Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Texas Bar CLE and the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas are sponsoring a CLE entitled, Building Blocks of Wills, Estates and Probate Course, for approximately 6.75 hours of MCLE credit including 3.5 ethics hours. You can watch live via webcast on January 24, 2014, or catch a video replay offered in several locations in February and March. Provided below are some of the topics featured in this course:
- Basic Estate Planning
- Elder Law Planning and Issue Spotting
- Tools for Efficiently Developing Your Estate & Trusts Practice
- Probate Procedures and Alternatives
- Administering the Estate
Saturday, November 23, 2013
According to a recent client survey by investment firm The Henley Group, about 70% of those polled, who are predominately expatriates in Hong Kong, had not written a will.
Henley Group CEO Mark Rawson was not surprised. “People don’t think about these things until they are forced to think about them . . . [i]t is like tax returns – anything that is unpleasant we tend to put off.” One of the main triggers that motivates clients to write a will is starting a family. Another is seeing a friend that died without their affairs organized.
Hong Kong residents who die without a will have no control over what happens to assets and who will look after children. Dying intestate may also unnecessarily expose your estate to estate taxes. Although putting a valid will in place is a simple process, the taboo subject of mortality in Asia likely contributes to the great reluctance to deal with this important matter.
See Mary Kavanagh, Hongkongers Urged to Write Their Will as Survey Shows Most Do Not Have One, South China Morning Post, Nov. 19, 2013.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Most courts currently apply a strict compliance standard for wills. Wills that do not meet the rigid requirements will be invalidated for harmless errors. Mark Glover of the University of Wyoming College of Law asserts that there is a need for reformation from the strict compliance approach. He analyzed how the approach has been affecting the number of genuine wills. This study had shed some light on the benefits of a more relaxed approach.
See Mark Glover The Movement Towards A Lesser Judicial Standard For Due Execution, Wealth Strategies, Nov. 8, 2013.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The son and second wife of late singer Teddy Pendergrass are currently battling over the rights to his estate.
His son, Teddy Pendergrass II, claims a 2009 will names him executor and beneficiary of the estate. Second wife Joan Pendergrass, who married the hit singer in 2008, has the burden to prove this will is invalid and that Teddy intended for Joan to take over his estate.
The first witness called in the trial was private-duty nurse, Gordon Nicholson. Pendergrass was left a quadriplegic following a car crash in 1982. Nicholson testified that Pendergrass was always under round-the-clock care, making it difficult for Pendergrass to leave the house undetected to sign any will. Nicholson also testified Pendergrass did not have the motor skills to sign his name. The trial is expected to last several days.
See Carl Hessler Jr., Son and Second Wife of Singer Teddy Pendergrass Battle in Court over Late Singer’s Estate, Times-Standard, Nov. 20, 2013.
Two Lubbock cats are now living in luxury after their owner left them his estate.
Leon Sheppard, Sr., left his 4,270-square-foot house in a gated community to his two cats, Frisco and Jake. He also left them $250,000 to be used for their care and the maintenance of the house.
When Frisco dies, the will states that whatever is left of the estate will be passed to Sheppard’s human heirs. The heirs will be allowed to move Jake out of the house, but he must still be cared for. When asked for comment, Sheppard’s daughter said the family does not want to talk about it.
See Janice Broach, Cats Receive $250K, House in Owner's Will, KCBD, Nov. 19, 2013.
Special thanks to Cameron Brumfield (Texas Tech University School of Law, 2015) for bringing this article to my attention.
Friday, November 15, 2013
When death looms, the issue of legacy can come into sharper focus. People may choose this moment to change their wills or estate plans, and, done right, these revisions can save families income and estate taxes as well as prevent administrative hassles. However, if deathbed revisions are not handled carefully, the will may be vulnerable to burdensome legal challenges.
Financial advisers are often asked to tweak elements of an estate plan when a client nears death. If someone in the family becomes involved in these changes, it’s critical they have a power of attorney to ward off legal challenges. And to avoid will contests, a medical or mental competency examination can be invaluable.
Even if precautionary measures are taken, substantive changes at the eleventh hour is probably going to be a bad idea.
See Arden Dale, Changing a Will at the Last Minute, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Elizabeth Ruth Carter (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Herbert Law Center) has recently published an article entitled, Living Wills, Medical Powers of Attorney, and End of Life Decisions (October 1, 2013). Provided below is the abstract to the article:
Presented in connection with the Tulane School of Medicine Pre-Clinical Electives.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Elizabeth Ruth Carter, (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Herbert Law Center) recently published an article entitled, Living Wills Powers of Attorney and End of Life Decisions in Louisiana: With Forms, (October 1, 2013). LSU 43rd Annual Estate Planning Institute, October 2013. Provided below is abstract from SSRN:
CLE materials on: Living Wills, Medical Powers of Attorney, and End of Life Decisions in Louisiana With Forms
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Unfortunately, an estate plan is not infallible. It can be undermined by the way an account holder's names or beneficiary is titled. John Roessler, senior wealth manager, "Very few clients understand the implications of titling on their accounts." Banking rules permit account holders to title their accounts as payable to other people upon death. This rule essentially helps by circumventing the probate process. Forgetting that you named a beneficiary can cause problems like determining which document will receive priority.
See Arden Dale A Will Is Not Always The Last Word, The Wall Street Joural, Nov. 10, 2013.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.
In Australia, a Brisbane court held that a will contained in an iPhone drafted just before a suicide was legally valid. Despite the fact that the will was not witnessed, the intention was clear, the man wanted the will to be operative. The man typed the will in the notes application of the iPhone and named his brother as the executor. However, the man's brother could not follow the will's instructions because it did not meet the requirements of a valid will. Justice Lyons decided that due to the special factors in the decision the iPhone will was valid and probated.
See Rae Wilson Will Done on iPhone Before Owner Took His Life Ruled Valid, The Daily Examiner, Nov. 7, 2013.