Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CLE on 2018 Fall Tax Meeting

CLEThe Section of Real Property, Trusts, and Estates Law and the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association is holding a conference entitled, 2018 Fall Tax Meeting, on October 4, 2018 - October 6, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. Provided below is a description of the event:

Atlanta, GA welcomes the ABA Section of Taxation and the Trust and Estate Law Division of the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law to the 2018 Fall Tax Meeting, October 4-6, 2018!

Join us and take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the country’s leading attorneys and government officials to discuss the latest federal tax policies, initiatives, regulations, legislative forecasts and planning ideas. In addition, you will have the opportunity to earn valuable CLE and ethics credits and network with Tax Section and Trust and Estate Division members and government guests. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta will serve as the host hotel.

August 14, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Kayak Killer' Awarded Portion of Life Insurance Money From Fiance

KayakAngelika Graswald was convicted in 2015 of criminally negligent homicide in the drowning death of her fiancé, Vincent Viafore. Because the conviction was not reckless or intentional, she still maintain the right to collect 45% of Viafore's death benefits of his $491,000 life insurance payout as the policy’s primary beneficiary.

Graswald and the family of Viafore have come to an agreement where Grawald will be awarded a confidential financial settlement and drop her appeal in her conviction, and the family will drop their wrongful death lawsuit against her.

Graswald pulled the drain plug on Viafore’s kayak while they were paddling on the Hudson River in 2015 and watched him drown. She later confessed in court to the actions, but claimed that she failed to see her actions would lead to Viafore's death.

See Katherine Lam, 'Kayak Killer' Awarded Portion of Life Insurance Money From Fiance She Killed, Fox News, August 14, 2018.

 

August 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Recent Case: Intestacy, Wills, Probate, and Trusts

Will and testamentGerry W. Beyer recently published an Article entitled, Recent Case: Intestacy, Wills, Probate, and Trusts, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This is the Summer 2018 edition of my article discussing recent judicial developments relating to the Texas law of intestacy, wills, estate administration, trusts, and other estate planning matters. The discussion of each case concludes with a moral, i.e., the important lesson to be learned from the case. By recognizing situations that have led to time consuming and costly litigation in the past, estate planners can reduce the likelihood of the same situations arising with their clients.

August 14, 2018 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why are Nursing Homes Drugging Dementia Patients Without Their Consent?

NursinghomeAccording to government data, nursing homes are still giving dementia patients medication to treat schizophrenia, mostly for its sedative purposes rather than to treat the disease. The usage has gone down from 1 in 4 nursing homes in 2012 to 1 in 6 nursing homes in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that these facilities are still administrating an improper drug, often without a necessary diagnosis or the patient's consent.

Why? The reasons include, "misperception by nursing home staff that the medications can help people with dementia; a lack of awareness of their dangers, despite the black box warnings; lack of training in dementia care; and, perhaps most significant, to compensate for understaffing. Nursing homes have been exaggerating levels of nursing and caretaking staff for years, according to an analysis of federal data by Kaiser Health News."

See Hannah Flam, Why are Nursing Homes Drugging Dementia Patients Without Their Consent?, Washington Post, August 10, 2018.

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

August 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Time May be Right for Land-Value Taxes

NycThe tax system is based on property values rather than land values, and landlords in cities such as New York City and San Francisco definitely feel the benefit by driving up rent to tenants. Taxes on land have long had a magnetic attraction for liberals and economists, and the time for them may just be blooming.

For economists, they are are enticed by land-value taxes because of their efficiency. The supply of land is finite, and thus taxes on it cannot lower the supply and increase price. As a result, as long as landlords are competing with each other for tenants—whose numbers and willingness-to-pay are unaffected—the tax cannot, in theory, be passed on through higher rents.

Land-value taxes are hard to implement as land is difficult to value. Its price is not recognized directly when property is sold. Some cities in Pennsylvania have tried to levy a form of land-value tax, but the valuations of the land are still controversial.

See The Time May be Right for Land-Value Taxes, The Economist, August 9, 2018.

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

August 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

3 Tax Breaks That May be Better in the Long Run

The tax overhaul that was pushed through Congress last year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), has left some agencies and professionals still grappling with its effects. Many of the changes have to do with the little details of taxes and short-term tax benefits, that may not be the best thing to do for greater benefits later. The tax changes and exemption increases are not yet permanent, and until that time they should be deemed temporary. Mitchell Drossman, national director of wealth planning strategies at U.S. Trust explains, “This tax law is a temporary provision because most of the individual tax provisions sunset at the end of 2025.”

Short-term benefits may look desirable, but here are three tax breaks that may be better in the long run:

  • Estate Tax
    • For the very wealthy, an important question is whether to make substantial gifts to heirs now or to leave it to them later in a will. It has become a big issue because the estate and gift tax exemption is now $11 million per person or $22 million for a couple. If they gift them now, the recipients will have to only pay capital gains tax rather than estate tax, and the gifting party will end up saving on taxes. But debating a large gift solely on the basis of taxes is a difficult decision, and advice may need to be sought.
  • Capital Gains Tax
    • Indexing an investment’s purchase price to inflation could also reduce the amount of a loss a taxpayer could claim as a deduction in the long run. Not all investments rise. And the ones that lose money can be carried forward on tax returns until future gains soak them up.
  • Charitable Giving
    • The standard deduction has been increased to $12,000, and there is no itemized deduction for charitable giving. For those that are privy to donating a certain amount that is less than this threshold, they may worry about how to achieve their goal of giving while receiving the benefit of the deduction. One solution is front loading a donor-advised fund, allowing them to give each year while initially getting over the itemized deduction amount.

See Paul Sullivan, 3 Tax Breaks That May be Better in the Long Run, New York Times, August 10, 2018.

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

August 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Homestead: A (New) Hope

HomeThomas E. Simmons recently published an Article entitled, Homestead: A (New) Hope, 63 S.D. L. Rev. 75-130 (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

A finely-tuned balancing of the free functioning of private and commercial enterprise against a family's interests in shelter and a home is at the heart of homestead exemption laws. In South Dakota's history, this balancing act has been displayed over a 145-year history in the form of legislative enactments, judicial decisions, and referendums. This history illuminates the expression of values against the dynamics of rule-making. A previously published article in this review, Prequel to Homestead, outlined South Dakota's homestead laws under the contemporary statutory framework and also considered the constitutional history of homestead laws leading up to South Dakota's becoming a state in 1889. This article picks up where the prior article left off and presents judicial decisions dealing with the constitutional ambits of the homestead exemption beginning in 1889 and continuing through today. It concludes with an assessment of an unresolved homestead issue in the context of asset protection: whether a trust-owned or entity-owned home qualifies for homestead protection rights.

The policy of the law is to preserve a home for the family even at the sacrifice of just demands.

 

August 13, 2018 in Articles, Disability Planning - Property Management | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is Micro Estate Planning and do You Need it?

BabyhandEstate planning does not always have to be complex or expensive, but every person should have a "traditional" estate plan in plan. This is even more important for those with dependents and the court will have to establish guardianship according to the wishes dictated in your will. But what about the time - days or even hours - right after an accident or a death? That is where "micro estate planning" comes into play.

Before legal guardianship can be established, a separate legal document can be drafted to clarify what a babysitter should do or should call in the case of an emergency.  Orange County, California estate attorney Darlynn Morgan explains, “If there is no one with clear legal authority the police must call in child protective services (CPS) and the child will go into their custody.”

If you have underage children, ask your estate attorney about adding a separate document to your plan that protects your children when they need it the most.

See Robert Palgiarini, What is Micro Estate Planning and do You Need it?, Forbes, August 8, 2018.

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

August 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

CLE on Planning for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses

CLEThe Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law of the American Bar Association is holding a webinar entitled, Planning for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses, on August 21, 2018 at 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT. Provided below is a description of the event:

Many clients are affected by chronic illnesses and a large number of those are under 64. This program will hopefully help you identify clients affected by chronic illness, understand more planning opportunities, and advise them and their families accordingly.
 
This program will cover:
 - Income tax planning
 - Investment and financial planning
 - Insurance planning
 - Disability planning
 - Competency and cognitive issues
 - Estate planning

August 12, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Want to ‘Age in Place’? Make Sure Your Home has These 6 Things

RemodelNearly 90% of people over age 65 want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures with AARP Public Policy Institute. But many people make the mistake of waiting until they already have health or mobility issues before renovating their home to accommodate their increasing age. Here is a list of a few projects or design changes that your home may require to live your golden years in your home comfortably.

  • Walk-in Shower
    • A walk-in shower can be a modern replacement to a standard shower head over a bathtub, but a customized walk-in shower can cost up to $15,000 or more depending on the size and layout of the bathroom.
  • Grab Bars
    • If a walk-in shower is not an option or you simply can't get rid of your beloved bathtub, a grab bar can me an easy fix. Also having a grab bar in other areas of your home is a good idea to prevent falls in other rooms.
  • First-Floor Master Suite
    • This will alleviate the necessity of constantly going up stairs to your bedroom and prevent arthritic pain and falls.
  • Door Lever Handles
    • For those with arthritis, even turning a doorknob can be painful. Changing out knobs to levers can be a solution.
  • Carpeting
    • Not only is carpeting less slippery than tile, wood, or laminate, it can also cushion the impact of a potential fall.
  • Pullout Drawers
    • Pullout drawers in cabinets can be convenient for any age to make dishes and pans more accessible. Using them in below or above the countertop can alleviate the need to bend over or reach over one's head in the kitchen as often.

See Daniel Bortz, Want to ‘Age in Place’? Make Sure Your Home has These 6 Things. Washington Post, August 8, 2018.

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

August 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)