Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Estate Planning for the Horse Owner

Horse estate planningWe all love our pets, and horses are one of many that you must plan for in your estate. To make sure that all of your equine interests are handled, there are several considerations you must understand.

It is important as an animal owner that you leave your horse to a responsible person who will make the right decisions, and you can also set up a pet trust for the monetary care of your horse. If you want to sell your horses, you can arrange for a private sale or a dispersal sale, increasing your estate’s assets. With horses, comes lots of land, so it is also important that you detail exactly what you want your land to be used for. Putting all of your decisions into writing will be the next step, and two equine law attorneys suggest a revocable trust, allowing for more flexibility.

See Erica Larson, Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners, Horse, July 12, 2016.

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

July 14, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Article on International Culture and Legal Differences in Will-Making

Will-makingJill Wilson, Linda S. Rosenman, Ben White, Cheryl Tilse, & Rachel Feeney recently published an Article entitled, Cultural Considerations in Will-Making in Australia: A Case Study of Islamic or Sharia-Compliant Wills, 41(1) Alternative L.J., 23–26 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

There are major legal and cultural differences across countries in principles guiding intergenerational transmission of wealth, and individual differences in views on inheritance. Australian succession law is based upon English common law, starting with the presumption of testamentary freedom, which allows a testator to dispose of their estate as they see fit. However, this freedom can be limited by family provision laws that allow ‘eligible applicants’ to contest distributions on the basis of insufficient provision in accordance with legislation of the particular State or Territory. Hence, the legal framework represents a balance between testamentary freedom and familial obligation. Internationally there are significant cultural and legal differences in the degree of will-makers’ testamentary freedom.

July 12, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Article on Disinheritance

DisinheritanceTitu Ionascu recently published an Article entitled, Disinheritance (Dezmoştenirea), Annals of the Constantin Brancusi University, Juridical Sciences Series, No. 4/2015 (2015). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Disinheritance is a disposition by which the testator removes him from inheritance, in whole or in part, on one or more of the legal heirs.

July 11, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Article on Judicial Developments in Texas Estate Law

Estateplanning lawGerry W. Beyer recently published an Article entitled, What Hath the Courts Wrought to the Texas Estate Planner?, (June 24, 2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article discusses recent judicial developments relating to the Texas law of intestacy, wills, estate administration, trusts, and other estate planning matters. The discussion of each case concludes with a moral, i.e., the important lesson to be learned from the case. By recognizing situations that have led to time consuming and costly litigation in the past, estate planners can reduce the likelihood of the same situations arising with their clients.

July 10, 2016 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Article on Factors that Promote Making and Changing Wills

Australia willCheryl Tilse, Jill Wilson, Ben White, Linda S. Rosenman, Rachel Feeney, & Tanya Strub recently published an Article entitled, Making and Changing Wills: Prevalence, Predictors, and Triggers, SAGE Open, p. 1–11 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Wills are important social, economic, and legal documents. Yet little is known about current will making practices and intentions. A comprehensive national database on the prevalence of will making in Australia was developed to identify who is or is not most likely to draw up a will and triggers for making and changing wills. A national survey of 2,405 adults aged above 18 years was administered by telephone in August and September 2012. Fifty-nine percent of the Australian adult population has a valid will, and the likelihood of will making increases with age and estate value. Efforts to get organized, especially in combination with life stage and asset changes trigger will making; procrastination, rather than a strong resistance, appears to explain not making a will. Understanding will making is timely in the context of predicted significant intergenerational transfers of wealth, changing demographics, and a renewed emphasis on retirement planning.

July 8, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What to Consider Before Naming an Executor in Your Estate Plan

Estate executorBefore naming an executor in your estate plan, there are many aspects you must address before making your final decision. First, it is important to understand that an executor has extensive legal obligations. They must weed through the legal process to gather your belongings, protect them, value them, distribute them, and wrap up your estate. Also, consider that the named executor will need to work closely with your family, so communication is key. It is wise for your executor to talk to each beneficiary before the distribution of assets and hold regular meetings to provide updates.

See Kansas & Missouri Estate Planning Blog, What Should My Clients Consider Before Selecting an Executor?, Wealth Management, June 28, 2016.

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

July 6, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 4, 2016

How Community Property Laws Can Effect You

Community propertyCommunity property laws are important to be aware of in case you plan on moving to a community property state or already live in one. These states view any property acquired during a marriage as owned by both partners. Wealth gained prior to the marriage and inheritances acquired at any time, however, are considered separate property, so be sure to keep these assets out of commingled funds if needed. Estate planners should also plan accordingly and be aware that when one spouse dies, half of the married couple’s assets become part of the estate, which can result in large tax bills. Further, because both spouses have ownership over all assets, neither partner can make a gift of their joint property without consent of the other. These community property laws are beneficial to keep in mind, so that you can best benefit your assets and marriage.

See Sonia Talati, How Community Property States Are Different, Barron’s Penta, June 28, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 4, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

Digital assetsAs the age of technology flourishes, digital media assets are becoming increasing popular. The Florida Governor signed the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act into law on March 10, 2016. The Act allows people to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets, such as emails, text messages, and social media accounts, by vesting fiduciaries with the authority to access, control, or copy these assets. Additionally, the Act has rules of priority for the disclosure documents where an online tool of disclosure will trump a user’s estate planning documents. Further, a custodian must comply with a request for disclosure of the digital assets when necessary. The Act goes into effect on July 1, 2016, and will apply to all fiduciaries acting under a will, trust, or guardianship.

See Jennifer J. Wioncek & Michael D. Melrose, Florida Passes Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Wealth Management, June 27, 2016.

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

June 30, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Talking About Death Can Make Your Future Easier

Talking about deathNo one wants to talk about the inevitable, but talking about death before it nears could make things a lot easier on both parents and children. With the improved economy, a survey reveals that children are pushing off this uncomfortable topic and waiting till after their parent’s retire or become ill. The survey also reported little discussion about wills and estate planning with more than 27% of children being unaware that they were the executor of their parent’s estate. It is important to talk about these issues before something unforeseen happens because it can become difficult to make critical decisions in the midst of a crisis.

See Everybody Dies. It’s Time to Have the Talk, Financial Advisor, June 28, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 30, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Article on Louisiana Succession Law

Dorothy jacksonDorothy F. Jackson recently published an Article entitled, Contemporary Issues on Louisiana Law: Successions—To Be Shared Equally or to Share and Share Alike?, S.U. L. Rev. (forthcoming Spring 2016). Provided below is an introduction to the Article:

For many years, lawyers have sought to draft last wills and testaments in an effort to comport with their clients’ wishes and to appeal to their clients’ intellectual sensibilities. Sometimes lawyers are tempted to use flowery words or phrases to impress the prospective testator, who is a lay person. A thorough reading of the Louisiana Civil Code’s provisions on legacies, joint or otherwise, should be carefully studied and understood by the attorney or notary before preparing or drafting a last will and testament. This article suggests that based upon the ambiguities that can result from the inarticulate drafting of wills, it may be necessary to amend or revise (once again) Louisiana Civil Code article 1588, which governs legacies made to more than one individual. Failure to use words that are clear and unambiguous, based upon the ordinary meaning of words, has resulted in some of the simplest drafted wills failing to comport with the client’s express intent.

Part I of this article will analyze the Lambert decision and discuss how various Louisiana courts have interpreted Lambert. Part II will discuss the Succession of Lain decision and the confusion surrounding it, its likely impact on the issue and the opportunity for future rulings (i.e. the new appeal). Finally, Part III will provide suggestions for a final resolution to the problem, one of which is to revise or amend Louisiana Civil Code article 1588 in order to avoid the confusion set forth in the Succession of Lain.

June 28, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)