Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CLE on Estate Administration Boot Camp

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Estate Administration Boot Camp, which will take place on Thursday, August 16, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas - Love Field in Dallas, TX. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Everything You Need to Know About Effectively Administering an Estate

Are you fully confident in your knowledge of the latest court and tax rules and the most effective transfer tools to ensure each client's estate is laid to rest according to the decedent's wishes, with minimal tax burden? This comprehensive 2-day instruction will give you all the skills you need to administer estates that include trusts and/or business interests without a hitch. Register today!

  • Don't miss any crucial notice and filing requirements when opening the estate - learn what must be done right away.
  • Get helpful forms and checklists that will help you in administration.
  • Understand how income and estate tax deductions interact and find the most advantageous way to structure the tax returns
  • Learn how to use disclaimers more effectively.
  • Clarify what must be done when the trust becomes irrevocable.
  • Protect your professional reputation with a practical legal ethics guide focused on trusts and estates practice.
  • Prevent mistakes in final petition and ensure each estate is closed quickly and without disputes.

Who Should Attend

This two-day, basic level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants/CPAs
  • Enrolled Agents
  • Certified Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers/Administrators/Managers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

DAY 1

  • Forms of Administration and When They are Used
  • First Steps and Notices, Executor Duties, Opening the Estate
  • Marshalling the Assets
  • Key Intestacy Laws You Must Know
  • Handling Debts and Claims Against the Estate
  • Spouse Elective Share and Disclaimers
  • Trusts That Affect Estate Administration

DAY 2

  • Income Tax Returns
  • Portability and Estate, Gift, GST Taxes
  • Business Interests in Estate Administration
  • Legal Ethics in Estate Administration
  • Closing the Estate and Final Accounting
  • Estate and Trust Contests, Disputes, Challenges

Continuing Education Credit

 

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 12.00 -  OH*
CLE 12.00 -  TX*

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 1.20

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants: 14.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

August 16, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Article on The Anglo American Origin of the Latin American Fideicomiso (Trust): Reasons and Implications

Globe-map-of-south-american-countriesSergio Rodriguez-Azuero recently published an Article entitled, The Anglo American Origin of the Latin American Fideicomiso (Trust): Reasons and Implications, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The Latin American fideicomiso (trust) is a very important legal institution in the region, since most commercial and financial transactions are entered into through this legal device. Two countries that provide strong evidence about the importance of this mechanism are Mexico and Colombia. By the end of 2015, the total value of assets managed under this legal device in Mexico and Colombia was about 55% and 47% of the GDP of these countries, respectively. Based on a comparative analysis of the Latin American fideicomiso, with particular focus on the Colombia experience, this paper argues that, unlike it has been traditional assumed, the Latin American fideicomiso does not have civil law origins. Indeed, we will provide arguments to support the Anglo American origin of this legal decide, despite the fact that Colombia (and most Latin American countries) has civil law origins. We support our statement on various relevant facts that shows that the features of the Latin American fideicomiso differ from those existing in civil law sources. First, the Anglo American notion of trust recognizes that the assets managed under this legal device are not part of the Trustee’s patrimony. They are independent. And this feature is not found in the fideicomiso existing in the civil law tradition. Second, most Latin American countries derive from the Napoleon Code. However, this institution is not found in this Code. Third, after analyzing the particular features of the trust, we find that, in addition to the notion of trust, other elements of this Anglo American institution are found in the Latin American fideicomiso, such as the structure of the agreement, the parties and the trustee’s duties. These findings may have two primary implications. First, even though most Latin American countries have always been classified as “civil law countries”, a deeper understanding of some Latin American legal institutions –such as the fideicomiso– may show that, in practice, these origins may be closer to the Anglo Saxon tradition than it seems. Second, if, as we argue, the Latin American fideicomiso has Anglo Saxon origins (rather than civil law origins), it could be changed the way courts and legal scholars have traditionally interpreted the Latin American trust. Therefore, when interpreting the features and origins of this legal device, instead of looking at the Roman-German tradition, Latin American courts and legal scholars should look at the Anglo Saxon trust.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 14, 2017 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carrie Fisher's Daughter Billie Lourd Will Inherit Nearly $7 Million

0809-carrie-fisher-billie-lourde-tmz-7Billie Lourd, daughter of Carrie Fisher, is set to inherit nearly $7 million of personal property left to her by her mother. $6.8 million is a relatively substantial inheritance, but it is quite diminutive in comparison to the $2 billion in revenue earned by the latest Star Wars film in which Fisher played. It is possible there is additional money that has been left in trust, which would not be reflected in the probate of Fisher’s will.

See Carrie Fisher's Daughter Billie Lourd Will Inherit Nearly $7 Million, TMZ, August 9, 2017.

August 14, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Rules on Tax Ramifications of Incomplete Non-Grantor Trust

Farm-Agriculture-Cartoon-059The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) addressed income and gift-tax consequences relating to an incomplete non-grantor trust in PLR 201729009. In the case at issue, the settlor created an irrevocable trust in order to benefit himself, his wife, charitable organizations, siblings, and children. The trust instrument provided for a Distribution Committee to disperse income and principal from the trust to named beneficiaries for their health, education, maintenance, and support (HEMS).

After a request for rulings, the IRS concluded that the settlor’s contributions to the trust did not qualify as a gift for federal gift-tax purposes. This characterization entails that distributions from the trust will be treated as a return of the settlor’s property and, as such, will be included in the settlor’s gross estate upon death.

The IRS ruling also held that the powers maintained by the Distribution Committee were such that transfers to the trust were not complete with respect to the trust’s income interest; the relationship between the settlor and the committee allowed the settlor to retain too much power over distributions of income and principal.

See Jillian Merns, IRS Rules on Tax Ramifications of Incomplete Non-Grantor Trust, Wealth Management.com, August 2, 2017.

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

August 14, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

You and the Law: Planning for the Expected Unexpected

AdobeStock_70242561-1024x808Considering one’s mortality can be an unsettling prospect. This natural aversion to discussing what will happen upon death leads many to avoid conversations about wills, trusts, assets, and final expenses. While such conversations may be uncomfortable, dying without an estate plan creates additional headaches for spouses and children that can add frustration and guilt onto their already-present sense of bereavement and loss.

In a modern arena, dying without a will offers problems unique to our technological age. Not disclosing or sharing online financial information may leave some assets overlooked. When passwords and usernames are not accessible, social media pages remain in stasis as heirs look for a means to close accounts.  

See H. Dennis Beaver, You and the Law: Planning for the Expected Unexpected, Times Standard, July 31, 2017.

August 13, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CLE on Trusts 101

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Trusts 101, which will take place August 10, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown Hotel in Austin, TX. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Provide your clients with the full spectrum of wealth preservation options.

When assessing complex information, it often helps to break items into basic building blocks. The same approach can be successful when dealing with asset protection. Be prepared for specific challenges associated with various types of trusts by understanding their unique characteristics. Our intensive full-day primer will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the wide variety of trusts available. Register today!

  • Determine what role the settlor will play by weighing the pros and cons of establishing an irrevocable trust over a revocable trust.
  • Learn what not to do when selecting and drafting a revocable trust to avoid common mistakes.
  • Learn how to choose the most beneficial vehicle for preserving your client's wealth: understand the purpose behind the various types of irrevocable trusts.
  • Explore the powers and duties of personal representatives in irrevocable trusts.
  • Save money on taxes with effective use of defective trusts.
  • Learn why it's important to know when to file the tax return for grantor trusts.
  • Determine whether a client qualifies as a beneficiary of a special needs trust.
  • Don't reinvent the wheel - modify our sample trust documents and use our drafting tips to create airtight trusts.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar is designed for the professionals involved in creating, administering and terminating trusts:

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Trust Officers
  • Financial Planners
  • Tax Preparers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Where to Begin? - An Overview of Trusts
  2. Revocable Living Trusts
  3. Trusts Used for Tax Reduction
  4. Grantor Trusts
  5. Estate Planning for the Disabled
  6. Ethical Considerations

Continuing Education Credit

 

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.75 *

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 8.00

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.70

National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. – NALA: 6.50 *

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants: 8.00 *

National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. – NFPA

Professional Achievement in Continuing Education – PACE: 8.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

August 12, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Estate Planning Is Not Just For The Ultra-Rich Anymore

ArnoldEstate planning has been historically associated with those who have enough assets to justify the expense of hiring an attorney. The complexities of drafting a will and establishing trusts for beneficiaries can be very expensive. As many families are discovering though, you do not have to have a large estate for family members to start fighting over money or grandma’s antique boudoir furniture.

Given the odd and materially ravenous nature family members can assume after a loved-one’s death, it is important for those with even modest wealth to do some estate planning. The most important part of an estate plan is a will. While some assume their state’s intestacy scheme will pretty much follow their final wishes, there can be some unexpected surprises. In Texas, for example, if there are children from a prior marriage, your spouse will not receive any part of your community property. This can be extremely problematic if a decedent’s assets are illiquid and the surviving spouse is forced to sell a home or business to pay taxes and divide the property.

Setting up a trust may be beneficial if you are interested in giving away assets to beneficiaries with certain restrictions on how the assets will be used. This is especially useful when you want to take care of a child or grandchild that has proven to be financially illiterate or has interests that actively impair their decision-making skills. Trusts may also be used as tax shelters in some circumstances. Finally, designate a power of attorney. It is extremely important to have someone that you can trust readily available to make decisions for you in case of incapacity.

See Ernie Burns, Estate Planning Is Not Just For The Ultra-Rich Anymore, Financial Advisor, August 3, 2017.

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

 

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

 

August 10, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Article on Foreign Trusts, the Panama Papers and the Shewan Report

Michael Littlewood recently published an Article entitled, Foreign Trusts, the Panama Papers and the Shewan Report, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The New Zealand tax system is so structured as to allow the country to be used as a tax haven. Specifically, it allows foreigners to use trusts established in New Zealand (referred to as “foreign trusts”) to avoid and evade the tax they would otherwise have to pay in their home country. It would seem possible, too, for foreigners to use such trusts for other illicit purposes, in particular money-laundering and financing terrorism. In April 2016 the publicity given to the so-called Panama Papers attracted attention to this aspect of the New Zealand tax system. The government responded by appointing a distinguished Wellington accountant, John Shewan, to advise. He recommended that the law be changed and the government accepted his recommendations. This article explains how the foreign trust rules work, and how the amending legislation is designed to preclude this form of abuse.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

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

August 8, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hated Estate Tax Valuation Rules On Trump's Hit List

6bd08f12115b5a9d70be6ce51169107bFamily business owners and their allies are trying to block rules proposed during the Obama-era that would curb valuation discounts and lead to increased estate taxes. Proponents for the rules claim it would end a loophole for the wealthy. With the discounts, family businesses are able to value their assets at reduced levels. This allows them to pass on their hard-earned wealth to beneficiaries free from some estate and gift taxes. Much of the conversation would be moot if President Trump is able to get rid of the estate tax. With this, the safest course of action is to undertake valuations based on current law. Even if repeal were to occur, it is not guaranteed to be permanent.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Hated Estate Tax Valuation Rules On Trump's Hit List, Forbes, August 1, 2017.

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

August 7, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Article on Hitting Bottom in 17 States and the Suppression of Liability

States-with-dapt-provisionsDavid J. Cook recently published an Article entitled, Hitting Bottom in 17 States and the Suppression of Liability, 43 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 277-291 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article explains that Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs) introduce liability districts that create a new marketplace that attract capital in flight from creditors of a highly distressed debtor. A "liability district" is a jurisdiction that suppresses liability by immunizing the assets of a debtor from local civil enforcement of a judgment. While the DAPT debtor thwarts enforcement and suppresses the debtor's liability, the true beneficiary is the liability district and its constituent members including attorneys, professional trustees, banks, and financial advisors. As a contributing factor to Adam Smith's "invisible hand" in the marketplace, DAPTs open the door for fleeing capital to the liability districts for sovereign and nearly "judgment proof" safekeeping. DAPTs suppress liability and give near immunity from enforcement under a civil judgment, which is all closely analogous to the state legislatures who suppressed voter turnout from 2008 to 2016.

 

August 6, 2017 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)