Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book on Statutes on Trusts & Estates

Selected statuteMark L. Ascher & Grayson M.P. McCouch recently published a book entitled, Selected Statutes on Trusts and Estates (2017). Provided below is a summary of the book:

This casebook statutory supplement meets the needs of students in basic and advanced courses on wills, trusts, decedents' estates, fiduciary administration, and future interests, providing a compendium of essential uniform act provisions and official comments. It covers a wide range of topics, including intestacy, wills, rules of construction, probate administration, nonprobate transfers, disclaimers, principal and income, prudent investments, perpetuities, trust formation and modification, spendthrift and discretionary trusts, trustee powers and duties, powers of appointment, and powers of attorney. The previous edition has been updated to include amendments to the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Custodial Trust Act, and the Uniform Power of Attorney Act.

April 17, 2017 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joe Jackson Is Now an Ally of the Michael Jackson Estate

Joe jacksonMichael Jackson’s father is now an ally to his son’s estate after once being its archenemy, claiming that the estate was robbing members of his family. Remembering back, Michael cut his father out of his will along with his brothers and sisters, igniting a legal battle in which his father claimed the will was fraudulent. However, some recent events have changed Joe’s tune—the estate paid his medical bills in 2015 after he had a stroke, the Michael Jackson documentary produced by the estate portrayed him in a favorable light, and he came to believe that the estate was taking excellent care of Katherine and Michael’s three children.

See Joe Jackson Now Solidly Behind MJ Estate, TMZ, April 10, 2017.

April 17, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jimmy Breslin Leaves Entire Estate to His Wife

BreslinLate Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin left his entire estate to his wife, with his intellectual property totaling $99,000 in copyrights. Specifically, recent court documents reveal that Breslin left all of his intellectual property to the Jimmy Breslin Literary Trust, and his will indicated that the entirety of the trust’s income is to be paid to his wife. When his wife passes away, 70% of the trust’s income will go to his four children, and the remaining 30% will go to his six grandchildren.

See Victoria Bekiempis, Late Daily News Columnist Jimmy Breslin Left Entire Estate to His Second Wife, Daily News, April 10, 2017.

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

April 12, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How to Prevent Family Feuds in Estate Planning

Family feudsIn the news, we often are witness to frequent celebrity estate battles, but we are rarely aware of such feuds amongst typical American families. As complex family structures become more common, estate planners will need to ensure appropriate measures that will help prevent conflicts among family members. Oftentimes, it will be important to the preservation of the family to memorialize estate intentions and communicate those intentions to the heirs. Another key to creating less animosity amongst family members is to select the right fiduciary to administer the estate and effectively communicate the wishes. And as always, clients must be reminded to periodically review and update their estate planning documents, especially upon significant life events.

See Anna Sulkin, How to Prevent Feuds Among Heirs, Wealth Management, April 10, 2017.

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

April 11, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Heartbroken Mother Shares Moment Son Wrote a Will in Final Moments of Cancer Battle

NolanRuth Scully shared an emotional Facebook post about her son, Nolan, who died of cancer at age four, revealing the pain of watching her child suffer and the final miracle before losing him. Approximately an hour before Nolan passed away, he filled out a will, detailing how he wanted his funeral, picking his pallbearers, the dress attire for the funeral, what he would leave to each family member, and how he wanted to be remembered as a policeman. Nolan’s miracle occurred when he was in his last moments of life, managing to open his eyes one last time, smile, and say “I love you, Mommy.”

See Emma Reynolds, ‘I Love You Mommy’: Heartbroken Mother Shares 4-Year-Old Son’s Final Moments of Cancer Battle, Fox News, April 7, 2017.

April 9, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Opening Communication Channels for the Great Wealth Transfer

Great wealth transferThe great wealth transfer is upon us, but the generations involved are not communicating about it. Unfortunately, most heirs are unprepared to preserve and grow the wealth their predecessors have garnered. Approximately $4 trillion will be passed on to the next generations throughout the next decade, so it is important for the benefactors to talk to their heirs about managing the money. A study shows that 30% of benefactors have no plan for transferring wealth and another 40% only have a will or some basic document. Further, only 37% have actually talked to their heirs about family money and their intentions. If the communication channels are not opened, families risk losing their wealth through bad decisions within one to two generations.

See Karen Demasters, Open Channels, Private Wealth, March 21, 2017.

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

April 2, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

President James K. Polk's Body to Be Moved a Fourth Time

James polkRepresenting one of the more tangled dramas of an American presidential corpse, the 11th President of the United States, James K. Polk, now faces the prospect of being disinterred and buried at a fourth place since his death in 1849. A proposal is making its way through the Tennessee legislature, which calls for digging up the bodies of the late President and his wife and moving them to a final resting place at a Polk family home in Columbia, Tennessee. Supporters of the move say that it will properly honor Polk, a president they say was unjustly overlooked. Opponents of the move exclaim that it would be disrespectful, as Polk’s body has rested on Capitol grounds for 124 years. The state Senate voted on the resolution this past Monday, but in order to disinter the remains, there will need to be approval from the state’s House, governor, the Tennessee Historical Commission, and a local judge.

See Richard Fausset, President James K. Polk’s Body May Be Moved. Again., N.Y. Times, March 24, 2017.

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

March 29, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Musts for Your Estate Plan

Estate plan without willThroughout the years, you spend time accumulating bank and brokerage accounts, real estate, retirement accounts, annuities, and other assets, so it is not uncommon to forget to update important information, like who are the beneficiaries and how your assets are titled. Securing your estate in these ways can help to quickly transfer your assets to loved ones, perhaps avoid probate, and even reduce estate taxes.

Specifically, there are two key features that can help you avoid probate and potentially limit taxes for your heirs: joint ownership and naming a “transfer on death” or “payable on death” beneficiary. There are several ways to structure joint ownership, all of which can create varying consequences. The three ways to title a joint account are joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, tenancy by entirety, and tenancy in common. Further, another simple step to help avoid probate is to name someone as a transfer on death beneficiary or payable on death beneficiary. However, there are a couple major drawbacks to designating assets in this way, including that these titled assets override whatever is stated in a will and can incur estate taxes. Ultimately, you should speak with an estate-planning attorney to help meet all of your estate planning goals.

See Estate Planning Must Dos, Fidelity, March 27, 2017.

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

March 29, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Article on Wills, Trusts, Guardianships, and Fiduciary Administration

SurveyMary F. Radford recently published an Article entitled, Wills, Trusts, Guardianships, and Fiduciary Administration, 68 Mercer L. Rev. 321 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This Article describes selected cases and significant legislation from the period of June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016 that pertain to Georgia fiduciary law and estate planning.

March 28, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Phyllis Schlafly's Children Are at War over Their Inheritance

SchlaflyThe children of late conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly are ignited in a legal battle over their inheritance, which has continued ever since their mother expressed her support for Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries. Schlafly’s daughter filed legal documents this week, alleging that her brother sabotaged her inheritance by influencing their mother to change her will before she died. Specifically, the daughter claims that the will was amended to include a clause that states any legal disputes must be paid out of their inheritance. Further, Schlafly’s daughter has fought to ban her mother’s “hand picked successor” from using her mother’s legacy to raise money

See Jennifer Smith, Children of Late Conservative Icon Phyllis Schlafly at War over Their Inheritance and Have Been Fighting Since She Threw Her Support Behind Donald Trump, Daily Mail, March 23, 2017.

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

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)