Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, December 4, 2014

IRS Electronic Reading Room

BooksA quick reference list of tax guidance and information organized by categories is available via the IRS Electronic Reading Room. Resources available include:

  • Final, Temporary, and Proposed Regulations
  • Administrative Guidance Material
  • Private Letter Rulings
  • How to request a private letter ruling
  • And much more

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

December 4, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Online Estate Planning Tools

LaptopMany estate planning practice tools are available online, from articles on specific subjects to whole websites that serve as informational hubs. Both the Real Property Trust & Estate Law Section of the ABA and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel have websites with a wealth of information on estate planning topics. For more specific topic areas, articles can provide practice help for prenuptial agreements, intestacy, decanting, elder law, and a variety of types of trusts. The informative website on intestacy, mystatewill.com, provides state specific intestacy charts and calculators. A list of helpful articles and resources available online and organized by topic can be viewed here.

See Donald Kelley, Trusts and Estates Practice Resources on the Internet, Wealth Management, Nov. 11, 2014.

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

November 21, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Resources for Succession Planning

Succession planning

Family business succession planning is an art form that requires a thorough knowledge of related tax and state business entity law as well as a sensitive understanding of the personal relationships among family members.  Below are internet sources on aspects of family business succession planning.

  • Choice of Entity. To understand why the entity involved was chosen and whether it should be converted to a different type of entity look at Jason Havens’ Partnership Choice of Entity outline.  This site compares general partnerships, limited partnerships, S Corporations and LLCs; listing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Family Business Succession Planning Generally. The Estate Planning for Family Business Owner coursebook library has several useful offerings addressing family business planning, including succession. Also, Transitions Dynamics, Inc. recommends conducting a pre-administration of the family succession plan, which they refer to as a “fire-drill,” to test whether an adequate succession plan is in place.
  • Other Online Resources. John L. Ward, Perpetuating the Family Business, focuses on saving the family business and the family that is in business together.  He stresses that basic conflicts between the family system and the business system must be resolved and suggests steps to that end. 
  • Family Dynamics. Fundamental to estate planning and business entity planning for families in business together is an understanding of the personal dynamics of the family situation.  See, G. LeVan, The Survival Guide for Business Families for an internet based resource on the subjective family relationships side of family business planning. 

See Donald Kelley, Online Resources for Business Succession Planning, Wealth Management, Aug. 13, 2014.  

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

October 2, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mental Incapacity Planning With State Specific PADs

Mental HealthPsychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) are useful tools to plan for mental incapacity, by not only naming a proxy that can speak on the person’s behalf but also by directing treatment decisions. However, all PADs are not created the same way. Some states require that a state specific PAD form to be used while others will recognize a general form. More information on PADs and access to PAD forms for a specific state can be found here.

See Linda Wasmer Andrews, A Guide to Psychiatric Advance Directives, CNN, Feb. 17, 2014.

September 9, 2014 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chart on Florida Probate Deadlines

Gavel2For guidance on the deadlines for various probate filings in Florida, see this chart by D.W. Craig Dreyer.

See Craig Dreyer, Deadlines and Timelines in Florida Probate, Clark Skatoff, Aug. 27, 2014.

August 28, 2014 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Resource Guide: Money Smart for Older Adults

Money SmartThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have made available a resource guide entitled Money Smart for Older Adults. The guide provides information for financial planning and, avoiding and addressing elder financial exploitation. Provided below is the introduction to the guide:

With over 50 million Americans aged 62 and older1, Older Adults are prime targets for financial exploitation both by persons they know and trust and by strangers. Financial exploitation has been called “the crime of the 21st century” with one study suggesting that older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation by a broad spectrum of perpetrators in 2010.2

A key factor in some cases of elder financial exploitation is mild cognitive impairment which can diminish an older adult’s ability to make sound financial decisions.

This epidemic is under the radar. The cases tend to be very complex and can be difficult to investigate and prosecute. Elders who lose their life savings usually have little or no opportunity to regain what they have lost. Elder financial abuse can result in the loss of the ability to live independently; decline in health; broken trust, and fractured families.

Awareness and prevention is the first step. Planning ahead for financial wellbeing and the possibility of diminished financial capacity is critical. Reporting and early intervention that results in loss prevention is imperative.

Money Smart for Older Adults is designed to provide you with information and tips to help prevent common frauds, scams and other types of elder financial exploitation in your community. Please share this information as appropriate.

August 25, 2014 in Books, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Booklet Series on Managing Someone Else’s Money

CFPB_LogoThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a series of informative guides entitled, Managing Someone Else’s Money. Here is a description of the series from the CFPB website:

Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. This can be very overwhelming. But, it’s also a great opportunity to help someone you care about, and protect them from scams and fraud.

We are releasing four easy-to-understand booklets to help financial caregivers. The Managing Someone Else’s Money guides are for agents under powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and government fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries.)

The guides help you to be a financial caregiver in three ways:

  • They walk you through your duties.
  • They tell you how to watch out for scams and financial exploitation, and what to do if your loved one is a victim.
  • They tell you where you can go for help.

August 22, 2014 in Books, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Non-Probate Assets, Professional Responsibility, Resource Links, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Online Toolkit Offers Estate Planning Help

ToolkitA comprehensive on-line estate planning toolkit service called Final Roadmap can assist with various estate planning needs, including storing and sharing estate planning documents. Membership to the site is available with a one-time purchase. Here is a description of the toolkit from the website:

Misunderstanding and confusion result from neglecting to plan ahead, leaving a painful and costly legacy to those you care about most.  Final Roadmap was created to make end of life planning manageable and affordable. The Toolkit allows you to create, compile and safely store documents and directives  – with the option to share the documents you select, with the individuals you choose, in the equivalent of an electronic vault.

August 21, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Bill of RightsThe Taxpayer Bill of Rights was recently released by the IRS. It organizes the rights of taxpayers, which are spread throughout the Tax Code, into 10 easy to find and read categories. The IRS reference sheet to taxpayer rights was created by the IRS as the result of focus groups and an effort to make the information more accessible. Within the 10 groupings, rights include finality, privacy, confidentiality, and more.

See Michael Cohn, IRS Adopts Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Accounting Today, June 10, 2014.

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


June 14, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Four Tax Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children

Tax TipsThe Special Needs Alliance, a national nonprofit, offers four tax tips to parents with a child with special needs, including:

  1. Claim the child as a dependent. Even if the child is over 18-years-old and not a student, if the child is permanently and totally disabled, living at home, and reliant on parental financial support the parent may be able to still claim the child as a dependent.
  2. Keep track of and itemize all qualified expenses. Deductions that can be claimed for a child with special needs that may not apply otherwise include, costs for special schooling, home modifications made to accommodate the child’s special needs, and conference seminar costs.
  3. Create a special needs trust. Special needs trust can be very beneficial to the child, but comes with unique tax considerations, which should be researched and understood  thoroughly prior to creation of the trust.
  4. Get more information. The IRS’ Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities contains helpful information for parents of children with special needs.

See SNA, Tax Tips for Parents of a Child with Special Needs, The Voice: The Official Newsletter of SNA, April 21, 2014.

May 6, 2014 in Income Tax, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)