Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Being A Caregiver Can Impact Career

CaregivingA recent study conducted by Genworth shows that being a caregiver can have a significant toll on career prospects. In a survey of 1,200 caregivers more than half said that providing care for a loved one has negatively impacted their career and about 11 percent claim to have lost a job.  One of the biggest problems is that people are not doing enough to plan ahead for the possibility of needing long term care.  Many people don't want to discuss these sensitive and difficult topics with their family, but it is extremely important to come up with a plan ahead of time to avoid a crises down the road.  People need to be prepared for the financial and emotional challenges that long term caregivers experience.  

See The Career Cost of Caregiving, Wealth Management, October 5, 2015. 

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

October 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Refuses Appeal Over Resting Place Of Jim Thorpe

ArticleThe United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal concerning the final resting place of sporting legend Jim Thorpe. The suit was brought by sons of the Olympic gold medalist to have their father's body moved to tribal grounds in his native Oklahoma. The body was placed in it's current resisting spot by Thorpe's widow after Oklahoma refused to erect a monument in the 1950's. At trial, the judge ruled that the memorial dedicated to Thorpe triggered a federal law that was designed to return Native American remains to tribes but was overturned on appeal. By declining to hear the case, the Supreme Court has seemingly put an end to any attempts to move Thorpe from the city that now bears his name.

See Peter Hall, U.S. Supreme Court: Jim Thorpe's body to remain in town that bears his name, The Morning Call, October 5, 2015.

October 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carter Won't Let Cancer Get In The Way, Set To Mediate Dispute Between MLK's Children

ArticlePictureFormer President Jimmy Carter is not letting brain cancer stand in his way as he is now set to mediate the ongoing dispute between the surviving children of Martin Luther King Jr. The dispute arose from the proposed sale of their father's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize to a private buyer which is opposed by Bernice King and supported by her two brothers. The items originally belonged to the children but ownership was transferred to the estate as part of an agreement signed in the 90's. Carter expressed hope that he could bring the siblings together which should be, based on his track record, a hope that comes to pass.

See Kate Brumback, Jimmy Carter to mediate dispute over MLK Bible, Nobel Peace Prize, Washington Times, October 5, 2015.

October 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Considerations To Keep In Mind When Facing Choice To Cash Out Pension

MoneyDespite their decline, pensions still exist and many people are faced with a decision when given the option to cash it out for a lump sum. For some, the prospect of a huge cash payout can be too much to resist. But factors must be taken into consideration such as the following:

  • The stability of the pension fund should be a key consideration. A pension that looks to have future troubles might make the lump sum worth taking if there are other, safer investments that offer comparable rates of return.
  • Look at the growth that can be expected from the pension. If monthly payments only increase a small percentage year to year, then a lump sum that would make better returns invested elsewhere could be an attractive change for the financially aggressive.
  • Does the pension continue only for life or are heirs able to take an interest in remaining principle when the beneficiary dies? A lump sum payment might work better for those that have short life expectancies who will be unlikely to collect over time the amount they could take via a one time payout.

See Ken Moraif, How to decide whether to take a pension or a lump sum, Market Watch, October 6, 2015.

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

October 7, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Succession Disputes In Israel

ArticleDaphna Hacker (Tel-Aviv University) recently published an article entitled, The Rights of the Dead Through the Prism of Israeli: Succession DisputesInternational Journal of Law in Context, 11(1): 40-58, (2015). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

This paper aims at contributing to the evolving debate over the rights of the dead by providing it with concrete empirical socio-legal context. A pioneering study of succession disputes, conducted in Israel, exposes a gap between a prominent judicial promise to respect the wishes and guard the dignity of the deceased testator, and the actual action taking place behind this rhetoric. The findings reveal that the testator’s dignity and wishes are trampled during testamentary procedures, when demeaning allegations about his or her mental and physical competence are allowed, and personal and medical information is exposed, and when the judge approves settlements that diverge from the testator’s last will in the name of familial reconciliation, even though in most cases there are no nuclear family ties between the rival parties. These findings are discussed in the light of an original typology mapping the theoretical controversies over posthumous rights, to highlight some of the possible normative implications of the project for the law on the books and law in action related to property division after death.


October 7, 2015 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How Single Clients Should Deal With Estate Planning

SavingsAmericas singles population has been growing lately and a majority of the U.S. population that is over 15 is single.  There are certain important steps that single people need to take in regards to estate planning.  When a single person dies intestate State law determines how their assets are distributed.  It is extremely important for clients to have a Will if they want their intentions for how they want their property distributed carried out.  Finding a trustworthy person to designate with the power of attorney is also crucial.  Clients should also be proactive about making sure insurance, IRA, and any other retirement accounts have clearly named beneficiaries.  Make sure to also have any desired health care directives put in writing.  Single clients should speak with an estate planning attorney about coming up with an individualized estate plan that will accommodate their needs.

See Shoshanna Delventhal, Estate Planning for Single Individuals, Investopedia, October 6, 2015.


October 6, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Scaife Estate Claims To Have Overpaid State Estate Tax By $10 Million

Richard-ScaifeI have previously discussed the dispute over the estate of the late Tribune-Review Publisher Richard Scaife.  The Estate has filed a tax return with the State of Pennsylvania claiming that the estate overpaid the State's estate tax by $10 million.  According to accountants for the estate the tax payments amounted to $104.7 million, but that a year-long review that they did on the estate shows that they should have only paid $94.5 million.  This current estate tax dispute is separate from many of the other legal actions that the Scaife estate is involved in.  The Scaife estate was worth about $830 million and about according to the tax return about $630 of that was subject to tax.  Because of the large size of this estate there will likely be more future developments to this story.  

See Mike Wereschagin, Scaife estate overpaid state taxes by $10M, return filed Monday states, Trib Live News, October 5, 2015. 



October 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Keith Mason Will Mediate Family Dispute Over Neville Wran’s Estate

Neville wranI have previously discussed the ongoing dispute over the estate of former New South Wales Premier Neville Wran.  Eminent jurist Keith Mason has recently agreed to act as a mediator in the family feud over the $40 million estate.  Next month the squabbling parties of the conflict are going to meet behind closed doors to attempt to arrive at an agreement over how to distribute the estate.  The parties will begin mediation on November 2nd and will report back to the Court on November 20th.  This is an ongoing legal battle and this story will likely have more developments in the future.

See Louise Hall, Eminent jurist Keith Mason to mediate family dispute over Neville Wran’s $40 million fortune, The Sydney Morning Herald, October 6, 2015.

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

October 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Delaware Court Goes Against Growing Trend Of Prioritizing Beneficiaries’ Wishes

JudgmentThe Court of Chancery in Delaware has recently rejected the petition by the income beneficiary of a trust to modify its written terms to permit the inclusion of an investment adviser and directed trustee.  In In re Trust Under Will of Wallace B. Flint for the Benefit of Katherine F. Shadek the court held that letting the beneficiary modify the trust would contradict the State of Delaware’s policy of upholding the settlors intent.  “This decision is significant because it’s an example of Delaware’s rejection of the current trend to prioritize the wishes of the beneficiaries even if the settlor’s intent is clearly stated.”  This column discusses some of the details of this important decision and how it rejects the current legal trend that many other states are adopting. 

See Pamela Lucina and John Welsh, Delaware Court Rejects Trend to Prioritize Beneficiaries’ Wishes, Wealth Management, October 5, 2015.

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

October 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kentucky Supreme Court Rules Against Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement

GavelMandatory arbitration agreements are a hot topic in all areas of contract law but few areas excite as much vitriol as agreements signed as part of admittance to a nursing home. In three Kentucky cases, nursing homes were seeking to compel arbitration over tort actions by family members of residents. However, the families fought back ultimately asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to invalidate the agreements.

In Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman, the court held that a constitutional right to a jury trial cannot be waived by a holder of a general power of attorney. The court recognized that there was language in the power of attorney forms which could have authorized the agents to agree to arbitration but that express and unambiguous language must be used to grant the power. Going forward, this could be a big win for nursing home residents who will have somewhat easier access to juries in order to recover from negligence.

See Liz Kramer, Kentucky Supreme Court compares giving up jury trial to giving up parental rights; refuses to enforce arbitration, Lexology, September 28, 2015.

October 6, 2015 in Elder Law, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)