Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Viral Photo of Nigerian Man Being Buried With $90,000 BMW SUV

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-15/590d1b7d-d20f-4253-aaa4-c72ba6328d50.pngA Facebook picture supposedly showing a Nigerian man being buried with a brand new BMW X6 SUV in a small village in Nigeria recently went viral. The story was picked up by several news stations and continued to be shared via social media. Upon further investigation, the picture and story most likely is not legitimate.

The picture was originally posted onto the account of Nigerian filmmaker and artist Zevi Gins. Several commentators appeared to be getting annoyed by the rumor of waste and selfishness the photo stirred up, saying such things as "this is a film that's being directed by Tchidi chikere." Also, it appeared that numerous people recognized in the picture were well known Nigerian actors and actresses.

See Gary Gastelu, Photo of Nigerian Man Allegedly Being Buried in New BMW SUV Goes Viral, Fox News, June 13, 2018.

June 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Lost Skill Among the Elderly: How to Have Fun

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-13/fbe70167-be93-4098-8afb-b6a531393e22.pngWhen one thinks of elder law it usually brings to mind nursing homes, finances, age-related diseases, insurance policies, etc. But what about things to do with the often abundant amount of leisure time? Older adults have much more time on their hands for fun - 7½ hours of leisure a day compared with 35-to-44-year-olds, who have only around 4 hours, according to a 2016 study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a consulting firm specializing in age-related issues. Often, 48 hours of the week are spent in front of the television for retired adults because they have lost the skill to simple have fun and enjoy themselves.

The idea of an activity being "fun" depends on the person. It could be involves well thought out plans like traveling to a new locale or a smaller, spontaneous adventure like a sudden pick up game of softball.

Psychologist Elizabeth Skibinski-Bortman, 71, asks each client at their first session: “What do you do for fun?” Many do not have a response at all, while others take a minute to think of an answer. This does not mean they are glum or down, but simply that they have spent the last few decades of their lives working 40 hours a week and playing around always seemed to slip their mind.

Brenda Spradlin, 62, moved to Kentucky to be closer to her only grandchild and now plays pickleball 3 times a week at a local gym with other retirees. She said she did not have time to play and have fun while she was busy raising her children and succeeding at a rewarding career. "Now I do."

See Clare Ansberry, An Overlooked Skill in Aging: How to Have Fun, Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2018.

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

 

June 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Rich Kids Are Counting On Inheritance to Pay for Retirement

RichieAron Levine, head of Merrill Edge, commissioned a survey of 1,000 “mass affluent” Americans. The survey discovered a startling trend: " 63% of affluent children between the ages of 18 and 22 say financial stability in retirement will depend on inheriting money."

The adjective "affluent" is added on to the demographic that has investable assets between $50,000 to $250,000, or with investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 and annual income of at least $50,000. 18-22 years olds, the so-called Generation Z, within this income bracket also believe that their inheritance will not only come from their parents and grandparents, but receive some money from their friends - 17% of Generation Z members in fact, compared to just 4% in other age groups.

Levine believes that the reason this generation feels this way about sharing wealth with their friends is because they are accustomed to a sharing economy with such business as Uber, Lfyt, and Airbnb.

See Suzanne Woolley, Rich Kids Are Counting On Inheritance to Pay for Retirement, Bloomberg, June 7, 2018.

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

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

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

June 8, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Humor, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now

Having a pet is a privilege as well as a responsibility. Some believe that this responsibility is on par to caring for children, especially when they themselves do not have children of their own. In this sense their pet is truly their family and would like to see them taken care of after their death. There are several ways to make sure that your pet is provided for in your will after you pass on.

  • Leave money to a pet-loving friend or family member.
    • This is an informal way of asking a friend or relative to take care of your pet. The downside is that the gift may not be used how you would truly like and they cannot be sued because of it.
  • Create a pet trust.
    • All 50 states and Washington D.C. acknowledge trusts for pets. One person is set up as the trustee of the funds, one person as caregiver of the pet, and another with the right to take the trustee or caregiver to court if the guidelines in the trust are not being followed. This makes it so that the person(s) you trust with your pet can be sued.
  • Leave money to a pet rescue organization.
    • This can done if you'd like to benefit a charity or organization as well. Basically the rescue or charity would care for your pet for the life of the animal, and then can use the rest of the money for the organization itself.

See MJCAtlanta, What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now, Milwaukee Community Journal, June 5, 2018.

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

June 7, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

10 Surprising (or Surprisingly Common) Estate Planning Mistakes

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-05/b5b33ba1-e59f-4998-8cca-d9615e13428b.pngThere are common mistakes, then there are surprising mistakes, and then there are surprisingly common mistakes. Here is a list of 10 mistake that may seem as a surprise or may simply be a shock as they are as common as they are.

  • Not naming a contingent beneficiary on insurance policies or retirement accounts. Often a single beneficiary is not enough and not naming a secondary could cause certain accounts to transfer to your estate, leading to expensive and time consuming probate.
  • "Selling" property for $1. The IRS will consider an property sold for less than market value to be a gift, and could lead to your inheritors paying high capital gains and losing the property's "step up" value.
  • Naming specific investments in your will. This can cause a huge issue when certain investments are no longer owned and are valued at a significantly higher price. The estate may be required to repurchase the investments and leave other beneficiaries with little or no assets to inherit.
  • Not thinking through a well-intended gift. Putting certain restrictions on gifts, even with the best intentions, may not align with the beneficiary's own life choices. If a person leaves a house to a child with the instructions that to inherit the child must live in it, the child may have to choose between a well-paying job in another location and their childhood home.
  • Leaving assets directly to a minor without dealing with guardianship issues. The phrase "for the benefit" is vague when it comes to young children, and teenagers could say almost anything is for their benefit.

For more, please refer to the article.

See T. Eric Reich, 10 Surprising (or Surprisingly Common) Estate Planning Mistakes, Kiplinger, June 1, 2018.

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

June 5, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Humor, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The World Isn't Prepared for Retirement

Robo  TOP TENThe Argon Retirement Readiness Survey of 2018 was a three question survey given earlier this year online to 16,000 participants in 15 countries.  The majority of those that took the test failed, illuminating a sobering lack of financial literacy.

Health was a common concern for may people, with 31 percent of Americans citing that worries of developing dementia of Alzheimer's being a primary worry during retirement age. More than 20 percent of workers didn’t grasp how higher inflation hurts their buying power.

One of the strangest findings of the survey was found following the question about “aging friendly modifications or devices” people envisioned having in their homes. Thirty-five percent of workers in India, 34 percent in Turkey and 18 percent in the U.S. figured aging could include video monitoring devices. Then there are the robots, which 20 percent of Chinese workers see coming in retirement, compared with 6 percent of American workers.

See Suzanne Woolley, The World Isn't Prepared for Retirement, Bloomberg, May 29, 2018.

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

 

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Storm Chaser Writes His Own Obituary, Wants Ashes Shot Into Tornado

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-28/5bceb893-5d51-4a09-8d23-7062bb12aeee.pngThe last few years saw Jim "Mad Dog" Sellars mostly confined to his bed due to a back and heart condition, but that did not lessen his love of extreme weather and storm chasing. He never let his failing health him stop him and continued to help the National Weather Service track storms and field calls from other storm chasers across the country. Sellars passed away Tuesday and in his self-penned obituary he specified that he wanted his asked tossed into a tornado. "He was independent as the dickens," John Sellars, Jim's brother, said.

See Giacomo Bologna, Storm Chaser Writes His Own Obituary, Wants Ashes Shot Into Tornado: 'That'll Be Fun!!!!', USA Today, May 24, 2018.

May 28, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Stepmother vs. Stepchild, Now Playing in a California Probate Court Near You

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-07/bb46b0ce-43b7-4b30-a102-f7e12af16faf.pngIn fairy tales and Disney movies, a common theme is that the evil antagonist is a stepmother. Half of marriages today end in divorce, creating more stepmother to stepchild relationships than in the past – though the majority of them are nothing like Snow White’s nefarious stepmother. These increased numbers may also bring a rise in conflicts during the administration of a father’s/husband’s estate.

There are many methods for the parent to prevent this unfortunate friction. These include hiring a well-established and knowledgeable estate planner, placing control of trusts with a professional fiduciary, explaining your estate plan to your children, and considering a gift at time of death to your children rather than delaying until your spouse passes away.

See Jeffrey S. Galvin, Stepmother vs. Stepchild, Now Playing in a California Probate Court Near You, TrustonTrial.com, April 23, 2018.

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

May 7, 2018 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

All You Can’t Leave Behind

HandshakePeople often go into estate planning worried about their legacies and what others will think of them after they have passed away. Being remembered is understandably important, but a legacy may not be the adequate term. Legacies can be determined by actions and words that create an impact on others. That impact can be either negative or positive and in turn create an unintended legacy.

When being counseled about the possible avenues to follow in your estate plan, keep in mind the impact you are making as well as the legacy those impacts will provide.

See Ross Levin, All You Can't Leave Behind, Financial Advisor Magazine, May 1, 2018.

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

May 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Student, 21, Flushed Her ‘Emotional Support’ HAMSTER Pebbles Down the Toilet and Drowned It After Spirit Airlines Banned It from Traveling with Her (and Now She’s Suing)

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-08/8e69020f-e5af-4cff-b830-08e871c4c629.pngBelen Aldecosea, 21, was attempting to fly home toting her beloved and cherished support animal, her hamster, Pebbles. Aldecosea claims that she called Spirit Airlines prior to her flight to make sure Pebbles would be allowed on the plane. When she attempted boarding with innocent bright-eyed Pebbles though, staff told her rodents were not allowed to fly. At this point, Aldecosea alleges that Spirit employees told her she could either release Pebbles into the wild or flush him down the toilet. Her flight leaving, Aldecosea was forced to take the heart-breaking measure of disposing of the support pet via an unceremonious, ultimate swirly. She is now considering suing the airline for emotional trauma.

See Hannah Parry, Student, 21, Flushed Her ‘Emotional Support’ HAMSTER Pebbles Down the Toilet and Drowned It After Spirit Airlines Banned It from Traveling with Her (and Now She’s Suing), Daily Mail.com, February 8, 2018.

February 8, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)