Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CLE on Top Estate Planning Techniques

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-16/4c913a31-ccc4-4b08-a2c9-058975428840.pngThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Top Estate Planning Techniques, which will take place on Monday, June 11, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Focus Your Efforts on Techniques That Work

This engaging course will take you through the basics of estate planning and beyond with old and new techniques that our attendees have voted to be the most effective in their practice. Find out what makes these estate planning tools "superstars" and gain practical tips for maximizing their uses. Enroll today!

  • A simple will remains one of the most effective tools in estate planning - learn how to phrase it to maximize its effectiveness.
  • Gain practical tips for drafting legally defensible transaction agreements to make sure the gifts are properly documented.
  • Help your client transfer a business to beneficiaries without diminishing its value or surrendering too much control.
  • Protect yourself with thorough knowledge of laws and regulations governing the actions of fiduciaries.
  • Learn why it's important to know when to file the tax return for grantor trusts.
  • Determine whether a client qualifies as a beneficiary of a special needs trust and gain tips for drafting one.
  • Don't reinvent the wheel - modify our sample trust documents to create airtight qualified personal residence trusts.
  • Maximize your asset protection: learn how to make sure all your clients' assets are accounted for in the trust documents.
  • Create clear final instructions and last wishes to lift the burden of funeral planning from heirs.
  • Use spendthrift language in ILITs to limit the ability of beneficiaries to assign interest and creditors to make demands on the trustees to pay the debts of beneficiaries.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar offers an overview of the best practices in estate planning and will benefit:

  • Attorneys
  • Paralegals
  • Financial planners
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Tax Professionals
  • Trust officers

Course Content

  1. Wills
  2. Annual Exclusion Gifting
  3. Tax and Estate Planning for Pension and IRA Assets
  4. Grantor Trusts
  5. Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  6. Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
  7. Business Entities
  8. Special Needs Trusts
  9. Top Post-Mortem Planning Techniques

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 8.00 -  NJ
CLE 8.00 -  NY*
CLE 6.50 -  PA

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 8.00

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.70

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 8.00 *

Professional Achievement in Continuing Education – PACE: 8.00

* denotes specialty credits

May 16, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Marriage and Asset Protection – Is TBE for You? [Florida]

Piggy-on-top-300x199One handy tool in the estate planning toolbox for some married Americans is Tenants by the Entirety (TBE) ownership. Under Florida law, married citizens may jointly own bank accounts, real property (including their homestead), and some personal property. Property acquired during the marriage is actually presumed to be TBE as long as six legal unities are satisfied. A great benefit of TBE property is that it is exempt from process to satisfy debts to individual debtors of either spouse because the interest in the property is an inseverable interest in the property as a whole. This protection is not perfect: it does not extend to joint debtors and it ends by divorce or if one spouse dies.

See Heather Ries, Marriage and Asset Protection – Is TBE for you?, Fox Rothschild LLP, April 30, 2018.

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

May 1, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Stripper Wins the Right to Keep $223k

BeckhamAn IT director for HBO, Micky Liu, met Veronica Beckham in July 2014 while she was stripping at Scores night club in Atlantic City. The now ex-stripper asserts the pair enjoyed a purely platonic friendship. Three months after Liu passed away in March 2015, Beckham discovered she had been named the beneficiary to his retirement plan, an insurance policy, and his 401(k), which totaled $223,000. Liu’s sister sued Beckham alleging coercion. She stated, "Beckham, as a professional exotic dancer, was adept at applying and using coercion and manipulation upon men." Despite this, Justice Rita Mella said there was little she could do; only previous beneficiaries could sue for the funds.

See Valerie Edwards, Stripper Wins the Right to Keep $223k Left To Her By 'Lonely' HBO Executive After They Met in a Strip Club Six Months Before His Death, Daily Mail, April 26, 2018.

April 27, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Argument Analysis: Legal Questions, Practical Concerns at Play in Post-divorce Life Insurance Case

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-20/ce786001-86b9-4d0e-9bbc-d735babf67f0.pngMark Sveen and ex-wife, Kaye Melin, divorced in 2007. Sveen passed away in 2011 with Melin still named as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. There was no provision in the pair’s divorce settlement that addressed Sveen’s policy and no other evidence, except a statement from Melin, indicating his beneficiary preference. Minnesota passed a law in 2002 that serves to remove an ex-spouse as a beneficiary of a life-insurance policy upon divorce. In Sveen’s case, this meant the payout went to his children rather than Melin. Melin challenged Minnesota’s law, arguing that it violates the contracts clause of the Constitution. The contracts clause prohibits the states from enacting legislation “impairing the obligation of contracts.” After an hour of oral argument and probing queries by the justices, it remains unclear as to which party the court will favor. 

See Amy L. Howe, Argument Analysis: Legal Questions, Practical Concerns at Play in Post-divorce Life Insurance Case, SCOTUSblog, March 19, 2018.

Special thanks to Paul M. Cathcart, Jr. for bringing this article to my attention. 

March 21, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 22, 2018

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 (1)

Friday, December 29, 2017

CLE on Frequently Used Trusts for Estate and Financial Planning

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Frequently Used Trusts for Estate and Financial Planning, which will take place on Thursday, January 25, 2018, at the Hyatt Place San Jose/Downtown in San Jose, CA. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Understand the Most Common Trust Structures, Their Various Uses and Tax Effects

Understand the underlying structures and functions of the key estate planning tools used to protect and transfer clients' assets. Whether you're a beginner or are in need of a refresher, this essential course will leave you with useful and practical tips from the pros. Register today!

  • Clarify the tax uses and consequences of the various trust structures.
  • Distinguish between testamentary and revocable trusts.
  • Explore the most tax-efficient tools for specific client circumstances.
  • Determine when an irrevocable trust is a better option.
  • Understand the varied powers and duties of the trustee depending on the trust structure.
  • Learn how special needs trusts are used to provide for daily expenses without risking benefits eligibility.
  • Protect your practice and professional reputation with a tailored ethics guide.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Trust Officers
  • Tax Professionals
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Trusts Overview: Main Rules, Terms, Parties, Goals Identified
  2. Revocable Trusts: A Versatile Tool for Every Occasion
  3. Irrevocable Trusts: Tax Savings and Asset Protection
  4. Special Needs Trusts: Funding Long-Term Care
  5. Ethics and Trusts

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

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

December 29, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 6, 2017

The “Extra” Marital Benefits Gained Through Tenancy by the Entirety

Toon-1875Marriage offers many benefits for those who choose to embark on the lifelong journey of matrimonial bliss. These advantages apply in estate planning and property law as well. One of the most notable estate planning benefits gained through marriage is the shared capacity of spouses to own property as a tenancy by the entirety (TBE). This form of property ownership serves to protect property owned by the couple from creditors’ claims against a single spouse’s property. TBE property also avoids probate on the death of the first spouse and neutralizes the loss of the estate tax exemption resulting from the marital deduction. There are a number of methods to take full advantage of TBE.

See George Karibjanian, The “Extra” Marital Benefits Gained Through Tenancy by the Entirety, Wealth Management.com, November 2, 2017.

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

November 6, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

MetLife Stuck Between Wife and Girlfriend in Benefit Battle

161020102345-metlife-retires-snoopy-540x304A federal judge, in Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Teixeira, refused to allow Metropolitan Life Insurance Company to remove itself from a litigation triangle between the company and a decedent’s wife and girlfriend. Metlife filed with the court in 2016 anticipating the court would make the determination as to whether the company owed the wife or the girlfriend $40,000 from the decedent’s life insurance policy. The decedent-insured named his wife as the beneficiary of the policy over the phone. Later, he changed the beneficiary to his girlfriend via another phone call. This was in violation of Metlife’s own policies requiring beneficiary designations to be done in writing. Part of the cause for the judge’s refusal to dismiss Metlife stemmed from the company’s atypical handling of the situation that leaves it open to liability for negligence.

See Jacklyn Wille, MetLife Stuck Between Wife and Girlfriend in Benefit Battle, BNA Convergence, September 11, 2017.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 26, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Musts for Your Estate Plan

Estate plan without willThroughout the years, you spend time accumulating bank and brokerage accounts, real estate, retirement accounts, annuities, and other assets, so it is not uncommon to forget to update important information, like who are the beneficiaries and how your assets are titled. Securing your estate in these ways can help to quickly transfer your assets to loved ones, perhaps avoid probate, and even reduce estate taxes.

Specifically, there are two key features that can help you avoid probate and potentially limit taxes for your heirs: joint ownership and naming a “transfer on death” or “payable on death” beneficiary. There are several ways to structure joint ownership, all of which can create varying consequences. The three ways to title a joint account are joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, tenancy by entirety, and tenancy in common. Further, another simple step to help avoid probate is to name someone as a transfer on death beneficiary or payable on death beneficiary. However, there are a couple major drawbacks to designating assets in this way, including that these titled assets override whatever is stated in a will and can incur estate taxes. Ultimately, you should speak with an estate-planning attorney to help meet all of your estate planning goals.

See Estate Planning Must Dos, Fidelity, March 27, 2017.

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

March 29, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Probate Fees to Increase in England by May 2017

Probate feesIn England, the government has ignored strong opposition and, by May 2017, will implement a sliding scale system for probate fees based on the value of an estate, which will ultimately see dramatic increases. On the high end, estates worth over $2 million will be forced to pay close to $25,000 just to execute a loved one’s will. This is a sharp contrast to the current price of just $250. This fee will also be charged on top of the already-maintained inheritance tax, which is levied at 40pc on an individual’s assets above $400,000. Of course, these changes will add further complexity to estate planning, but certain planning techniques, such as trusts, may help reduce the value of an estate.

See Sam Brodbeck, New Death Tax Confirmed: Probate Fees of Up to £20,000 Will Apply from May, Telegraph, March 1, 2017. 

Special thanks to Jim Manel (Texas Tech University School of Law J.D. Candidate) for bringing this article to my attention.

 

March 5, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)