Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

What to Worry About: How Well do Retirees assess the risks they face in Retirement?

Estate planningBoston College’s Center for Retirement Research recently published a study that explores perceived risks to retirement in America versus what the actual risks are. 

The study found that the largest risk factor to retirement is living longer than planned and running out of money, while the perceived biggest risk factor is a market drop that cuts into savings. Below are the five top risk factors found by the study:

  1. Longevity: living longer than planned
  2. Health: need for long-term care that results in hefty medical costs
  3. Markets: stock market decline that impacts assets 
  4. Family: costs of healthcare for children, spouses, or aging parents
  5. Policy: changes in Social Security or Medicare that may result in reduced benefits

For more information:

See Richard Connor “What to Worry About” Humble Dollar, August 8, 2022.

August 17, 2022 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Article: An Historical and Empirical Analysis of the Cy-Près Doctrine

CJ Ryan (Associate Professor of Law at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law) recently published an article entitled, An Historical and Empirical Analysis of the Cy-Près Doctrine, ACTEC L.J., 2022. Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Cy près is a pivotal doctrine in estate law and indeed American jurisprudence. It places courts in the shoes of settlors of charitable trusts to discern not only their original intent but also affords the possibility of continuing the material purpose for which settlors created enduring legacies of philanthropy benefitting society. For this reason, it may well be that no other legal doctrine is as closely tied to the interests of the individual and the collective as cy près. And my first-of-its kind study puts the cy-près doctrine front and center, while providing three major contributions to the field.

First, through deliberative historical analysis, I offer an in-depth look at the types of cases American courts have heard involving the use of cy près. This historical categorization and explication is itself unique and provides significant insight into the controversies that allowed the doctrine to evolve. Second, the application of empirical methods to examine the doctrine is groundbreaking. By holistically examining the data I collected, I have been able to discern three major themes. The passage of time yields a gradual but greater adoption of the use of the cy-près doctrine. The presence of reversionary, gift-over, or private interests renders the use of the cy-près doctrine less practicable. And finally, courts are overwhelmingly more likely to apply cy près in cases involving public charitable trusts, educational purpose trusts, and medical purpose trusts, even when controlling for other independent variables and typologies of charitable trusts. Last, fifty-state surveys are commonplace; yet, none exists for the doctrine of cy près. I was able to assemble such a survey that not only assisted me in conducting this research but will undoubtedly aid other researchers for years to come, which I have addended to this Article in the Appendix.

August 16, 2022 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 15, 2022

Article: Texas Estate Planning Judicial Update: Summer 2022 Edition

Gerry W. Beyer (Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law) recently published an article entitled, Texas Estate Planning Judicial Update: Summer 2022 Edition. Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article discusses recent judicial developments (first half of 2022) 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.

August 15, 2022 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Foreigners fret over stricter Swiss rules on assisted suicide

DoctorsThe Swiss Medical Association has released new guidelines for assisted suicide, requiring those seeking physician assisted suicide to have two meetings with their doctor, at least two weeks apart, before making the final decision. Many fear that it will hamper access to the practice and upset foreigners who seek out the legal end of life care in Switzerland.

Under previous rules, individuals were only required to stay in Switzerland for a few days before completing their treatment. While a primary concern is that the “two-week-rule” creates a cost-prohibitive barrier for the treatment, critics are also saying that it will require those in pain to suffer. The new rule does allow for exceptions, but only for those who are unable to stay in Switzerland for two weeks, or if their suffering is so unbearable that a long wait would be intolerable.

The Swiss Medical Association says they chose to refine the guideline, not simply tighten it. 

For more information:

See Kaoru Uda “Foreigners fret over stricter Swiss rules on assisted Suicide” Swiss Info, July 26, 2022.

August 14, 2022 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 13, 2022

The 7 levels of financial freedom, according to a self-made millionaire — 50% of U.S. workers are at Level 2

Estate planningGrant Sabatier is a self-made millionaire and one of leading voices of the FIRE movement, which stand for Financial Independence, Retire Early. 

Sabatier considers money to be an instrument that provides individuals a choice on they how want to live and not a tool to simply buy things. He has created a roadmap which dictates seven levels of Financial Freedom:

  1. Clarity: You figure out where you are financially and where you want to go
  2. Self-Sufficiency: You’ve moved out of mom and dad’s and can cover you expenses
  3. Breathing Room: You’re saving some money and no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck
  4. Stability: You have no ‘bad’ debt and six months’ worth of expenses for emergencies
  5. Flexibility: You have at least two years of expenses saved. You could take a year off work
  6. Financial Independence: You can live off the income you investments generate
  7. Abundant Wealth: Money isn’t a concern. You have more than you’ll ever need

For more information:

See Ryan Ermey “The 7 levels of financial freedom, according to a self-made millionaire- 50% of U.S. workers are at Level 2” Forbes, March 29, 2022.

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

August 13, 2022 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 12, 2022

Here’s how much Americans have saved for retirement at every age

Estate planningVanguard recently compiled a report on how much Americans have saved up for retirement by age. The report showed that on average, Americans have saved $141,542. However, this amount changes amongst the various age groups.

While age is a major contributing factors to how much individuals have saved for retirement, there are many other factors to consider. These include income range and length of time an employee has worked for a company. Experts recommend a retirement savings rate of 12% to 15%, however, they recognize that this may be a daunting number. The number one tip is to save at least as much to reach an employer’s full match.

For more information:

See Cheyenne DeVon “Here’s how much Americans have saved for retirement at every age” CNBC Make It, July 30, 2022.

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

August 12, 2022 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Inflation Reduction Act - NO Estate Tax Changes

CongressThe Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which is a 755-page bill that tackles tax, climate, and health care, passed the Senate on Sunday. It will soon be up for vote in the House, where it is anticipated to pass.

The $700 billion package has many asking, what does this mean for the Estate Tax?

At this time, there are no changes to federal transfer taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes, or generation-skipping transfer taxes. However, with additional funding for the IRS, it is likely that the impact will be indirect, with an increase in enforcement in the form of audits and estate and gift tax returns will increase.

Bloomberg Tax Services prepared a summary, citing the big items as:

  • A 15% corporate alternative minimum tax
  • A 1% excise tax on stock buybacks
  • Numerous environmental and green energy tax credits

For more information:

See Matthew Eskrine “The Tax Impact of The Inflation Reduction Act” Forbes, August 4, 2022.

August 11, 2022 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Probate Primer: How to Be an Estate’s Executor

Serving as the executor of an estate requires quite a bit of time and energy which requires three main responsibilities: settling debts, filing a final tax return, and transferring accounts to the right beneficiaries. On top of these duties, an executor is often grieving the loss of their loved one and dealing with the emotional toll it takes on other friends and family.

“The executor’s role is to be diligent, not steal from the estate, and to follow the requests of the testator found in their will,” says Meredith Hill, an estate planning attorney in Maryland.

Before an appointment, it is important to spend as much time learning about the role and compiling a list of all the things that will need to be done and make sure that the executor is able and willing to devote the necessary time to the estate administration process. Executors are generally entitled to a fee or commission for their services, which will be stated in the will.

For more information:

See Vikram Barhat “Probate Primer: How to Be an Estate’s Executor” Barron’s, August 6, 2022.

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

August 10, 2022 in Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Billionaire Dynasty of Only Men Turns to Women to Handle Fortune

GrosvenorFor 345, the Grosvenor dynasty has maintained their $11.6 billion fortune within their male lineage. Now, women are now playing an increasing role in managing the family’s London-based namesake investment firm.

The Grosvenor’s have holdings in urban property, country estates, and agricultural technology and have appointed Henrietta Gourlay to manage most of the external funds, Cindy MacMillan as Vice President of the North American investment team, and Emily Petrila as Vice President for legal counsel in North America. The Grosvenor’s people directed said in a statement, “We are focused on building a diverse and inclusive workforce which reflects the communities in which we operate… Part of this approach means increasing the number of women at the senior end of our organisation.”

The Grosvenor lineage can be traced back nearly 1,000 years, and the main source of wealth can be attributed to a 17th century marriage when Sir Thomas Grosvenor received a dowry containing 121 hectares of swamp and orchard from his bride’s family. She was 12 years old at the time of the marriage. The fortune is structured to operate as a male primogeniture, giving sons the ability to displace daughters in the line of succession. In the 1950s, the Grosvenor family placed their main assets in a series of trusts to protect the estate from spendthrift heirs, divorce and other threats, leaving the family to receive the benefits but having no ‘absolute right’ to the assets. 

For more information:

See Benjamin Stupples “Billionaire Dynasty of Only Men Turns to Women to Handle Fortune” Bloomberg Wealth, August 1, 2022.

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

August 9, 2022 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 8, 2022

Trust Choice of Law Rules in Asia-Pacific: Adapting to the Future

Ying Khai Lieu has an upcoming publication entitled, Trust Choice of Law Rules in Asia-Pacific: Adapting to the Future, Hart Publishing, Forthcoming. Provided below is an abstract:

This chapter addresses the question: how can Asian-Pacific jurisdictions develop their trusts choice of law rules, in order to adapt to the future increase in cross-border trusts disputes? The chapter does not provide an absolute answer, but hopes to trigger a discussion on the matter by providing two tools which may help in the journey of developing trusts choice of law rules. First, it constructs a framework by which the development of trusts choice of law rules can be addressed across the region. Secondly, it demonstrates that a proper understanding of domestic substantive express, constructive, and resulting trusts is intricately related to the development of sound trusts choice of law rules.

August 8, 2022 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)