and testament that is simpler, yet still effective if funded properly.
  • Review your Life Insurance Requirements
    • Many people don’t have much money when they are young, so life insurance becomes critical to ensuring your child has adequate funds available if you pass away at a young age.
  • Update Account Ownership and Beneficiary Designations
    • Properly titling accounts and naming the right beneficiaries to your investment accounts and life insurance policies is essential to finalizing your affairs.

See Daniel A. Timins, Estate Planning 101: 5 Lessons for New Parents, Kilpinger, August 6, 2018.

August 7, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols' Emotional Plea to Family After Dementia Diagnosis

UhuraThe actress that played Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols, is in a legal battle with her family after her dementia diagnosis and supposed memory loss. She has had a friend release a video of her pleading her son, Kyle, to allow her to continue working and attending Star Trek conventions.

In May, an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition from her son to sign over control of Nichelle’s assets to four temporary conservators due to her memory loss. There is a hearing scheduled later this month to determine if the actress should be assigned a permanent guardian. The son's lawyer, Jeffrey Marvan, told the judge he was concerned Nichelle’s manager, Gilbert Bell, had deeded one of Nichol's two $2 million properties to himself. There was also a concern that $259,000 from attending Star Trek conventions had disappeared from the actress's accounts.

See Laura Martina, Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols' Emotional Plea to Family Amid Court Battle to Stop her Working After Dementia Diagnosis, Mirror, August 2, 2018.

 

August 2, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 25, 2018

CLE on Step-by-Step Guide to Drafting Wills and Trusts

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Step-by-Step Guide to Drafting Wills and Trusts, on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at the Wyndham Garden Norfolk Downtown in Norfolk, Virginia. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Draft Enforceable Estate Planning Documents With These Practical Techniques

Do you have all the information you need to draft customized testamentary documents for each of your clients? Don't spend years gathering precious bits of legal practice wisdom - our experienced attorney faculty are here to share their time-tested methods of identifying clients' needs and creating custom-tailored wills and trusts to fit each specific situation. This legal primer offers all the tools and sample forms to get you started. Get the fundamental skills you need to build your estate planning practice - register today!

  • Get practical will and trust drafting skills to speed up the process and give the testator's last wishes power.
  • Stave off conflicts of interest with a clear determination of who your client is from the start.
  • Learn how to deal with interested relatives who want to be present at all the planning meetings.
  • Explore the pros and cons of using a revocable living trust in the will's stead and find out when it's a better option.
  • Explore the functions and mechanics of major trust structures - and make certain you choose the right tool for each job.
  • Give each provision full power with precise word choices - get sample forms to speed up the process.
  • Make sure your remarried and unmarried clients know the default inheritance laws and help them make sure the right beneficiaries are assigned.
  • Anticipate key tax issues, including individual income tax planning and trust taxation.
  • Phrase the fiduciary and beneficiary designations to leave no room for interpretation.
  • Help your clients make the tough medical decisions regarding long-term care, end-of-life and organ donation.
  • Learn how to verify and document the testator's competency to close the door on any potential will contests.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar offers foundational will and trust drafting skills that will benefit:

  • Attorneys
  • Paralegals
  • Trust Officers and Personal Representatives
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Tax Professionals

Course Content

  1. Key Elements of Effective Wills
  2. Trusts as Alternatives to Wills
  3. Basic Tax Concerns
  4. Documenting Long-Term Care, Incapacity and End-of-Life Decisions
  5. Ethics
  6. Planning for Unmarried and Remarried Couples

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 7.00

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.60

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 7.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

June 25, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lessons to Take from Stan Lee's Experiences

SpiderWhat is (allegedly) occurring to Stan Lee, the mastermind behind beloved Marvel characters such as Fantastic Four and Spiderman, is unmistakable as heartbreaking. Lee's daughter, 67-year-old J.C., is a "financially irresponsible individual who spends anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 a month on credit cards," and who has "demanded alterations to a trust set up for her," according to The Hollywood Reporter. A Los Angeles court issued a temporary restraining order on June 13 against Keya Morgan, a memorabilia collector who allegedly became a caregiver after Mr. Lee's wife died. Hearing, vision and memory impairments mean Lee is unable to "resist undue influence" when it comes to the management of his more than $50 million fortune.

Though estate planning usually focuses on the distribution of assets and wealth after the death of a client, but as elder-financial-abuse shifts to be prominent in the public eye, issues of aging and later-life planning could become more vital.

One "very powerful" thing advisers can facilitate for older clients is consolidation of their financial accounts, Mr. Shenkman said the founder of an eponymous law firm. Also, revocable trusts can be beneficial to hinder financial abuse of elder clients according to Beth Shapiro Kaufman, president of the law firm Caplin & Drysdale. 

In the case of Stan Lee, personal trustees are difficult to come by. "Mr. Shenkman recommends using a professional, independent trustee or a group of co-trustees to serve as a protective measure. Clients can also appoint a 'trust protector' — someone who has the right to change trustees if there's impropriety or who can demand an accounting from the trustee."

See Greg Iacurci, Stan Lee: Estate Planning Takeaways from the Marvel Legend's Elder-Abuse Saga, Investment News, June 15, 2018.

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

June 20, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Role of Elder Law Attorneys

LtcThe average life expectancy for a woman is now 85 years and for a man 81 years, meaning that people are living longer than they did even a decade ago. Each year around 12,000 Baby Boomers pass the 65 mark. With increased age brings along possible financial and age-related legal issues.

Because many of the elderly are divorced or have less children, family support has decreased compared to past generations. Public assistance programs are in place to help this problem, but some programs are complicated. Social Security may be straight forward but a person may need the advice of a professional when it comes to the informational mine field that is Medicaid to maximize its benefits. Even when government benefit programs are unavailable due to substantial wealth, asset transfers and management often need a guiding hand of a knowledgeable attorney.

Elder law attorneys focus on the client's quality of life, autonomy, and making their wishes a nexus for all decisions concerning their possible loss of mental capacity, guardianship, and healthcare decisions. They may work with nurses, social workers, and even personal injury attorneys to make sure that any plan if efficient and customized for their particular client.

See Jaclyn Lee & Lawrence A. Frolik, The Role of Elder Law Attorneys, Wealth Strategies Journal, May 30, 2018.

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

June 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

CLE on Estate Planning from A to Z

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding conference entitled, Estate Planning from A to Z, on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at the Sheraton Wilmington South Hotel in New Castle, Delaware. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

A Detailed Overview of the Estate Planning Procedure and Strategy

Do you have all the knowledge and skills you need to draft tailored testamentary documents and minimize taxable estate for each of your clients? This comprehensive course will become your ultimate guide to estate planning. You will receive tips, sample forms and answers to your most pressing questions to help you excel. Get the latest knowledge on effective will and trust planning techniques - register today!

  • Stave off conflicts of interest with a clear determination of who your client is from the start.
  • Get practical will and trust drafting skills to speed up the process and give the testator's last wishes power.
  • Minimize the taxable estate with effective tax planning techniques.
  • Explore the functions and mechanics of major trust structures - and make certain you choose the right tool for each job.
  • Make sure your remarried and unmarried clients know the default inheritance laws and help them make sure the right beneficiaries are assigned.
  • Help your clients make the tough medical decisions regarding long-term care, end-of-life and organ donation.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers
  • Paralegals
  • Accountants

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. Planning for Unmarried and Remarried Couples
  7. Ethical Considerations

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 6.00 -  DE*
CLE 7.20 -  NJ*
CLE 6.00 -  PA*

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 7.00

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 7.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

June 16, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)