Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Getting Ready For The First Estate Planning Meeting

Necessary estate planningPutting together an estate plan with an estate planning attorney is an important task that everyone needs to perform. This column discusses the important steps that people should follow when they are getting ready to have their first estate planning meeting. It is important to put together a list of assets and liabilities, and also decide how to distribute personal items that might have sentimental value. People should start thinking about who has the necessary skill and willingness to serve as the personal representatives of the estate. Creating trusts for children and grandchildren might be a better alternative than distributing assets directly to them, but it is important to make sure that the person who is tasked with serving as trustee is qualified for the position. It is also extremely important for people to decide who will be making medical and financial decisions for them if they lose capacity by creating the necessary power of attorney.

See Julia Satti Cosentino, 7 Ways You Can Prepare for Your First Estate Planning Meeting, Generation to Generation, January 28, 2016.

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

February 6, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Non-Delegation Principle In Commonwealth Countries

ArticlePictureLionel Smith ( McGill University, Faculty of Law) recently published an article entitled, What is Left of the Non-Delegation Principle?, Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart, 2016, Forthcoming). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

In 1944, the House of Lords held that outside of the field of charitable bequests, a testator cannot delegate the power to select who will benefit from his estate. This holding has never been called into question by English appellate courts, and has been followed in many Commonwealth jurisdictions. If taken seriously, however, this principle would seem to exclude the possibility of giving executors, estate trustees, or other persons any discretionary powers relating to the distribution of the estate. And yet, not only were such powers taken to be valid before 1944, but a significant number of decisions afterwards have held that such powers can be created, and indeed that there is no limit on how wide they can be; a testator may create a ‘general’ power which allows the donee of the power to distribute the relevant property among anyone in the world. What, if anything, is left of the non-delegation principle? This paper synthesis several decades of case law and commentary to reach the paradoxical conclusion that the common law does, and does not, allow a testator to delegate his will-making power.

February 6, 2016 in Articles, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Avoiding Financial Mismanagement When Caring For An Aging Parent

AgingThis column discusses a common problem involving adult children with no financial management skills taking over the responsibility of caring for an aging parent with dementia. It is very important to make sure that the person who is named to have power of attorney over financial matters is competent and prepared to handle the complex responsibilities. The person who is named to be a guardian or to have a medical power of attorney also needs to be prepared. There can be terrible consequences for not making sure that the person who is named to handle these responsibilities is competent for the task. This article presents a situation where a person terribly mismanaged the financial affairs of a mother who had dementia. It is extremely important to plan ahead with a competent adviser.

See Carolyn Rosenblatt, Aging Parents And Loss Of Wealth In Widowhood, Forbes, February 5, 2016.

February 5, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What Happens If A Will Is Lost?

Last willIt can be a difficult situation if a person is not able to find the original or copies of a loved ones will. This column discusses the steps that a person should take when they lose a will to track it down. They should first check to see if the will was admitted into probate or find out of their loved one owned a safety deposit box where they might have stored the document. It is also a good idea to review the checkbook or bank statements of a deceased loved one to see if they ever paid an estate planning attorney. Reaching out to the loved one’s relatives and financial adviser is also a very good idea for a person needing to track down a missing will. If the will is not found then there is a chance that the estate may be distributed in accordance with the intestacy laws of that locality.

See Kyle E. Krull, What If My Client Can’t Find A Loved Ones Will?, Wealth Management, February 2, 2016.

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

February 4, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Advanced Planning And Probate In Texas For 2016

CLEThe State Bar of Texas is hosting a CLE entitled, Advanced Estate Planning and Probate 2016, which will take place on June 22-24, 2016 at the La Cantera Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. Provided below is a description of the event:

If you are a Real Estate Probate and Trust Law Section member, you can save up to $100! ($25 provided by REPTL) Not a member? You can join today!

Hot Topics:
Directed Trusts
Will Reformations and Will Constructions
Criminal Aspects of Guardianship
Bringing the Bling to Your Presentation
International Estate Planning
Pre-Trial Tricks, Traps, and Opportunities

Registrants of the advanced course will receive the following benefits:
Continental breakfast and lunch provided each day
Networking socials on Wednesday and Thursday evening
Complimentary self-parking at all sites
Complimentary wireless signal in the meeting room
Complimentary online registration for the Attorney Ad Litem Certification for Guardianship Proceedings

February 4, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Group Claims To Own Share Of Michael Jackson’s Estate

JacksonA group of business people are claiming to have an ownership interest in a portion of Michael Jackson’s estate. A co-executor of the Jackson estate testified that “he thought it was strange that the group claiming to own part of the Michael Jackson Co. did not come forward until three years after his death.” The group claims that in accordance with a 3:00 a.m. deal that they made with Michael Jackson in Tokyo on June 1, 2006, that they should be entitled to 15 percent of the company. The Jackson estate is asking the Court to name them the sole owner of the entity in dispute. “Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at age 50 of a drug overdose while in Los Angeles preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London.”

See Group says they own a percentage of Michael Jackson’s estate, KFI AM 640, February 2, 2016.

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

February 3, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why Selling A Life Insurance Policy Might Be Better Than Giving It Up

Life insuranceThis article discusses how many people pass of the opportunity to sell an unused life insurance policy.  “Almost 88% of life insurance policies go unused or are surrendered. Jon Sabes, CEO of GWG Holdings (GWGH - Get Report) , said many consumers are simply not aware that they have the option of cashing their policies in.”  The secondary market that exists for life insurance policies is described in this article as being similar to reverse mortgages. Life insurance is a very important part of estate planning and people with life insurance policies that they know will go unused should think about how they want to get rid of the policies. People who have life insurance policies that they know will not be used should speak with their estate planner about the options that this article mentions.

See Gregg Greenberg, Sell Your Life Insurance Policy—Don’t Just Give It Up, The Street, February 2, 2016.

February 2, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Impact Aging Has On Financial Decision-Making

AgingAs people age their ability to manage financial decisions might decline. The likelihood and severity of that decline is different for each person and could depend on a large number of different variables. This article discusses the scientific research that has been done on the impact that the aging process has on people’s cognitive ability to make financial decisions. It is important to be able to anticipate any potential health problems that might come up in the future and carefully plan ahead. People need to think about the unpleasant possibility that they might one day face cognitive decline when putting together their own estate plan. It is also crucial to get the assistance of an estate planner who has experience with helping clients plan for the possibility of a future decline in cognitive abilities.

See Ted Beck, How Aging Affects Financial Decision-Making, Forbes, February 2, 2016.

February 2, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Decisions People In Retirement Will Have To Make About Housing

For saleA very important aspect of estate planning for retirement involves planning for housing needs. Besides providing comfort and shelter, homes are also a major source of wealth for retirees. There are many expenses involved with maintaining a home that can add up to a major portion of the household budget. This article discusses the many important considerations that senior citizens will have to weigh when deciding whether to stay in their house or move. People will need to evaluate their own individual circumstances and chart out the goals that they are looking to accomplish. It is a good idea to meet with an experienced estate planner to discuss the issues that are mentioned in this article. Staying ahead of retirement planning will make things easier further down the road.

See Wade Pfau, Should I Stay or Should I Go? Housing Decisions In Retirement, Forbes, February 2, 2016.

February 2, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Disney Involved In Copyright Dispute Over ‘The Bare Necessities’

Jungle bookThe heirs of Terry Gilkyson, the composer of ‘The Bare Necessities’ which was featured in Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book,’ are claiming that Disney owes them unpaid royalties. They are seeking royalties from the DVD sales of the 2007 re-release of Disney’s animation of Rudyard Kipling’s novel. “Although the original 1967 agreement between Gilkyson and Disney did not refer explicitly to royalties made from VHS and DVD sales, the heirs argue that the “mechanical reproductions” or recordings of the music were covered under the royalty agreement of the Gilkyson estate.” A three-judge Second Appellate District panel cited to Aryeh v. Canon Bus. Solutions Inc. which held “that the doctrine of continuous accrual applies to the years of unpaid royalty at issue” in this case. The amount of damages that the plaintiffs are seeking have not been specified.

See Katelen Walsh, Disney Fighting For “The Bare Necessities,” American University Intellectual Property Brief, January 30, 2016.

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

February 1, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Music, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)