Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Trustees with Special Skills

Special skill trusteeIf you are a trustee with a special skill, you are expected to use it. For example, if you are a lawyer or a CPA, you have a higher degree of knowledge on certain issues, and you are expected to use those professional skills. Commonly, we see these professionals acting as trustees, and if something were to go wrong within that role, the trustee will be judged on a higher standard than an ordinary trustee. To have the benefit of these specialists, however, can really help in trust administration. To help protect a skilled trustee, it is important to have a process in place on how to manage trust assets and make decisions for the trust.

See California Trust and Probate Litigation, A Trustee’s Duty to Use Special Skill, Wealth Management, July 26, 2016.

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

July 29, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Framework of Charitable Trust in Common Law

Charitable trustOonagh B. Breen recently published an Article entitled, Guardians of the Charitable Realm: Charitable Trust Supervision Practice and Procedure in the Common Law World, European R. Private L. (Forthcoming); UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-legal Studies Research Paper No. 11/2016. Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article examines the control framework for the supervision and oversight of charitable trusts in the common law world. It outlines the fundamental differences between private and public trusts that necessitate a separate enforcement regime for charitable trusts and explores the historical and political powers and duties of the Attorney General as parens patriae of charities. In light of the limitations of the Attorney General’s effective scrutiny, Part II considers the emergence of alternative charity regulators - from tax authorities to independent charity commissions - comparing the relative regulatory achievements of these agencies with that of the AG. Part III turns its attention to the role of the courts and tribunals in the enforcement of the interests of donors, beneficiaries and charitable entities. The article concludes in Part IV with a discussion of the merits and demerits of the charitable trust vis-à-vis the public benefit foundation.

July 29, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

How to Protect Your Assets When Getting Remarried

RemarriedThe biggest estate-planning question when getting remarried is, how do I reconcile preserving assets for my children from a previous marriage while still taking care of my commitment to my new spouse? Usually, heirs fear the new spouse because most all states give rights to a spouse to take some part of the decedent spouse’s estate. An ex-spouse could also still hold they key to certain assets if your estate-planning documents are not up to date before passing. Therefore, consider updating your estate-planning documents, including provisions about your new spouse as executor, the holding of assets individually or jointly, your new spouse on deeds, and specific bequeaths to children from previous marriages. Additionally, there are some common estate-planning mistakes after remarrying that you should avoid, such as no prenuptial, no verbal instructions to loved ones, and no planning for long-term care.

See Deborah Nason, Getting Remarried? Protect Your Assets and Your Interests, CNBC, July 28, 2016.

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

July 28, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on an Interview About the History of Trusts & Estates Law

Trusts and estate lawBridget J. Crawford recently published an Article entitled, On Perpetuities, Paradigms, and a Creative Life in the Law, 152 Tax Notes, No.289 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

In this interview with Professor Bridget Crawford, retired estate planning attorney Jonathan Blattmachr discusses a variety of compelling (and not uncontroversial) topics including estate planning paradigms, asset protection trusts, community property and the repeal of the rule against perpetuities. Mr. Blattmachr played a key role in drafting the Alaska Trust Act (1997) and the ultimate adoption of consensual community property in Alaska. This interview serves as an important primary source for anyone interested in the evolution of American trusts and estates law over the last 20 years. Mr. Blattmachr details the origins of his interest in trust law reform, highlights from his career, and how conventional ways of thinking thwart legal innovation.

July 28, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hershey Trust to Reform Its Governance

HersheybarHershey Trust Co. reached a provisional agreement with the Pennsylvania attorney general to reform the governance practices of the $12 billion charity, which controls the Hershey chocolate company. The trust has faced allegations of arbitrary, extreme spending by board members who control the company through voting shares. The chocolate giant has been seen as a takeover target for quite some time now.

See Nick Turner, Hershey Trust Reaches Tentative Deal to Reform Its Governance, Bloomberg, July 23, 2016.

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

July 26, 2016 in Current Events, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Estate Planning for Your Move to a New State

Moving to a new stateIf you plan on moving to a new state, then you need to consider the new state’s rules governing your estate planning documents and taxes. Before moving to a new state, you should meet with your estate planning attorney to change your wills and trusts according to the new state’s laws. Also, it is important to review the roles of fiduciaries in that particular state because of specific executor requirements.

Furthermore, when moving to a new state, there are also tax implications you must review, and some states have significant variations. For tax purposes, you must be able to prove you abandoned your previous domicile and adopted the new domicile. This is important because, if not, you may still be liable for your old domicile’s income taxes or unexpected estate taxes.

See Day Pitney Estate Planning Update, Estate Planning Update July 2016 – Moving to a New State?, Day Pitney LLP, July 14, 2016.

Special thanks to Jay Stapleton (Quinn & Hary Marketing) for bringing this Article to my attention.

July 22, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Leave an Animal Legacy

Zoo trustAnimals hold special places in our hearts, and oftentimes we want these memories to continue even after we are gone. Perhaps, you want your love for animals to progress through wildlife preservation or a pet trust. For example, one woman set up a trust to create an endowment fund, which named the Arkansas Zoological Foundation as the beneficiary. She was able to preserve her memory by allowing the zoo’s outreach and animal research to continue beyond her passing. Whatever the case may be there are definitely ways to plan for your appreciation for animals in your estate plan.

See Kyle Krull, Can an Animal Lover Leave a Legacy?, Kyle E. Krull Blog, July 8, 2016.

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

July 22, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Effects of Creating a Pet Trust

Pet trustsPets play an important role in our life, and we know that we can set up pet trusts to benefit their future after the owner’s passing. These trusts, however, are often subject to challenge because heirs usually want to see those assets allocated elsewhere. This is why it is essential that you comply with the legal requirements and specificity of your state statute. Additionally, for administration purposes to make sure the pet trust does not exceed a reasonable value for its intended use, a court will strictly construe the terms of the pet trust and closely scrutinize the actions of its trustee.

See Gullet Stanford Robinson & Martin, Estate Planning for Pet Owners, Lexology, July 19, 2016.

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

July 21, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book on Estate Planning Guide for Qualified Retirement Plan Benefits

Retirement book Louis A. Mezzullo recently published a book entitled, An Estate Planner’s Guide to Qualified Retirement Plan Benefits, Fifth Edition (ABA Book Publishing). Provided below is a summary of the book:

This ABA bestseller has helped thousands of estate planners understand the complex rules and regulations governing qualified retirement plan distributions and IRAs. Now newly updated, An Estate Planner’s Guide to Qualified Retirement Benefits provides expert and current guidance for structuring benefits from qualified retirement plans and IRAs, consistently relating key distribution issues to current estate planning practice. Topics covered include:

  • The different types of qualified plans and the tax and non-tax rules relating to them
  • The forms of distribution and the situations in which they need to be considered
  • Penalty taxes
  • Distribution requirements and how to calculate them
  • Income taxation and handling rollovers
  • Transfer taxes
  • Spousal rights, QDROs, and community property considerations
  • Estate and trust administration issues
  • Practical planning strategies to avoid penalty and excise taxes on distributions while incurring the lowest income tax

July 18, 2016 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Real Estate Investment Trusts Effect

REITKiat Ying Seah, James D. Shilling, Tien Foo Sing, & Long Wang recently published an Article entitled, ‘REITarization’ Effects on Global Real Estate Investments, (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The creation of real estate investment trusts (REITs) facilitates the conversion of illiquid commercial real estate assets into liquid tradable securities in the public market space. The process increases liquidity and generates significant growth in cross-border real estate transactions. This study uses a large sample of proprietary commercial real estate transactions data from more than 73 countries within the sample period of 2001 through 2015. We investigate the impact of REIT creation on international real estate capital flows. Using non-REIT countries as the control group, we show that REITs open a new channel to attract institutional investments in real estate. New investments in real estate by both local institutional investors and foreign investors increase in REIT countries relative to non-REIT countries. The results imply that there is no substitution effects of REITs on private real estate market activities. We also find no evidence of “crowding out” effects on local investors, as we do not observe significant changes in the outflows of real estate capital. The relatively large increases in domestic real estate investments have caused declines in the shares of cross-border real estate capital flows in the post-REIT regime.

July 18, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)