Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

New Legislation Makes Charitable Deduction Laws Permanent

New legislationThere have been some charitable provisions that have been extended permanently in the recent Protecting Americans from Tax Hike Act of 2015. “An individual age 70½ or older can make direct charitable gifts from an individual retirement account, including required minimum distributions, of up to $100,000 each year to public charities (other than donor advised funds (DAFs) and supporting organizations) and not report the IRA distributions as taxable income on his federal income tax return.” This new legislation which has no expiration date has been in effect since January 1, 2015. This article also discusses how the new legislation will impact S Corporations that make charitable contributions. It also explains the requirements of eligibility for the enhanced deduction, and also touches on qualified conservation contributions. It would be a wise decision to meet with an estate planning professional to learn more about how these new changes will impact you.

See Conrad Teitell, Charitable Deduction Laws Now Permanent, Wealth Management, February 5, 2016.

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

February 8, 2016 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What To Know About Choosing An Out Of State Executor

Business_expenseThis financial advice column discusses the pros and cons of choosing an out-of-state executor. Selecting a personal representative to serve as the executor of an estate is a very important decision. When selecting an out-of-state executor, it is important to make sure that they meet all the requirements in your state. This column discusses the requirements in the State of Indiana, and one of those requirements is that the out-of-state executor would have to post bond and appoint a “resident agent.” “The goal is to make sure that the out of state personal representative submits to the personal jurisdiction of the probate court.” Because the Court’s authority stops at the State line the resident agent would need to be available to accept service of process, notices and documents.

See Christopher Yugo, Pros and cons of an out-of-state executor, NWI Times, February 7, 2016.

February 7, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Contingent Beneficiaries

ArticlePictureKevin Bennardo (Professor of Law, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law) recently published an article entitled, Slaying Contingent Beneficiaries, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 31. Provided below is an abstract of the article:

This Article analyzes what impact, if any, the slaying of one beneficiary by another should have on distribution of a decedent’s property. This issue could arise in a variety of conveyances, such as intestate succession, wills, pay-on-death bank accounts, transfer-on-death securities, or life insurance proceeds. Based on equity, the Restatement (Third) of Restitution takes the position that a beneficiary may never move forward in the line of succession as the result of a slaying. This result is thought to be an extension of the traditional “slayer rule,” which disallows a slayer from inheriting from her victim.

The Article argues for the opposite conclusion: the slaying of a higher-priority beneficiary by a contingent beneficiary does not result in unjust enrichment because it does not result in a transfer of a property interest to the slayer. Although the slayer advances in the line of succession as a result of the slaying, the slayer still only possesses a defeasible expectancy, not a property interest. Because an expectancy is the legal equivalent of nothing, the slayer has not profited as a result of the killing.

February 7, 2016 in Articles, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)