Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Sunday, August 7, 2022

What are the pros and cons of buying NFTs?

NFTNon-fungible tokens are a market that many are still weary about, or have a hard time understanding. A Financial Times reader wrote in asking about what the pros and cons are getting into the NFT market and how to protect themselves from fraud.

According to Financial Times, buyers are at risk due to the misconception that a NFT is about the artwork. Rather, the NFT is similar to a receipt, demonstrating that the buyer is now the “true” owner of the artwork, which is stored on a third-party server. 

Another issue that arises is whether the person creating and selling the NFT has the right to do so. There have been issues with copyright, along with concern about fraud. One piece of advice is to ask the seller or creator to explain the NFT’s functionality. If they refuse, that is a red flag and reason to walk away.

For more information:

See Lucy Warwich-Ching “Opinion- What are the Pros and Cons of buying NFTs? ” Financial Times, August 1, 2020.

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

August 7, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 6, 2022

National Make-A-Will Month

WillsAugust is National Make-A-Will Month, which is a great reminder to start thinking about your estate plan to ensure your final wishes are executed as you intended. 

According to a survey published by Caring.com, more than 50% of Americans think having a will is important, but many Americans have not gotten around to it. Some have reported they do not like the idea of planning for their death, and 1 out of 3 survey takers stated that they don’t believe they have enough assets to leave behind. Estate Planning goes beyond just wealth, it is important to have a plan in place to make your passing less complicated for your loved ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased interest in estate planning, and the number of 18-34 year olds with estate planning documents in place has increased by nearly 50%. However, 2 out of 3 American adults still do not have a will.

For more information:

See National Make a Will Month” NFCR Blog, August 18, 2020.

August 6, 2022 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 5, 2022

Prince’s $156M estate finally settled after 6-year court battle

PrinceThe six year battle over Prince’s estate has now come to an end as a Minnesota judge signed off on a deal. The late singer did not leave behind a will, which required his $156 million estate go through probate, where some estate battles can last up to 10 years or more.

Billboard has reported that six half-siblings of the music icon were named as legal heirs, half of which will sell their shares to New York music company Primary Wave. The other three have hired former advisors to Prince to manage their shares of the estate.

Now that the deal has closed, there are exciting plans in the works, from music exhibitions, films, and Broadway shows. All of his heirs plan to honor Prince and continue to grow his purple legacy. Although he did not leave behind a will, he did leave behind notes and memos on what he would like to happen with his property. This includes a vault of unreleased songs. 

For more information:

See Adrienne Bankert “Prince’s $156M estate finally settled after 6-year court battle” Nextstar Media Wire, August 3, 2022.

August 5, 2022 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)