Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The World’s Seven Best Retirement Locations

BeachAccording to the 2014 Retire Overseas Index, 1.4 million Americans are choosing to retire overseas. Here are the seven best retirement locations in the world, based on cost-of-living, climate, healthcare, crime statistics, and other quality of life criteria:

  1. The Algarve, Portugal
  2. Cuenca, Ecuador
  3. George Town, Malaysia
  4. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  5. Dumaguete, Philippines
  6. Pau, France
  7. Medellin, Colombia

See Richard Eisenberg, The 7 Best Places to Retire Around the World, Forbes, Aug. 25, 2014.

August 27, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Law Urges Samsung to Spend

Samsung logo

Samsung Electronics Co. is sitting on a cash pile that is 58 percent larger than Apple Inc.’s treasure chest.  The message to South Korea’s biggest company is “use it or lose it.” 

The government of President Park Geun Hye published plans for a ten percent tax on what should be either spent on wages and investment or distributed to shareholders.  The levy could affect Samsung, which had the equivalent of $60 billion in cash and short-term investments compared to Apple that had $38 billion. 

Moon Chang Yong, head of Korean Tax Bureau, said “We’re trying to give a signal here . . .The aim is to create a virtuous cycle and recirculate corporate earnings back to households.”

Yet under the new rule, companies are unlikely to increase investments, dividends or wages significantly.  “Companies may prefer to use their internal cash reserves rather than sell bonds when they need capital expenditures and that’s what the government wants.”  As for now, it is uncertain whether the new law will lead to increases in investments and wages.

See Kyungji Cho and Cynthia Kim, Samsung Told by Korean Tax Man To Use Apple Topping Cash, Bloomberg, Aug. 20, 2014.

August 22, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 11, 2014

KiwiSaver the Ideal Retirement Plan

New Zealand

America is undeniably facing a retirement calamity.  Millions of boomers fear that they will outlive their savings.  Yet many retirement experts think New Zealand may have answers that may help avert a crisis here.   

Although New Zealand has a population of just 2% of ours, it has a similar swell of postwar boomers who were not the greatest savers.  However, the huge difference lies in the seven-year popular voluntary KiwiSaver retirement savings plan that is helping to transform its country into a nation of savers.  Everyone can have a KiwiSaver plan for life, and its transferable from job to job.  This is different from plans in the U.S. because how much you save for retirement, depends greatly on whether you work for an employer with a 401(k) type savings plan or pension plan.  “Only about half of the U.S. workforce actually has access to an employer retirement savings plan or pension.” 

The KiwiSaver has been “the most successful savings scheme in the last 100 years.”  Since its inception, 2.3 New Zealanders have signed up.

See Richard Harris, Why New Zealand’s Retirement System Works So Well, Market Watch, Aug. 5, 2014.

August 11, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Retirement Living Abroad


Many Americans dream about living overseas, yet do not realize that living is different than visiting.  Before you retire to a foreign country, consider not just weather and cost of living, but also healthcare; safety; tax and visa requirements; and how friendly the country is to foreigners.  Depending on your goals, here are some possibilities:

  • Establish a base for traveling abroad.  Culture, history and cuisine make Europe a popular draw for many North Americans.  Yet, if high dollar areas like Paris are not in your budget, consider a place where your money will go further.  These may include Brussels, Vienna and Dublin.  You may even consider areas throughout Spain. 
  • Experience a small-town life.  This idea can be appealing to people seeking foreign culture in a more intimate setting.  Colonials are grabbing cottages that have come on the market as the French and Italian countryside grays.  Prices are stagnant in both countries, thus the areas offer great values. 
  • More bang for your buck.  Mexican cities of San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca and Guanajuanto have been popular with cost-conscious retirees.  Those loving eco-tourism are also drawn to Costa Rica and Ecuador. 

See Deborah L. Jacobs, The Best Foreign Retirement Havens, Forbes.


August 6, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Succession Planning in Taiwan

Taiwan Man

After starting with almost nothing, successful entrepreneurs now run some of Taiwan’s largest companies.  These firms have helped propel Taiwan’s rapid economic growth over the past decades, and are crucial to maintaining the island’s future. 

Yet some analysts estimate that only one third of these family run companies, which account for up to 90% of the island’s business, have a succession plan.  “In Taiwan, though, it’s still the emperor’s style of succession.  No-one outside can tell what will happen—it’s the founder’s decision.”

It is a traditional Chinese approach for founders to divide the family firm up between their children however, this tradition has divided companies.  Many Taiwanese companies have become so large that younger family members have been incapable of taking a leadership role.  “Family businesses are definitely very important in Taiwan and across Asia because they control a lot of resources . . . And if they make the wrong decisions . . . the whole economy will suffer a lot.”  Because many first generation entrepreneurs are workaholics, they have difficulty relinquishing their position as they want to make major decisions for their company.  Consequently, their successor does not have the opportunity to handle the whole company. 

See Cindy Sui, The Tricky Business of Succession Planning in Taiwan, BBC News, July 30, 2014.

July 31, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

CLE on International Trust and Estate Planning

CLE Photo

The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) is holding a CLE entitled, International Trust and Estate Planning, on October 20-21 in San Francisco, CA.  Here is why you should attend:

If you provide tax and trust advice to U.S. clients with international connections or to foreign clients with U.S. connections (or you don’t currently counsel such clients, but wish to start doing so), you must attend this program! 

Set in San Francisco, International Trust and Estate Planning comprises more than 13 hours of instruction, including two hours of ethics, and gives attendees the tools they need to not only stay competitive, but also to practically advise clients on rapidly-changing legislative, regulatory, and enforcement developments in this complex area. 

An all-star faculty – including a representative of the Internal Revenue Service who addresses current offshore compliance and enforcement initiatives – examines the practical application of the complex U.S. income, gift, and estate tax rules affecting noncitizens living or investing in the U.S., or U.S. clients with foreign property, foreign financial accounts, interests in foreign entities, or who are beneficiaries of foreign trusts or trust-like vehicles. The course also includes segments focusing on country-specific developments outside the U.S., and multi-national initiatives related to tax compliance, bank secrecy, and the prevention of money laundering.         

In addition to the critical substantive information presented through an engaging, interactive format, registrants have the unique opportunity to discuss their legal questions and network with faculty members and attendees from around the world.

July 20, 2014 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Article on the U.S. Foreign Death Tax Credit


Brandon A.S. Ross (Proskauer Rose LLP) recently published an article entitled, Practical Pointers to Obtain the U.S. Foreign Death Tax Credit, 28 Prob. & Prop. 60 (May/June 2014).  Provided below is the introduction:

With the rise of internationalization, the use of the U.S. foreign death tax credit (the “Credit”) has grown.  The Credit is available for U.S. citizens or residents to avoid double taxation of certain property located outside of the United States at death.  The Credit applies to a transfer of property at death that is subject to a transfer tax substantially similar to the U.S. federal estate tax levied by the foreign country, state, jurisdiction, or political subdivision based on the property’s location in that foreign jurisdiction.  For purposes of this article, the terms “foreign country,” “state,” “jurisdiction,” or “political subdivision” are used interchangeably.  The Credit’s usefulness has increased as society has globalized and advances in technology have made the world smaller.  Despite the Credit’s enlarged role in estates, guidance for the Credit’s use from the IRS, the Department of the Treasury, and the courts is scarce.  This article offers some practical pointers to obtain the Credit.

May 8, 2014 in Articles, Estate Tax, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

10 Best Retirement States

Happy RetirementBankrate, a financial services company, has compiled a list of the 10 best states to retire in based on weather, taxes, cost of living, crime rates, quality of healthcare, and general well-being. Surprisingly, Florida and California did not make the list. The states that ranked highest in the compiled criteria for best retirement environment are:

  1.  South Dakota
  2. Colorado
  3. Utah
  4. North Dakota
  5. Wyoming
  6. Nebraska
  7. Montana
  8. Idaho
  9. Iowa
  10. Virginia

 See Melanie Hicken, The Best States to Retire in Are a Little Surprising, CNN, May 5, 2014.


May 6, 2014 in Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Article on Will Contests in France


Margaret Ryznar (Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law) & Angelique Devaux (French Licensed Attorney (Diplômée Notaire)) recently published an article entitled, Au Revoir, Will Contests: Comparative Lessons for Preventing Will Contests, 14 Nev. L.J. 1 (Fall 2013).  Provided below is their introduction:

Despite the continuous evolution of American probate law, will contests remain common and there is no assurance that a will, once executed, will ultimately be upheld. In fact, it is not clear that will contests have even been effectively minimized. The most common grounds for will contests are undue influence, testamentary capacity, and fraud, allegations of which invalidate many wills today. Such contests have significant costs, which include the failure to give effect to the testator's intent, high litigation and decision costs, and the use of limited judicial resources. As a result, one of the most significant challenges in American probate law is the frequent inability to honor testamentary intent due to will contests brought by disgruntled relatives and friends. 

In contrast, France's legal system has nearly eliminated will contests on the grounds of undue influence and fraud. In French wills law, very few cases arise involving litigation of the validity of a will, and, of those that do, all concern issues of conformity with formalities rather than lack of capacity, fraud, or undue influence. While France is currently addressing other issues in its wills law, those related to will contests have largely been resolved.

In general, French wills law is far more dynamic in comparison to its American counterpart, largely due to the influence of those who draft wills, known as notaires. Notaires raise substantive legal issues at annual conventions arising from their work with clients, contributing to the development of the law. This process has contributed to the near elimination of will contests based on fraud and duress.

The introduction of a separate system of professionals like the notaires would be difficult given the role of American attorneys and the federalist system that facilitates the development of state wills law. Nevertheless, there are several key elements of the French system that could be introduced to decrease the number of American will contests. These insights can provide guidance for the states to improve their wills law.

In exploring how the American probate system could benefit from certain aspects of its French counterpart, Part II of this article addresses the current American law that facilitates will contests despite efforts to prevent them. Part III analyzes France's more successful efforts to prevent will contests. Finally, Part IV considers the lessons from a comparative analysis of American and French wills law for the prevention of will contests.

May 4, 2014 in Articles, Travel, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book on International Estate Planning

International Estate Planning Barbara Hauser recently published a book entitled, International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide, (August 2013).  Provided below is a description of the book found on the Juris Publishing, Inc. Web Store:

International Estate Planning is a practical and authoritative guide to a tremendously complex field. It provides indispensable information to lawyers, accountants, and other practitioners who work on estate planning with clients who have issues involving other countries. The book is divided into two main parts: Part One addresses the tax issues; Part Two addresses the non-tax issues. The focus of the book is on estate planning to avoid wealth transfer taxes with references to income taxes.

Topics include clients who may:
• Own homes outside the U.S.
• Have children or parents who live in other countries
• Have a spouse who is not a citizen
• Work for a multinational corporation in an office abroad
• Be “foreigners” who have investments in the United States 

May 1, 2014 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)