Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

CLE On The Building Blocks of Wills, Estates and Probate

CLEThe Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas is sponsoring a CLE entitled Building Blocks of Wills Estates and Probate 2016 which will take place on Friday, January 29, 2016 from 8:30AM to 4:45PM central time, online. Here are some details about the event:

New and experienced attorneys alike with an interest in starting or developing their estate planning and probate practice will find this year's live webcast useful to their practice. Our distinguished group of speakers who are experts in their field, will discuss the best solutions to many of the legal issues and practical problems that practitioners in this area will encounter daily.They will answer any questions you email in during the live webcast. Also, invaluable reference materials are included that will keep you and your practice current on the basics of estate planning, probate, Medicaid and practice management.

If you are unable to watch the live webcast on January 29th, video replays will be held in various cities in February and March, with a webcast replay on March 9th. The entire seminar will be archived later as an online class available on demand.

November 27, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Robin Williams Estate Dispute An Example Of Why Careful Estate Planning Is Important

Robin williamsI have previously discussed the claim by Robin William's widow Susan Schneider Williams that her husband suffered from Lewy body dementia. This type of dementia is a brain disease that can cause hallucinations and severe anxiety. The bitter estate feud that took place after the comedians death is a reminder of why married couples need to be prepared for the sudden and unexpected passing of a spouse. This article suggests resources that people can go to for estate planning assistance. It is also extremely important to speak with an estate planning professional to avoid the type of bitter estate disputes that are growing increasingly common.

See Kyle E. Krull, More on the Robin Williams Estate, The Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull P.A., November 24, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lawsuit By Former Girlfriend Alleges That Sumner Redstone Is Unable To Make Decisions

Sumner redstoneA former girlfriend of billionaire Sumner Redstone has filed a lawsuit alleging that the 92-year-old media mogul is mentally impaired and unable to make decisions. The lawsuit questions his ability to continue to oversee Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., which are the two media companies that Mr. Redstone controls. An attorney for Sumner Redstone has called the lawsuit “meritless” and described it as an “invasion of privacy.” Mr. Redstone is currently estimated to be worth $5.5 billion and much of his wealth is tied up in Viacom and CBS stock. Manuela Herzer was in charge of Redstone's advance healthcare directive until his decision in October to expel her from his home and life. A preliminary hearing on the lawsuit was held Wednesday morning and the sitting judge has set a scheduling conference to be held on Monday.

See Meg James, Billionaire Sumner Redstone unable to make decisions, says lawsuit by ex-girlfriend, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2015.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Guardianship, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Avoiding Unpleasant Surprises With The Inherited Roth Rollover

Adult childrenIn recent years it has become more common for people to inherit the balance of a retirement account. Clients are increasingly looking for information on what they can do with these inherited funds to maximize their future tax savings potential. The rules governing the rolling over of inherited retirement funds into an inherited Roth IRA can be complicated. This tax-savings technique can often be used if the designated beneficiary is the original account holder's spouse. This column discusses some of the pros and cons of converting to an inherited Roth. Understanding these complex rules is important for avoiding unpleasant surprises, so people should consult with an estate planning professional for more information.

See Robert Bloink and William H. Byrnes, The inherited Roth rollover: How to avoid unpleasant surprises, Life Health Pro, November 23, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 24, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Risks Involved With Purchasing Online Legal Documents

Online_willsIn order to save an increasingly number of consumers are relying on using online legal documents. Using online legal documents to avoid spending money on attorneys might seem like a good idea, but there are many inherent risks involved that could have costly consequences down the road. A flawed legal document could get rejected by a court outright and potential heirs could be left with a serious problem. If a person gets into a dispute with an online legal company they might not be able to take them to court. There are many complex estate issues that a person might have that would require the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, trying to take the easy and cheap route could be a costly mistake.

See Catey Hill, Don’t buy legal documents online without reading this story, Market Watch, November 23, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 24, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Technology, Web/Tech, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ways To Avoid Being Disinherited

Pass it onThere are many things that a person can do that can reduce the chance that they might be disinherited. Neglecting to call or visit a loved one can be one of the main factors that could cause a person to be written out of a will. People should avoid arguing with relatives about minor things or pressuring a loved one about their estate plan. Rushing to file a guardianship and conservatorship action against a relative could also lead to bitter feelings that might cause a disinheritance. Following these basics steps will help a person maintain good feelings and keep the inheritance that they are expecting.

See Will Sleeth, Ten Tips To Avoid Losing An Inheritance, Financial Advisor, November 19, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 23, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Type Of Inheritance Can PC Children Receive?

EmbryoIf a child is born after a parent's death the inheritance that they would be entitled to receive will often depend on the circumstances and the laws of the State that they are in. There has been a relatively recent phenomena of children being conceived artificially after a parent's death. These children that are conceived artificially using modern reproductive technologies are referred to as “PC children.” This article discusses the Capato decision and the implications that it had on inheritance rights and survivor benefits under Social Security for PC children. The laws are different in each state so the inheritance rights for PC children are often not clear and can create difficult situations. It is very important for people making an estate plan to define descendants in their transfer documents and to clarify the status of any PC children that they might have. The 2012 Supreme Court Decision Astrue v. Capato can be read here.

See David Shayne, Benefits Due a Child Conceived After a Parent's Death Are Uncertain, Holland & Knight, November 19, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 23, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Science, Technology, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Happens When A Person With A Mortgage Passes Away?

Mortgage2When a homeowner dies and there is still a mortgage on the house that can create complications for heirs. If the people inheriting the home do not keep up with their mortgage payments the lender could foreclose on them. Carefully planning ahead is very important for any person wishing to leave a family home to a loved one. Check to see if the mortgage contract contains a due-on-sale clause that might give the lender the right to ask the heir for the balance due. Under the Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 heirs that are closely related to the deceased can take over the mortgage. If a person is not related then the lender might let them refinance the mortgage. This column provides resources that people with mortgages can use for making estate planning decisions for their homes.

See Jim McNiff, What Happens When You Die With A Mortgage?, Total Mortgage, November 20, 2015.

November 23, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Providing For Pets After Death

Pet trustThere are many Americans that want to make sure their beloved pets will be provided for after they pass away. It is very important for people to make their wishes known by documenting how they want their pets to be provided for when they are gone. Pet owners should consider naming a beneficiary who will take care of their pet or setting up a pet trust. People should discuss their goals and objectives ahead of time with their friends and family members. It is also important for a person to decide how much control they would like to have over the continued care of their pet when they pass away. When setting up a pet trust it is extremely important to make sure that trust has the necessary funding and planning.

See How to Make Sure Your Pet Is Cared For When You Die, Time, November 18, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 22, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

About Thirty-Five Percent Of Americans Are Wasting Their Inheritance

Pass it onOver the next five to seven years as much as $1.3 trillion in wealth is expected to trickle away as people mismanage their inheritance. This article discusses statistics that show that about 35% of Americans will waste their inheritance. A groundbreaking study on cross-generational wealth transfers conducted by Ohio State University researcher Jay Zagorsky shows that even when very large bequests are at stake most if not all of the money inherited usually ends up vanishing. Setting up small trusts using a process known as a pooled trust approach can be a good way to make wealth last a long time. A special purpose trust can be used to make sure funds are allocated to pay for important things like a college education. Instead of permitting the heirs to cash out their inheritance in one lump sum a person might want to make sure to annuitize the payments.

See Scott Martin, Easy Come, Easy Go: Why 35% of Americans Squander Their Inheritance, Trust Advisor, November 18, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 21, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)