Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stock Certificate Find Reopens Estate Of Legendary Lawman

Article PictureThe estate of legendary prohibition enforcer Elliot Ness has been reopened after the find of a stock certificate in a forgotten box of personal effects. The stock is in the security company Diebold and could be worth thousands of shares after decades of splits. However, Diebold denies the validity of the certificate stating no record exist that any stock was issued to Ness even though he was a director of the company. In any case, it wont be any close relations of the lawman that might gain from the discovery, the heirs are cousins of his third wife and can be heard laughing two counties in every direction.

See Heirs of famed Prohibition agent find lost stock certificate that could net $1m, The Guardian, July 3, 2015.

July 5, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Top Concerns Of Ultra-High Net Worth Families

Estate planningThe “U.S. Trust 2015 Insights on Wealth and Worth” survey has gained insight on some of the top concerns of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) families.  These concerns range from personal physical and emotional health, to also having a desire to give back to society through charitable giving.  One of the main things that UHNW families worry about is whether their children will manage the inheritance left to them in a responsible manner.  There are financial techniques like setting up trusts that UHNW families can use to help provide guidance to future beneficiaries. 

See Maureen Nevin Duffy, Kids A Top Worry Of Rich Families, Survey Says, Private Wealth, June 23, 2015.

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

July 3, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Portion Of Millionaires Have No Estate Plan

SavingsMore than a third of millionaires have not consulted with a financial planner to set up an estate plan.  Procrastination is a problem that has an effect on people in all income groups.  Recent changes in tax policies have created a sense of “estate planning fatigue” with some wealthy families.  Not having an estate plan can result in “complete chaos” as loved ones who are left behind fight over the estate.  It is a good idea for wealthy individuals to consult with a professional estate planner so that they can be prepared for the future.

See Alex Padalka, One-Third of Millionaires Have No Estate Plan, Financial Advisor IQ, July 2, 2015.

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

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Advanced Texas Estate Planning & Probate

CLE PictureThe Texas Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Advanced Estate Planning and Probate 2015,  July 29-31, 2015, at the San Antonio Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa for a video presentation.  Here is why you should attend:

Highlights

  • Dealing with Water, Wind, and Mineral Interests in Estate Administration.
  • Setting up Your Estate Planning Practice so You Can Retire with Ease.
  • Extent and Limits of Spendthrift Protection - Creditor sand Divorce.
  • Micro-Captives: The Insurance Company You Keep.
  • Use and Abuse of Show Cause Motions.

Course Amenities

  • Breakfast and lunch provided each day.
  • 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.

July 3, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Difficulties Of Talking About Death

SuitcaseDiscussing death with loved ones can be both a sad and morbid topic, though it is important because far too many people are not prepared for the process of dying.  In this column, Ellen Goodman discusses her own experiences dealing with the death of her father and then her mother decades later.  She pointed out how she was unprepared for the stress of being bombarded with decisions that she had to make for her mother who had diminished capacity.  Goodman started the ‘Conversation Project’ with a small group of people in order to help improve end-of-life care and get people comfortable about discussing these difficult issues.  Her hope is to transform the cultural norm about not wanting to talk about the end of life issues that loved ones will face. 

See Ellen Goodman, How to Talk About Dying, The New York Times, July 1, 2015.

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

July 2, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kirk Kerkorian’s Legacy Continues After His Passing

Kerkorian2I have previously discussed the estate of the late billionaire casino tycoon Kirk Kerkorian.  It appears that Kerkorians influence and legacy over MGM Resorts will continue to be wielded through his close friend and executor of his estate Anthony Mendekic, who is the CEO of Tracinda Corp., a holding company that owns a large portion of MGM Resorts.  Kerkorian left instructions for Mendekic to conduct an orderly disposition of MGM Resort shares.  MGM Resorts is continuing to expand, with a number of projects underway in different parts of the country.  Kirk Kerkorians legacy over the large company is going to continue long after his death. 

See Howard Stutz, Inside Gaming: Even after death, Kerkorian’s legacy through Tracinda will wield influence, RGT Online, July 1, 2015.

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

July 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why It's A Good Idea For Young Couples To Estate Plan

TrustMost young couples do not take the death of either one into consideration when it comes to planning for the future. This perfectly understandable position seems logical until the realities of probate, guardianship of children, and other estate matters come into focus. For example, most people assume that certain after death acts will be automatic such as a spouse taking everything in the estate. But, in many states, the spouse will take all in limited circumstances with everything depending on intestate laws which have great variation between states. Retirement saving plans might also be a problem since beneficiary forms, created before a relationship and often immediately forgotten, may not name a person the owner now would want to inherit. These. and a wide swath of other issues, should be mentioned to any young couple that comes in for a consultation. While the expense may seem unnecessary now, preparation is enormously helpful should an estate plan ever need to be put into effect.

See Andrew Rusniak, Estate Planning for Young Families, JD Supra, June 26, 2015.

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

July 2, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Planning for the Probate Contest

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled Live From Skill Training: Planning for the Probate Contest, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 5:00-6:30 p.m. Eastern, online.  This is a webcast of one of the sessions of the Skills Training for Estate Planners program held at the New York Law School.

Here is why you should attend:

Although many estate planning arrangements are implemented without controversy, given family dynamics involved in such planning, drafting attorneys should be mindful of the possibility that family members will disagree.   Those who are dissatisfied with an estate plan may resort to court proceedings.   This segment of the STEP program will introduce attendees to the essential concepts of probate litigation, including will and trust disputes, contests, and fiduciary litigation.   Those engaged in the estate planning process should be aware of the manner in which probate litigation arises so that they can plan to avoid such disputes (as much as possible).   After reviewing those concepts, this segment will explore some of the planning approaches that can be pursued to avoid probate litigation.

July 2, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Intestate Succession, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Complex Battle Over Robin William’s Estate

Robin_williams1-267x300I have previously discussed the complicated dispute between Robin William’s wife and his three children over the late actor’s estate.  The children of the late actor and comedian are in a disagreement with Susan Williams over how much money she should receive.  The two opposing parties in this dispute have already settled most of their differences over how to divide the actor’s personal belongings.  In his will Robin Williams left Susan the Tiburon home that they lived in together with instructions that she is to receive enough money to support her.  Lawyers on both sides are disputing over how much money she should receive.

See Robin Williams’ family at odds over how to divide estate, Fox News, June 1, 2015.

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

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Secretary Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Estates

HandcuffsAn Ohio legal secretary has pled guilty to stealing over $100,000 from several estates who's cases were being handled by her employer. The prosecution has recommended a two year sentence but the judge has not yet issued the penalties to be imposed. She might also face years of post release supervision.

See, Ex-legal secretary admits estate thefts, WHIO, June 29, 2015.

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

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)