Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Article: Flesh of My Flesh but Not My Heir: Unintended Disinheritance

Laura Padilla recently published an article entitled, Flesh of My Flesh but Not My Heir: Unintended Disinheritance , Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article: Estate planning

This article explores issues around property rights, biology and technology.

December 2, 2021 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Article: On Trusts, Angels, Morality and Fusion: Reply to My Critics

Irit Samet recently published an article entitled On Trusts, Angels, Morality and Fusion: Reply to My Critics, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article: Estate planning

I am deeply grateful to the four commentators for engaging with my work in a deep and creative manner; tempting such outstanding scholars setting their inquisitive minds unto my work x is the best I could possibly ask for. Their thoughts set me unto new paths that correspond with the present book but move beyond it. There is no way I can do justice in this short piece to all the excellent points they raise in their critique. I therefore chose to write about four themes that recur in two or more of the papers: the place of the trust in my account of Equity, the extent to which equity sides with (moral) angles, whether the morality invoked by Equity is thick or thin, and the question to what extent Equity as it emerges from the book can be the subject of future fusion projects.

December 1, 2021 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Comment of Proposed Department of Labor Regulations on ESG Investing, Prudence and Loyalty

Edward A. Zelinsky (Annie and Morris Trachman Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University) recently posted on SSRN his article entitled Comment of Proposed Department of Labor Regulations on ESG Investing, Prudence and Loyalty. Here is the abstract of his article:

DOL’s proposed regulations about ERISA’s fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty weaken the protection of America’s workers and retirees. Accordingly, these proposed regulations should be amended to delete the imprudent, unproven and ambiguous term “ESG,” to add more balanced examples which reduce misperceptions of ERISA’s fiduciary duties, and to expunge altogether the concept of tie-breaking which violates the duty of loyalty by encouraging the pursuit of collateral benefits.

The fundamental claims of ESG advocates are economically implausible. Such advocates assert that they consistently outperform and manipulate competitive markets. This claim is unpersuasive.

ESG proponents assert that a person making an ESG investment is overriding the market’s allocation of resources to pursue a greater good. This claim is economically unconvincing. When a self-declared ESG-investor sells a stock in a competitive market, another investor without her qualms buys it. This is simply a game of musical chairs which, while it makes the ESG-investor feel better, shuffles ownership without altering the market-driven allocation of resources.

The other major claim of ESG advocates is that ESG investing, with its often high fees and active management, can consistently outperform competitive markets. This claim too is economically unpersuasive. If a corporation’s superior governance or more humane labor practices improve a corporation’s financial prospects, the corporation’s stock price will capture that projected income. A conventional, passive investment device, such as a low fee index fund, will reflect that increased value without invoking the ESG label and without paying fees for ESG investing services. It is implausible that ESG funds will consistently outperform competitive markets in which prices efficiently reflect corporation’s projected earnings including projected income stemming from so-called ESG factors.

DOL’s proposed regulations improperly perpetuate and liberalize the unpersuasive canon of “tie-breaking” and thereby jeopardize the retirement assets of workers and retirees. The fiduciary duty of loyalty requires exclusive consideration of participants’ welfare – even in the face of so-called “ties.”Under the proposed regulations, fiduciaries desiring to pursue otherwise proscribed collateral benefits will, deliberately or inadvertently, be encouraged to declare ties to free themselves from the duty of loyalty and its prohibition on the pursuit of third party benefits. Contrary to the teaching of the proposed regulations, the exacting duty of loyalty is not suspended in the presence of “ties.”

November 30, 2021 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Podcast on Non-Fungible Tokens released by ACTEC Foundation

NftHere is a link to a podcast entitled An Update on NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens which I prepared for the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Foundation.

November 30, 2021 in Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 29, 2021

‘James Bond’ actor Daniel Craig says his children won’t be receiving his multimillion-dollar fortune

CraigDaniel Craig, who is known for his legendary role as James Bond, is worth a reported $160 million. 

Recently, Daniel Craig gave his two sense about inheritance. According to Craig, he will not leave much money to his children by the time he dies. Craig stated, "Isn't there an old adage that if you die a rich person, you've failed?" Craig further stated, "I think Andrew Carnegie gave away what in today's money would be about $11 billion, which shows how rich he was because I'll bet he kept some of it, too." 

According to Daniel Craig, it is "distasteful" to leave heirs massive amounts of money. Craig's philosophy is to get rid of the money or give it away before he goes. 

See Nicolas Vega, ‘James Bond’ actor Daniel Craig says his children won’t be receiving his multimillion-dollar fortune, CNBC, August 20, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

 

November 29, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and How Crypto is Changing Life Insurance and Estate Planning

CryptoOver the last few years, there has been an increase in people who obtain crypto assets. So how do cryptocurrencies impact estate planning?

Well, the foremost estate planning concern with crypto assets is "that if no one knows you have it, and you meet your demise, then its gone." Institutions like Two Ocean Trust are beginning to address these concerns. Two Ocean Trust is reportedly the first institution to offer a comprehensive digital asset wealth management platform.

According to Two Ocean Trust's CEO Joel Revill, "decentralized digital currency may not be compatible with estate planning due to the reluctance to hand over the keys to your digital wallet."

One way to address the concerns is to create a cryptocurrency access guide, which may include information on how to obtain the private key to digital assets. It also isn't a bad idea to share your private keys and other information with trusted family members. 

Below are some important estate planning steps that can be taken to protect cryptocurrencies: 

  1.  Share your seed phrase and private keys
  2.  Transfer your crypto to a trust and designate successors
  3.  Place digital assets in a custody (such as a hardware wallet) or with a custodian service
  4.  Use a “dead mans switch” to trigger the transfer of digital assets
  5.  Select a cascading multi-signature wallet instead of a self sovereign wallet

See Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and How Crypto is Changing Life Insurance and Estate Planning, Insurance and Estates Blog, November 20, 2021. 

Special Thanks to Jason Kenyon for bringing this Article to my attention. 

November 28, 2021 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 27, 2021

J.R.R. Tolkien estate to ‘JRR Token’ cryptocurrency: You shall not pass

The JRR Token, which rolled out in August, has just been blocked by the estate of English fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien. 

The "JRR Token" referenced the late fantasy writer as well as the author's iconic fantasy trilogy "The Lord of the Rings." The token was released with the tagline, "The One Token That Rules Them All" on its website. The tagline was in reference to the iconic "One Ring that ruled the other magical 'Rings of Power' in the tale's mythology." 

However, when the Tolkien estate became aware of the new crypto currency token, the response was essentially "you shall not pass" and eventually turned to the World Intellectual Property Organization's arbitration procedure and is arguing that the "token infringed on trademark right's to Tolkien's name."

The "JRR Token" developer responded arguing that the token was actually not referencing the English fantasy author and that the name "just happened to bring J.R.R. Tolkien to mind, then it was parody, and not copyright infringement." 

Despite the Developer's contentions, the WIPO's arbitrator ruled in favor of the Tolkien estate, writing, "the respondent does not specify why the disputed domain name is humorous, funny, or nail-biting, and not just a domain name chosen due to its similarities with the [Tolkien estate's] trademarks to take commercial advantage of its evocation." 

See Nicole Lyn Pesce, J.R.R. Tolkien estate to ‘JRR Token’ cryptocurrency: You shall not pass, Market Watch, November 23, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 27, 2021 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving_5
Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 25, 2021 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Asia’s Richest Man Looks to Walton Family Playbook on Succession

AmbaniAsia's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has built an empire worth $208 billion. How has he continued to build that empire? Well, Ambani has "studied the ways in which billionaire families, from the Waltons to the Kochs, passed on what they'd built to the next generation. 

Ambani's succession plan is similar to that of Walmart Inc.'s Walton family and according to people familiar with the matter "could provide the framework for one of the biggest transfers of wealth in recent times." 

Ambani, his wife Nita, and their three children will own stakes in the new entity which will oversee Reliance, and the family members will also serve on its board, although management will mostly consist of outsiders and professionals. 

See P R Sanjai, Anto Antony & K Oanh Ha, Asia’s Richest Man Looks to Walton Family Playbook on Succession, Bloomberg Wealth, November 22, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 24, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

No, stupid: A dog isn’t really selling Madonna’s former Florida mansion

A story has been spread by a plethora of newspapers including the Associated Press and Forbes about a German Shepard named Gunther who inherited Madonna's former mansion. The story proclaimed that the pooch was selling the Florida mansion for $31 million and had even met with real estate agents. 

We are here to tell you that the story is emphatically not true! According to a source close to the deal, "[t]here is no dog sleeping in Madonna’s former bedroom. . .This is a totally made up story. The broker is talking nonsense. There is no dog. There never was a dog. The owner thought it would be a fun way to score a reality TV show. That’s it.” 

The real story is this: The agents are listing the house for $31.75 million, but instead of a wealthy dog, their client is a Italian Entrepreneur from Tuscany named Maurizio Mian. Although the listing price was not a lie, a broker who has toured the property claimed that "it is only worth it if you can afford to tear it down and start again." 

For those who were also fooled, legal experts in the United States proclaimed that it is impossible to leave property to a pet, although you can leave money in trust for your fur babies. 

As it turns out, the Main thought it would be a good PR stunt to fool the press into believing that a dog was selling a mansion that once belonged to Madonna. Unfortunately for Mian, it appears that the plan may have backfired. 

See Jennifer Gould, No, stupid: A dog isn’t really selling Madonna’s former Florida mansion, N.Y. Post, November 18, 2021. 

November 23, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)