Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, September 3, 2015

CLE On Keeping the Family Business in the Family

CLE PictureThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Keeping the Family Business in the Family, Tuesday October 6, 2015, 12:00-1:30pm Central, online.  Here are some details about the event:

ABA Members join RPTE for $70 to save $55 on this and future RPTE teleconferences, sign up at Register online. Find upcoming programming here . You may also email Michael.Kesler@americanbar.org, or call 312-988-5260. Visit www.shopaba.org to update your preferences to receive future program announcements via e-mail.

This program will be available on audio CD and MP3. Order from the ABA Web Store
(search by program title or keyword).

Cancellations and requests for refunds will be honored on the following basis: Two business days or more, 100% refund; one business day or less, 100% refund minus the $25 administrative fee. Substitute registrants are welcome. The ABA will seek 1.5 hours of CLE credit in 60-minute states and 1.8 hours of CLE credit in 50- minute states in states accrediting ABA live webinars and teleconferences.* Credit hours granted are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules. NY- licensed attorneys: This non-transitional CLE program has been approved for experienced NY-licensed attorneys in accordance with the requirements of the New York State CLE Board for 1.5 New York CLE credits.

September 3, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Saving Charitable Settlements

Article PictureChristine P. Bartholomew (Professor of Law, SUNY Buffalo Law School) recently published an article entitled, Saving Charitable Settlements, 83 Fordham L. Rev. 3241-3292 (2015). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

This Article defies the conventional wisdom that all charitable distributions from a class action settlement fund are types of cy pres. Instead, it proposes a radical delineation between “cy pres remainders” (meaning settlement funds left over after individual monetary distributions) and “charitable settlements” (meaning money initially distributed to charities as part of class action settlements). While both have cy pres roots, these two settlement structures have been conflated, jeopardizing the potential utility of charitable settlements. After articulating more precise nomenclature for these distinct distribution methods, this Article justifies why we must preserve charitable settlements. This defense is particularly timely, as charitable settlements face growing attacks spurred by Chief Justice Roberts’ comments in the 2014 Marek v. Lane appeal. Once unchained from the strictures of the cy pres doctrine, charitable settlements become a tool to promote the larger regulatory objectives underlying class action procedures, including access to justice and deterrence.

September 3, 2015 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former Cop Involved In Estate Dispute Earns T-shirt Satire

Article PictureA humorous twist in a story I have discussed before recently emerged as a Portland, Maine shopkeeper now sells t-shirts based on the case. Joe Kelley's store I Like That is known among locals for producing t-shirts that comment on local news and events. This time, he has printed two shirts with one mimicking the logo of the hit movie Straight Out of Compton and the other featuring a a photo of former police officer Aaron Goodwin with the words "Nice Try" printed below. Goodwin recently lost his bid to maintain the $2 million inheritance that was left to him shortly after he befriended an elderly women. While it is unfortunate that estate theft exist, it is nice to see a small business owner make a profit while the greedy get nothing.

See Elizabeth Dinan, Cop's lost inheritance memorialized on T-shirts, Seacoast Online, September 1, 2015.

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

September 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Celebrities Often Fail To Put Together Effective Estate Plans

Hollywood_signThis column discusses a common trend of celebrities making bad estate plans.  It is common for high profile celebrities to accumulate large amounts of wealth, but many of these celebrities often make very bad decisions when it comes to planning for their estates.  These individuals will often make poor decisions when selecting advisers and trustees.  It is also common for celebrities to fail to maximize the opportunities that are presented to them; often failing to benefit from certain bright line transactions.  Celebrities should seek out help from competent high caliber experts who can help walk them through the many investment and estate planning options that might be available.

See Russ Alan Prince, Many Celebrity Entertainers Fail To Effectively Plan Their Estates, Forbes, September 1, 2015.

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

September 2, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

UBS Wealth Management Ordered To Pay Elderly Couple $2.5 Million

Wall streetAn arbitration panel with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has recently awarded an elderly couple $2.5 million in an investment fraud case.  This is just one of many cases pending against UBS, which recently disclosed it faces about $1 billion in claims.  Even though UBS was required to diversify its investments, the court found that the investment fund was over concentrated in the Puerto Rico bond market.  The elderly couple had invested a major portion of their money with disgraced stockbroker Jose Gabriel Ramirez Jr., who had been in trouble on multiple occasions and even lost his brokerage license.  Mr. Ramirez attempted to plead the fifth in this recent case, but the FINRA arbitration panel decided in favor of the elderly couple. 

See UBS to Pay Elderly Couple $2.5 Mil in Investment Fraud Case, Mahany & Ertle, September 2, 2015.

September 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Endowment Returns For Major Universities Declining With Equity, Bond Markets

Ut-austinUnited States public-university endowments have shown a decline in returns for the 2015 fiscal year.  According to Monica Issar, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s endowment and foundation group funds will have to move away from passive investment strategies because of the muted outlook for future returns.  In a report put out by the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service the median return for large endowments and foundations was 3.6 percent.  One of the overachievers this year is UNC Management Co., which posted a 9.3 percent return for the 2015 fiscal year.  The University of Texas Investment Management Co., posted only a 3.5% average return for its two investment funds.

See Bloomberg News, University Endowment Returns Fall With Equity, Bond Markets, Private Wealth, August 31, 2015.

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

September 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Millions Of Wills Are Now Available For Researchers Online

AncestryThe Wills and probate records of about 100 million Americans dating back to the colonial era are now available online.  Ancestry.com has been digitizing records that for years have been left sitting in dusty basements and storage areas of courthouses across the country.  The genealogy website is offering a treasure trove to both amateur and professional historians who will have a massive wealth of information to study.  People will be able to access the probate records of historical figures like Paul Revere and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  A massive amount of information will also be available to people who are researching their own family history. 

See Mark Pratt, Wills of millions of Americans now available online, Herald-Whig, September 2, 2015.

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

September 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Legal Education Class On Cemetery Law And The Real Estate Lawyer

CLE PictureThe American Bar Association is presenting a free legal education class entitled, Professors' Corner: When Dirt and Death Collide: Cemetery Law and the Real Estate Lawyer, Wednesday September 9, 2015, 12:30-1:30PM Eastern, online.  Here are some details about the event:

The Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section is sometimes referred to as consisting of two parts—dirt (real property law) and death (trust and estate law). The September Professors' Corner focuses on the place where dirt and death law literally intersect—the law of cemeteries. Although few attorneys practice "cemetery law," most real estate attorneys have confronted issues regarding the presence of human remains in marked or unmarked graves. This Professors' Corner is intended to provide an overview of the structure of the legal landscape to better prepare attorneys to confront these issues.

Tanya Marsh, the author of "The Law of Human Remains" (2015) and "Cemetery Law" (2015), will outline the structure of cemetery law in the United States. Ryan Seidemann, a trained archaeologist and Assistant Attorney General in Louisiana, will discuss the laws governing the discovery of human remains and the obligations of property owners with respect to those remains. Dean Alterman has encountered cemetery law issues many times during his career and will discuss non-cemetery uses in cemeteries, including cell towers and easements, and issues with regulators and customers.

Our speakers will include: Professor Tanya D. Marsh, Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dean N. Alterman, Partner, Folawn Alterman & Richardson LLP, Portland, Oregon, and Ryan M. Seidemann, Assistant Attorney General, Section Chief - Lands & Natural Resources, Civil Division - Louisiana Department of Justice, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Professors' Corner is a FREE monthly webinar featuring a panel of law professors addressing topics of interest to practitioners of real estate and trust & estate law. Please note: the content of this program does not meet requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) accreditation. You will not receive CLE credit for When Dirt and Death Collide: Cemetery Law and the Real Estate Law.

September 2, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

South Dakota Banking Heir Now Broke?

BrokeThe Vucurevichs are something of a noble family as far as South Dakota is concerned due to the once extensive banking empire founded by family patriarch John. However, John's son Tom now appears to be broke after a claim sent to various creditors announced the Vucurevich estate is out of money. This comes as a surprise to many since Tom was viewed as one of the wealthiest men in the state and is associated with a number of high end projects that might now be in jeopardy if the insolvency claim is true. However, situations such as this are increasingly common due to the inherent difficulty in maintaining wealth down through the generations even when advanced planning techniques are used. Multigenerational wealth tends to sputter by the third generation in no small part due to the impossibility of all heirs having the capacity to live within their means no matter how great. While many claim the Vucurevich family is hiding assets, this insolvency claim still serves as an example that a it only takes one person to build, and another to unfortunately lose, a fortune.

See Jonathan Ellis, Banking magnate heir says he's flat broke, USA Today, August 30, 2015.

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

September 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On The Certainty Of Term Requirement In Leases

Article PictureIan Williams (Faculty of Laws, University College London) recently published an article entitled, Explaining the Certainty of Term Requirement in Leases: Nothing Lasts Forever, Cambridge Law Journal, Forthcoming. Provided below is an abstract of the article:

This article explains the rule that leases have a certain term from the outset by placing the lease within the wider context of the system of estates in land. There are no perpetual estates in land. However, some uncertain terms risk creating genuinely perpetual estates, conflicting with the nemo dat principle. All leases for uncertain terms cause considerable difficulties if a superior estate comes to an end. The article shows that the common law addressed this difficulty, not entirely consistently, before 1925, but there are still real difficulties in the operation of escheat were uncertain terms to be permitted.

September 2, 2015 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)