Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

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)