Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, July 31, 2015

New Book On Working With Aging Clients

Article PictureThe first edition of Working with Aging Clients: A Guide for Legal, Business, and Financial Professionals by Carolyn L Rosenblatt has recently been published and is available through ABA Book Publishing. Provided below is a description of the book:

Working with Aging Clients places a special focus on financial elder abuse as well as the capacity of financial decision making for seniors.  The author provides shrewd techniques to guide professionals in identifying, preventing or simply stopping financial elder abuse.

This book is an essential aging and financial resource, providing:

  • A look at aging clients from their point of view.
  • Insights from a seasoned geriatric nurse’s perspective that has expertly cared for seniors augmented by a litigator’s experience in representing elder clients and their best interests.
  • Principles with illustrations from actual cases, particularly diminished capacity.
  • Heightened consciousness surrounding age-related biases, myths, and stereotypes.
  • Proven strategies to resolve conflicts and valuable tips for successful elder-related mediation.
  • An easy roadmap for both legal and non-legal professionals who share an interest in better serving their aging clientele.

July 31, 2015 in Books, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nominations for ABA's Blawg 100 Kindly Requested

Nominate Dear Reader,

The American Bar Association is working on its list of the 100 best legal blogs.

If you enjoy this blog, I would certainly appreciate your support by completing a very short "Friend-of-the-Blawg" form by following this link.

Thanks so much for your support -- it is very much appreciated!!


July 31, 2015 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Advising Same-Sex Spouses

Article PictureDavid Valente (Bove & Langa, P.C.) recently published an article entitled, Advising Same-Sex Spouses of the Inequities That Remain, 29 Probate & Property 3 (May/June 2015). Provided below is an excerpt from the article:

As of December 20, 2014, 35 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage. The remaining states (each a “Non-Recognition” state) have passed state-DOMA statutes to ban same-sex marriage or the recognition of same-sex marriages validly performed in another jurisdiction. This dichotomy breeds tax and administrative inefficiencies at the state level and creates a maze of conflicts through which same-sex couples, estate planning and tax advisers, employers, and human resource plan administrators must sift in an attempt to reconcile.

July 31, 2015 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Investor Control Doctrine Still Has Some Bite Left

Estate taxA recent tax court decision has held that the investor control doctrine is still in effect.  In Webber v. Commissioner, the court held that because the taxpayer exhibited control over life insurance assets held in different accounts he could be held liable for taxation on those assets.  In 2003 the investor control doctrine was expanded to cover variable life insurance policies.  In the Webber case the taxpayer formed a grantor trust that purchased two variable life insurance policies that insured two elderly relatives.  The policy holder was supposed to an investment manager to make decisions and there were supposed to be restrictions on the policy holder to influence them, yet the tax court held that these restrictions were not followed.  This article discusses many of the implications of this recent tax court decision.

See John W. Weber, Jr., The Investor Control Doctrine: Alive and Well, The National Law Review, July 29, 2015.

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

July 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sister’s Will Inherit A Fortune If They Complete These Tasks

SistersA deceased real estate tycoon has left a combined $20 million fortune to his two daughters, but in his Will he has imposed strict conditions.  Maurice Laboz was a New York real estate investor who passed away recently.  The two daughters, who are 17 and 21 years old, will be able to receive the inheritance when they turn 35.  If either of the daughters would like to receive early bonuses they would have to fulfill a list of conditions.  These conditions include going to a good university and waiting until marriage before having kids.  Maurice Laboz’s wife, who was in the process of divorcing him before his death, is currently in the process of contesting her late husband’s Will.  What is left of the estate is to be donated to charitable organizations like the Michael J Fox foundation.

See Laurence Bonk, These Sisters Will Inherit $20 Million – If They Complete All The Tasks On This List, IJR Review, July 29, 2015. 

July 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

When A Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Careful Planning Is Essential

AlzheimersWhen a family member or loved one has Alzheimer’s it is important to plan ahead.  Early planning can potentially alleviate a lot of stress that might come up as a result of waiting too long.  It is important to put in place both legal and financial plans.  Another benefit of planning early is that the person who has Alzheimer’s can be involved in the process.  There are a number of costs involved with treating Alzheimer’s, planning ahead for medical care and treatments is essential.  The person suffering from Alzheimer’s should be encouraged to make decisions for his or her future while that person still has legal capacity.  Planning ahead is a good way to make sure the person with Alzheimer’s is able to get the sort of care and treatment that they need.

See Idaho Estate Planning, Helping Loved Ones Suffering From Alzheimer’s, Wealth Management, July 28, 2015.

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

July 30, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attorney Who Embezzled $115,000 Sentenced To One Day In Jail

JudgmentAn 84 year old Cleveland Attorney who pleaded guilty to stealing $115,000 from a client’s estate has been sentenced to serve one day in jail. Gerald Cooper, who practiced law for 57 years, originally could have faced a 15 to 21 month sentence. The attorney was given a lighter sentence due to his age and health problems. The article indicates that Cooper has colon cancer and is starting to experience signs of dementia. Even though he will only serve a day in jail, this conviction does represent a blemish on Cooper’s record and reputation.

See Eric Heisig, Cleveland attorney who stole $115,000 from client’s estate gets one day in jail, Cleveland, July 29, 2015.

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

July 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Malpractice, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Special Needs Trust

CLE PictureThe University of Texas School of Law is presenting a CLE entitled, Special Needs Trusts: A Guide for Attorneys, Financial Advisors and Trust Officers, Thursday & Friday February 4-5, 2016, at the Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin.  Here are some details about the event:

Mark your calendar for the 12th Annual Changes and Trends Affecting Special Needs Trusts on February 4–5, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin, Texas.

The conference brings together leading professionals in the SNT field, features the latest updates and hot topics, and offers a great set of materials including sample forms, drafting tips, sample language and resources. If you work with special needs trusts—or want to learn how to use, draft, fund and administer them—don't miss this program!

The Radisson Hotel and Suites is offering attendees a special room rate of $189. Call 512.478.9611 and mention 'UT Law' by January 4, 2016 to receive this special rate.

July 30, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On The Benefits and Burdens of Foreign Trusts

Article PictureStephen Liss recently published an article entitled, The Benefits and Burdens of Foreign Trusts, 29 Probate & Property 3 (May/June 2015). Provided below is an excerpt from the article:

Part of globalization is the increasing movement of human capital (that is, people) across the borders of traditional nation states. This trend shows no signs of ebbing, and the United States remains an attractive destination for the globally mobile. As a result, an increasing number of people resident in the Untied States benefit from trust located outside the United States. This article summarizes some of the key tax and reporting issues associated with U.S. beneficiaries of foreign trusts.

July 30, 2015 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Supreme Court Now Allows Unambiguous Wills To Be Reformed

GavelIrving Duke never intended for his estate to pass intestate and produced a holographic will and codicil to make sure of it. In the documents, he provided his estate was to pass to his wife and to a group of charities if they were to die at the same time. However, no contingency was in place if he survived his wife and, when he died, his heirs under intestacy challenged the executor granting the estate to the charities. The trial and appellate court found that the will was unambiguous and, as a result, could not be reformed using extrinsic evidence even though it appeared that Duke intended the alternative gift in the will to apply if he outlived his spouse.

In Radin v. Jewish National Fund, the California Supreme Court overturned the lower courts and ruled that an unambiguous will may be reformed in certain circumstances. If, by clear and convincing evidence, it can be established the testator made an error in in the will, and specific intent can be established, then the will may be reformed to comport with the testators true wishes.

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

July 30, 2015 in Intestate Succession, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)