Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What To Know About Fractional Jet Ownership

Private jetFlying in a private jet is a luxury that many people will not get to enjoy.  The benefits of getting to use a private jet include being able to choose the dates and times that are convenient and not having to deal with many types of flight delays.  Owning a private jet outright is not affordable for most people, but there are ways to purchase a share in an aircraft that is owned and maintained by a third party.  “Much like owning a timeshare property, fractional jet ownership is an arrangement whereby more than one person collectively shares ownership of an aircraft.”  Fractional jet ownership can be beneficial for frequent travelers who want the convenience of being able to use a private jet but don’t want the hassle of outright owning it.  It is more expensive than commercial flights, but there are different deals that could reduce costs.

See Warren Cassell, How Exactly Does Fractional Jet Ownership Work?, Investopedia, April 23, 2016.

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

April 23, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 18, 2016

American Institute Of CPAs Wants Congress To Pass Mobile Workforce Ace

New legislationThe American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has asked congress to pass legislation that would make it easier for professionals who work across state lines to pay their taxes.  “The Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2015 was introduced in the U.S. House on May 14, 2015 as H.R. 2315 by Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.).”  Under this legislation traveling employees would have a 30-day safe harbor from personal income tax and withholding obligations.  This safe harbor will also apply to the employers of the traveling employees, and would include their businesses, associations, governments and unions.  If the employee is travelling to a non-resident state for fewer than 30-days, they would incur no tax penalty.  This article provides information about the current pending status of the legislation. 

See Roger Russell, AICPA Urges Congress to Pass Mobile Workforce Act, Accounting Today, April 14, 2016.

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

April 18, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Electrical Project Leads To Major Roman Find In Britain

ArticleThe thrill of a making the discovery of a place lost for over a thousand years was felt by one man in Britain after uncovering the remains of one of the largest Roman villas in the country. The find occurred in Tisbury, Wiltshire, and happened while a construction crew was digging a path for electrical cable to light a tennis court. A mosaic floor was found which prompted additional digging by the Salisbury Museum and revealed the massive extant of the house as well as artifacts ranging from coins to the remains of oysters. The find has been called one of the most important finds from Roman Britain since the discovery of the great villa at Chedworth in the 19th century which revealed much about an era that was mostly lost to history. However, a lack of fund to conduct a full excavation, which would cost several hundred thousand Pounds, has lead to the site being reburied in order to protect it from the elements. Despite this setback, the community now knows of it's existence so that future historians can better explore the site and the mysteries it conceals.

See Patrick Sawer, 'Unparalleled' discovery of Roman villa beneath Wiltshire garden, The Telegraph, April 17, 2016.

April 18, 2016 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What People Should Know About Retiring Abroad

Sail boatThis article points out some of the advantages and disadvantages of retiring abroad.  Most Americans spend their retirement in the United States, but there are a growing number of retirees who are choosing to settle in another country.  Some of the advantages of retiring abroad might include a lower cost of living and a chance to enjoy new experiences.  The disadvantage might involve being in a country without the same sort of networks of friends and professional associates that would exist at home.  People who choose to retire abroad might have to make new friends and could face a situation of not having anyone close around when something goes wrong.  There could also be tax implications for retiring abroad which are discussed in this article.  It is important for people to think about their own personal goals and situation when making a decision about where to retire.

See Jean Folger, Retirement: U.S. Vs. Abroad, Investopedia, April 14, 2016.

April 14, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Curious What It Feels Like To Be A Corpse In A Crematorium?

CremationImagining what it's like to experience something outside the realm of reality is a common path to wander down for a mind in need of distraction. For most, the imagination conjures visions of battles in space, sports heroship, windfall inheritance, or any number of other exciting things. But does anyone wonder what it is like to be cremated? Well, for those that do a new exhibit in China places you in a crematory chamber, complete with 360 degree virtual fire, to be burned to dust and reincarnated by being birthed through a giant womb. But, before getting to that point, you have to volunteer, or be condemned, to die after a group discussion about life and death. But a visitor must not forget to complete the experience by writing their last testament, as a souvenir to take home, before hopping into the fire. For those in the Shanghai area, with $68 worth of walking around money, the exhibit opens this weekend to the general public.

See, Be virtually cremated in Chinese death simulator, Fox News, April 5, 2016.

April 6, 2016 in Current Events, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Huge Collection Of Ancient Art Set To Go Back On Display

ArticlePictureIn the 1970's the Torlonia family got into a spat with the city government of Rome over the conversion of a family palace into apartment blocks. In response to Rome's refusal to allow the project to go forward, the family placed in storage it's huge collection of ancient marbles and bronzes where they remained for over 40 years. But a deal had finally been reached which will see the art collection go back on display. Among the priceless antiquities are sculptures from Greek masters such as Phidias, the man who crafted one of the seven wonders of the ancient world in addition to the famed Parthenon frieze. Also of note is a true to life bust of the Roman Emperor Galba, the star-crossed successor to Nero who was the first part of the legendary year of the four emperors in 69CE, that is considered the finest marble of emperor to survive. Not that it is needed, but this is one more reason to visit the eternal city to explore it's vast assemblage of art from the ancient world all the way up to the modern era.

See Umberto Bacchi, Italy: Priceless trove of 600 Roman statues lay hidden in basement for 40 years, International Business, March 17, 2016.

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

March 18, 2016 in Current Events, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

IRS Lifts Some Restrictions On Income Earned In Cuba

CastroAs part of the Obama administrations recent opening up of diplomatic relations with Cuba the IRS has recently released a revenue ruling that lifts some of the restrictions on income earned in the communist country. “The previously applicable restrictions denied a foreign tax credit for income taxes paid to Cuba and disallowed deferral on income earned in Cuba through a controlled foreign corporation.” These restrictions will now be removed by Revenue Ruling 2016-08, which is a modification of an earlier ruling from 2005 that placed special rules on certain countries under sections 901(j) and 952(a)(5) of the Tax Code. These changes are part of an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to improve diplomatic relations with Cuba.

See Michael Cohn, IRS Removes Some Restrictions on Cuba Income, Accounting Today, March 1, 2016.

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

March 3, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why More Americans Living Abroad Are Choosing To Renounce Their Citizenship

PassportThere are a record-breaking number of Americans who are choosing to renounce their U.S. citizenship. This article discusses the reason why people living abroad are choosing this option. Renouncing citizenship is a very important decision that has serious consequences. People lose many of the rights and benefits that come with U.S. citizenship like the right to vote in U.S. elections or receiving government protection and assistance while traveling abroad. “While the reasons for abandoning citizenship vary from one person to the next, the recent spike in numbers is largely due to newer tax laws, including the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of 2010.” This column discusses the consequences of this law that was intended to go after tax evasion, and it also examines many of the other reasons why people choose to end their U.S. citizenship.

See Jean Folger, Why People Renounce Their U.S. Citizenship, Investopedia, February 8, 2016.

February 16, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Issues With The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

CitizenshipAccording to the U.S. Treasury Department there has been a sharp rise in the number of American expats renouncing their U.S. citizenship. The Tax Foundation has provided data suggesting a strong correlation between the passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010 and the major increase in U.S. citizenship renunciations. This article discusses how the (FATCA) legislation might not be the only factor causing more people to renounce their citizenship, but it is an important contributing factor. The charts provided by the tax foundation do show a major rise in renunciations since 2010. This is going to continue to be a major issue as congress looks for ways to reform tax policy. It is important for expats living abroad to stay informed about current policies when making their decisions.

See David H. Lenok, FATCA: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?, Wealth Management, February 10, 2016.

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

February 11, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)