Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Why Springfield, Mass., Is a Great Place to Retire

SuessLooking for a great place to retire? Consider Springfield, Massachusetts. The city has a population just shy of 155,000 and is only an hour-and-a-half drive to Boston and just thirty minutes to Hartford. Housing prices are also surprisingly reasonable considering the city's proximity to a number of population-dense metropolitan areas. Within city limits, $300,000 is sufficient to purchase a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, brick colonial in Forest Park. The city is also home to a number of museums, including a delightfully unique structure that was recently opened in dedication to the life and work of a Springfield native: Theodor Geisiel, better known to children as Dr. Seuss.

The city is not all sunshine and roses, however, as the winters are bitingly cold and the crime rate in the area is relatively high. Springfield has also struggled with urban decay since the exit of a number of local manufacturers. The city has undertaken a concerted effort to reduce these issues by strengthening its police force and encouraging new business entrants. An MGM Casino is slated to open soon and will bring more than 55,000 square feet of retail space. Massachusetts taxes are fairly reasonable, but estates valued at over $1 million may be subject to an estate tax.

See Sandra Block, Why Springfield, Mass., Is a Great Place to Retire, Kiplinger, 2017.

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

July 21, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why Northfield, MN Is a Great Place to Retire

NorthfieldNorthfield, MN rests peacefully within a majestic tree-scape just forty-five miles south of the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities. The city houses two colleges: St. Olaf College and Carleton College. The presence of these institutions injects a youthful element into a city with a substantial population of retirees. The city’s unique character caters to lovers of the arts with a plethora of music festivals, film screenings, and live performances. The downtown area is a veritable hive of activity and features an open-air market each Saturday as well as festivals throughout the year.

Do not pack your bags too quickly though, as Minnesota is not a tax-friendly state for retirees. Income and sales tax rates are both very high, and Social Security income is taxed the same as on your federal tax return.

See Pat Mertz Esswein, Why Northfield, Minn., Is a Great Place to Retire, Kiplinger.

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

July 13, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Your Child’s Tuition Is Paid While You’re in Tahiti

TahitiStuart Ross, a former insurance executive, sold his Puerto Rico-based company twelve years ago. Ross has since enjoyed the fruits of his success with multiple homes and extensive international travel. But, like anyone else, while Ross and his wife travel, the bills and other burdens of daily life pile up. To handle these day-to-day issues, Ross hired Total Personal Services. Total Personal Services, based in Garden City, N.Y., performs the mundane tasks of sorting through personal mail, paying bills, arranging international transfers, and setting up routine household services. Unlike a family office, this service only provides for helping with basic, daily tasks, not providing money management and family coordination services. Ross offers some advice for those wanting to take dream vacations but have difficulty escaping the tedium of daily life: “I would say there are really good options to deal with it and life is short—take the trip.”

See Liz Moyer, Your Child’s Tuition Is Paid While You’re in Tahiti, The New York Times, June 16, 2017.

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

June 19, 2017 in Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Search for Offshore Havens Begins to Tighten

Offshore havensThe super wealthy and their money are increasingly searching for second passports and offshore havens as capital controls, tax reporting, and visa procedures tighten around the world. Approximately 100 nations have signed the Common Reporting Standard, which promotes a wider exchange of information on taxable assets and income across international governments. However, the United States is not one of those countries; in fact, we often demand that foreign financial institutions hand over anything they know about Americans’ offshore assets, but we do not return the favor. One thing is for sure, the game of international musical money chairs will soon come to an end, as moving capital in the future will prove more difficult.

See John Dizard, The Search for Second Passports and Offshore Havens, Financial Times, April 7, 2017.

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

April 10, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Americans Retiring Abroad Must Plan Ahead

Retiring abroadAs many Americans look to retire overseas, they will need to seek advice on the best way to plan for their ultimate destination. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of Americans receiving Social Security benefits abroad jumped from 400,000 to 550,000; similarly, the number of Americans annually retiring abroad increased by 17%. Not only are American retirees looking for a better climate, but they are also searching for better costs. Other reasons for retiring overseas include maximizing their nest egg with the strength of the United States dollar and benefiting from nationalized healthcare systems. 

However, retiring abroad does have its concerns—the first being financial. It is necessary to plan for any tax implications and impact on retirement benefits. Before fleeing the United States for a relaxing retirement lifestyle, Americans will also need to make sure they have solid estate plans that will put inheritances into the right hands. Further, contingency plans are always essential, so retirees need to maintain a location in the United States or set aside money to use for a potential return. Ultimately, American retirees should consider all social and psychological concerns as they venture into retirement abroad.    

See Christopher Robbins, More Americans Are Retiring Abroad—But Do They Have a Plan?, Financial Advisor, February 15, 2017. 


February 18, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

More Americans Are Retiring Outside the United States

Retiring abraodThe number of Americans retiring outside the United States has grown 17% between 2010 and 2015 with the percentage only expected to increase over the next ten years due to the baby boomers. These retirees most often choose to live in Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany, and the United Kingdom, citing the cost of living in America as the reason for moving elsewhere. However, the biggest obstacle of moving to another country at retirement is not speaking the language or knowing the culture. Also, while still being able to receive Social Security, these retirees are not afforded access to Medicare, which can make health care a challenge. 

See Growing Number of Americans Are Retiring Outside the US, Fox News, December 27, 2016. 


December 28, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Vacation May Lead to Divorce

Vacation divorceA recent study, analyzing 14 years of divorce data from 37 countries, finds that divorce filings spike twice a year following the annual schedule of family holidays. Divorce filings peak in March and August—March falling after winter holidays and Valentine’s Day while August follows July, the most popular month for vacation. November and December have the lowest occurrences of divorce filings. These findings represent a seasonal pattern. Specifically, family life often revolves around social clocks that recognize important dates, like holidays and birthdays. The theory turns on the idea that vacation realizes a time when couples are optimistic about the future of their relationships, but after spending time with their spouse on vacation, the stress recreates that unhappy feeling from before the vacation.

See Ben Steverman, Summer Vacations Can Lead to Divorce, Bloomberg, August 22, 2016.

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

August 30, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Inheriting Vacation Homes

Vacation homeVacation homes are places for families to make everlasting memories, but parents are often shocked to learn that their kids are indifferent to their inheritance. With proper planning, however, a vacation home transfer can keep a family’s memories alive for generations to come. Communication amongst the family can help promote more thoughtful decisions for the future of the vacation home—either preserving the home throughout generations or selling it. Vacation homes can involve unwanted maintenance, so families need to discuss any potential concerns.

There are several ways to transfer a vacation home property, including being jointly owned by the children or transferring to a limited liability company or trust. Parents who plan to hold on to the property until they die find it best to place the transfer in trust. Parents can even set aside funds to care for the maintenance on the property, making it more enjoyable for their children.

See Liz Skinner, Surprising Trials of Passing Down Vacation Homes, Investment News, August 23, 2016.

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

August 26, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What Is a "Holiday Will"?

HolidayProbate specialists are citing a growing trend for people creating or revising their wills—foreign holiday trips. Terror attacks and the disappearances of several foreign airplanes are causing growing concern amongst travellers. Legal firms are seeing an increase in will appointments days before families plan on taking flight, and the will executors usually press urgency. People are also creating conditional wills that take effect only if they pass on holiday. The Article further discusses guidelines to consider for planning a “holiday will.” This trend is beneficial because it is essential to plan ahead for the unexpected, especially when children and spouses are involved.

See Georgia Diebelius, After Terror Attacks and the MH370 Disappearance More People are Making ‘Holiday Wills’ Because They’re Afraid of Dying in a Plane Crash, Daily Mail, May 17, 2016.

May 31, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Archives From Widow Of Famed Explorer Donated To Cambridge

ArticlePictureCaptain Robert Falcon Scott, I can imagine no better name for a world famous explorer, of the Antarctic no less, than that. During his time that name captivated more than just a single person as he lead one of the first explorations of the continent and died on his second after barely missing being the first team to reach the South Pole (while also discovering the first plant fossils on the continent on his doomed trek back to camp). Now, new details about the life of this intrepid discoverer will become available after the archives of his widow were transferred Cambridge University in order to satisfy an estate tax debt. In addition, the archives also include papers relating to the a prominent Conservative politician, and later Baron, as well as details about the early 20th century British political class. While the families would probably still have wished there be no taxes at all to need offsetting, the donation of personal papers such as these to satisfy death duties has been a boon to the academic community so let us hope similar collections continue to be passed along.

See Stuart Roberts, Diaries of Captain Scott's widow secured by Cambridge University Library, University of Cambridge, April 20, 2016.


April 28, 2016 in Current Events, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)