Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Article on Wills & Trusts

Beyer_TeachingGerry W. Beyer recently posted an Article entitled, Wills & Trusts, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article discusses judicial developments relating to the Texas law of intestacy, wills, estate administration, trusts, and other estate planning matters during the Survey period of December 1, 2015 through November 30, 2016. The discussion of most cases includes a moral, that is, the important lesson to be learned from the case. By recognizing situations that resulted in time-consuming and costly litigation in the past, the reader may be able to reduce the likelihood of the same situations arising with his or her clients.

October 19, 2017 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unholy Row As Court Decides on Religious Woman’s Will

Photodune-13634516-senior-woman-signing-last-will-and-testament-at-home-xsSandra Marie Hatton died in 2015 of ovarian cancer at the Warwick Hospital in Queensland, Australia. In an effort to save money in the final disposition of her estate, Hatton decided to use a do-it-yourself will kit. The four-page will form had numerous handwritten attachments along with multiple changes. Hatton had changed her mind about possible charitable beneficiaries a few times toward the end of her life. Multiple errors and befuddled beneficiaries will likely end up costing her estate tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and probate costs.

See Kay Dibben, Unholy Row As Court Decides on Religious Woman’s Will, news.com.au, October 15, 2017.

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

October 18, 2017 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Unholy Row As Court Decides on Religious Woman’s Will

Photodune-13634516-senior-woman-signing-last-will-and-testament-at-home-xsSandra Marie Hatton died in 2015 of ovarian cancer at the Warwick Hospital in Queensland, Australia. In an effort to save money in the final disposition of her estate, Hatton decided to use a do-it-yourself will kit. The four-page will form had numerous handwritten attachments along with multiple changes. Hatton had changed her mind about possible charitable beneficiaries a few times toward the end of her life. Multiple errors and befuddled beneficiaries will likely end up costing her estate tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and probate costs.

See Kay Dibben, Unholy Row As Court Decides on Religious Woman’s Will, news.com.au, October 15, 2017.

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

October 17, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Law on After-born Children Leads to Revocation of a Will

Download (1)A number of states have enacted statutes that serve to revoke a decedent’s will, in whole or in part, if the decedent’s life-circumstances later change in specific ways. Hobbs v. Winfield, a recent case out of Georgia, highlights such a scenario. Alphonzo Hobbs executed a valid will in 1989 and died in 2007. In the interim, Hobbs had three children outside of marriage. The Supreme Court of Georgia held that because Hobbs did not draft the will with a consideration of future children, it was not valid under Georgia law. Hobbs’s assets passed under Georgia’s  intestacy scheme. Because laws may vary drastically from state to state, it is important to seek out professional advice to make sure a previously valid will remains intact after death.

See Michelle Soto, State Law on After-born Children Leads to Revocation of a Will, The National Law Review, October 12, 2017.

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

October 17, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Unsent Text Message OK As Valid Will

1507586132688A 55-year-old Australian man drafted a text for his brother just before taking his life. The text message included a terse disposition of real property, but it was never sent. The Supreme Court in Brisbane held the draft to be enough for consideration as a valid will. Justice Susan Brown reasoned: “The reference to his house and superannuation and his specification that the applicant was to take her own things indicates he was aware of the nature and extent of his estate, which was relatively small.”

See Unsent Text Message OK As Valid Will, Says Australian Court, Fox News, October 10, 2017.

October 16, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Technology, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Article on Successions and Title Clearing Manual 2017

JasonElizabeth Ruth Carter recently posted an Article entitled, Successions and Title Clearing Manual 2017, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

These materials have been prepared as a guide for LSU clinic students and others providing pro-bono legal assistance in Louisiana. The materials give an overview of the probate process in Louisiana, common successions issues, and strategies for concentrating title.

October 14, 2017 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hefner Timed Death to Launch Playboy Reboot for Modern Era

Hef_bunniesAmidst the rabble of speculation and rumor, time is clearing away the idle speculation that Hugh Hefner died penniless and without a solid estate plan. Apparently, the Playboy mogul has had an ironclad succession plan in place for over 25 years. In 1991, he transferred the Playboy mansion, his art collection, clubs, intellectual property, and the company into a trust. Hefner later began transferring Playboy shares purchased from other stakeholders into a smaller, separate trust. During his life, the trustees acted as a de facto board of directors for Playboy and sought fit to grant Hefner the lifetime title of Editor in Chief and a healthy $1 million-per-year stipend. While the fate of the Playboy brand is uncertain under Hefner’s son, Cooper, there remains a substantial empire to manage.

See Scott Martin, Hefner Timed Death to Launch Playboy Reboot for Modern Era, Wealth Advisor, October 1, 2017.

Special thanks to Mark J. Bade for bringing this article to my attention.

October 9, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wills for Veterans Initiative

6a49ca822a4572fe83c54424d672c4e9--new-news-news-todayThe Federal Bar Association (FBA) is launching a new pro bono program in order to help veterans draft their wills. “Wills for Veterans” is a project involving FBA chapters across the United States that will coincide with Veterans Days on November 11th. FBA would like local chapters to arrange their events for Thursday, November 9th and is offering planning and scheduling assistance for each chapter.

See Wills for Veterans Initiative, Federal Bar Association, 2017.

October 9, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 7, 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 Tuesday, October 10, 2017, at the Courtyard by Marriott San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, CA. 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
  • 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
  • Handling Debts and Claims Against the Estate
  • Spouse Elective Share and Disclaimers
  • Key Intestacy Laws You Must Know
  • Trusts That Affect Estate Administration

DAY 2

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

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 12.00 *

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 1.20

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

* denotes specialty credits

October 7, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Intestate Succession, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Article on Reducing Litigation Costs for Holographic Wills

NoteWillEmily Robey-Phillips recently published an Article entitled, Reducing Litigation Costs for Holographic Wills, 30 Quinnipiac Prob. L.J. 314 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Holographic wills, which must be at least partially handwritten and do not require attestation, remain controversial despite their long history. Opponents of holographs argue that holographs produce excessive litigation. Proponents deny that charge and argue that holographs expand access to testacy, which far outweighs any costs.

Assuming arguendo that holographs do produce too much litigation, this Article explores the reasons why. Analyzing the case law, this Article identifies several areas in which courts struggle in probating holographs. It recommends adopting a series of presumptions and safe harbors to reduce litigation costs surrounding holographic wills. In this manner, this Article seeks to move the needle on the holographic wills debate in favor of allowing them.

October 5, 2017 in Articles, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)