Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Will More Americans Be Able To Work Into Their 70s?

Senior workingThere are an increasing number of Americans that are delaying their retirement and continuing to work into their 70s. This article discusses many of the concerns senior citizens have about the impact that work will have on their health. A growing number of baby boomers are expressing concerns about the wear and tear that working into their 70s will have on their bodies. This article presents statistical data and resources that show how education and other socioeconomic factors can impact the percentage of seniors with disabilities. As the average life expectancy continues to increase and more people enter into their retirement years society is going to have to make policy adjustments to adapt to the changes.

See Chris Farrell, Will You Really Be Able to Work Into Your 70s?, Next Avenue, November 25, 2015.

November 26, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reducing The Income Tax Bill Of A Trust

Trust estateThere are many estate tax planning benefits that trusts can provide. Some trusts even provide income tax benefits as well, and by reducing income tax people can be able to preserve more wealth for their heirs. The U.S. Tax Court ruled last year that a trust is able to “materially participate” in business activities for the purposes of passive activity loss (PAL) rules, and as a result creating income tax benefits by allowing more deductions for many trusts. “The PAL rules prevent taxpayers from deducting losses generated by “passive” business activities against “non-passive” income, such as wages and portfolio interest and dividends.” When it comes to determining what it means for a trust to materially participate in a business the definition of “materially” can become unclear. “The Tax Court disagreed with the IRS that a trust cannot materially participate in a business or qualify as a real estate professional.” This Tax Court ruling discussed in this article is another reason why it is important for people to update their estate plans.

See Tom Kosinski, Can You Reduce Your Trust's Income Tax Bill?, Orba Blog, November 18, 2015.

November 26, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Planning Advice For Managing An Inheritance

Golden eggsWhen a person receives an unexpected inheritance there are estate planning steps that they need to take. There are about a third of Americans that will receive an inheritance within their lifetime and the average beneficiary will lose half of it through bad spending decisions. A person receiving an inheritance should get the assistance of a “financial advisor, a tax professional and an estate-planning attorney.” It is important for a person to be able to factor in their individual lifestyle and circumstances to plan how they are going to spend their inheritance. People should calculate how they are going to make their nest egg last and plan what type of things they might enjoy spending the assets on.

See Judy Martel, Planning for Inheritance: 4 Ways To Handle A Windfall, Forbes, November 6, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 26, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Robin Williams Estate Dispute An Example Of Why Careful Estate Planning Is Important

Robin williamsI have previously discussed the claim by Robin William's widow Susan Schneider Williams that her husband suffered from Lewy body dementia. This type of dementia is a brain disease that can cause hallucinations and severe anxiety. The bitter estate feud that took place after the comedians death is a reminder of why married couples need to be prepared for the sudden and unexpected passing of a spouse. This article suggests resources that people can go to for estate planning assistance. It is also extremely important to speak with an estate planning professional to avoid the type of bitter estate disputes that are growing increasingly common.

See Kyle E. Krull, More on the Robin Williams Estate, The Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull P.A., November 24, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Major Art Gallery Sued Over Piece Alleged To Be Looted During WWII

ArticlePictureThe estate of a Jewish art dealer has sued the Helly Nahmad Gallery over the ownership of a painting that is alleged to have been looted from a Paris gallery by the Nazis in the 1940's. The work, "Seated Man With a Cane," by Amedeo Modigliani is worth an estimated $25 million and has been pursued since 1948 by the original owner and his estate. However, the case is complicated by the fact the entity being sued is not the true owner although estate claims it is a shell corporations that controls the current owner the International Art Center. This case is just the latest in the ongoing battle to return to the rightful owners artwork and other valuables looted in WWII. No trial date has yet been set.

See Doreen Carvajal, Estate Sues Nahmad Gallery Network for Modigliani Portrait, New York Times, November 24, 2015.

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

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Oversight Proposed For Nevada Guardianship Cases

GavelThe Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court has proposed changes to the state guardianship system that would create a monitoring board answerable to the states highest court. This proposal is in response to a series of newspaper articles that exposed a lack of oversight for many cases which resulted in financial abuse of wards by guardians. Another component of the proposed changes would require legal representation for every guardianship case although skeptics have question the willingness of local governments to cover the cost. Public hearings are ongoing on the subject and it will likely be the new year before final recommendations are issued.

See Colton Lochhead, NEVADA'S TOP JUDGE WANTS PERMANENT OVERSIGHT OF GUARDIANSHIP SYSTEM, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 23, 2015.


November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Questions Over Benson Participation Hover Over Pending Mediation

BensonQuestions hang over the upcoming mediation between Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his estranged daughter Renee concerning Benson's personal participation. Benson's lawyer has stated that they have the right to send a representative instead of personal participation while still remaining in compliance with the court ordered mediation. In Texas, mediation has a good faith standard that requires a willingness to listen to the other side's offers and arguments rather than actual face to face resolution. There has not yet been confirmation that Benson will not attend although indications are that he will send Saints president Dennis Lauscha in his stead.

See Katherine Sayre, Will Tom Benson, estranged daughter come face to face in mediation?, Nola.com, November 24, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Government Begin To Take Interest In Elder Abuse By Investment Firms

Piggy BankThe abuse of the elderly is of growing concern in the national consciousness due to the unprecedented number of retirees society is now absorbing. As as result, new rules are being proposed that will require investment firms to put in place protections to prevent fraud and other abuse of older clients. However, many in the industry are skeptical of the changes citing privacy concerns as many of the proposed regulations require client records to be handed over to government entities. As of now, the new rules are purely prospective in nature but due to the growing problem of elder financial abuse it is likely action will be taken by federal and state governments. What form any new regulation will take only the future will tell for sure.

See Dan Jamieson, Elder Abuse Rules In The Works For Investment Industry, Financial Advisor, November 12, 2015.

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

November 26, 2015 in Elder Law, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Changes To US Tax Court Rules Of Practice And Procedure Proposed By IRS

GavelThe Internal Revenue Service has recently proposed changes that would help improve tax court procedures. The changes would also enhance efficiencies for both the Tax Courts and the litigants that have cases. The new IRS proposals will cover a wide variety of procedural rules that will include “recommendations related to trial subpoenas, depositions and inadvertent disclosure of privileged material.” They have proposed a modification to Tax Court Rule 147 that “allow for the return of a subpoena duces tecum directed to third party custodian of records in advance of the trial calendar.” The IRS suggests that the subpoena should be returned at least 30 days before trial so that the other side can have time to review the documents. Another proposal is that the Tax Court adopt Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5)(B) which deals with the disclosure of privileged material. Finally, they have “recommended that the Court allow non-consensual depositions of party witnesses upon notice to the party without requiring leave of the Court by motion.”

See Richard A. Nessler, IRS Proposes Changes To US Tax Court Rules Of Practice And Procedure, Mondaq, November 25, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawsuit By Former Girlfriend Alleges That Sumner Redstone Is Unable To Make Decisions

Sumner redstoneA former girlfriend of billionaire Sumner Redstone has filed a lawsuit alleging that the 92-year-old media mogul is mentally impaired and unable to make decisions. The lawsuit questions his ability to continue to oversee Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., which are the two media companies that Mr. Redstone controls. An attorney for Sumner Redstone has called the lawsuit “meritless” and described it as an “invasion of privacy.” Mr. Redstone is currently estimated to be worth $5.5 billion and much of his wealth is tied up in Viacom and CBS stock. Manuela Herzer was in charge of Redstone's advance healthcare directive until his decision in October to expel her from his home and life. A preliminary hearing on the lawsuit was held Wednesday morning and the sitting judge has set a scheduling conference to be held on Monday.

See Meg James, Billionaire Sumner Redstone unable to make decisions, says lawsuit by ex-girlfriend, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2015.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Guardianship, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)