Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial_dayWith the sincerest appreciation to all who have died in our nation's service.

Follow this link for detailed information on Memorial Day.

May 26, 2008 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Willbanks publishes "Federal Taxation of Wealth Transfers" Second Edition

WillbanksStephanie J. Willbanks (Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Vermont Law School) has recently published the second edition of her casebook entitled Federal Taxation of Wealth Transfers: Cases and Problems.

Here is an excerpt from the publisher's description of this book:

With an emphasis on tax planning, [this book] integrates problems with statutes, regulations, and cases to create a highly teachable and student-friendly casebook.

This text provides an effective treatment of estate and gift taxation that includes:

    • a problem-based approach that emphasizes planning and integrates statutes, cases, and regulations
    • a logical and flexible five-part organization that can be reordered to adapt to different teaching approaches
    • clear introductory and background notes that provide context for cases and problems
    • focused teaching objectives that include problem-solving, understanding statutory construction, and developing policy analysis skills
    • a manageable overall length for a 3-credit basic wealth transfer tax class
    • an in-depth Teacher’s Manual that includes analyses of all of the cases and problems * * *

An author website to support classroom instruction using this title is available at http://www.aspenlawschool.com/willbanks2.

May 26, 2008 in Books - For the Classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gazur and Phillips publish "Estate Planning: Principles and Problems" Second Edition

GazurPhillips_robertWayne M. Gazur (Professor of Law, University of Colorado School of Law) and Robert M. Phillips (Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Colorado School of Law) have recently published the second edition of their book entitled Estate Planning: Principles and Problems.

Here is an excerpt from the publisher's description of this book:

Using a case-study and problems approach, [this book] introduces students to the principles of estate planning - progressing from fundamental to complex issues - and then encourages application of those principles by asking students to analyze short problems and exercises using real life client situations. This comprehensive and straightforward Coursebook Series paperback includes a CD containing a broad assortment of common and necessary forms employed in an estate planning practice that can be used to provide students with the drafting experience they will need as practicing attorneys.

A comprehensive Teacher's Manual is also available.

May 25, 2008 in Books - For the Classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top SSRN Downloads

Ssrn_2 Here are the top downloads from March 26, 2008 to May 25, 2008 from the SSRN Journal of Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law for all papers announced in the last 60 days.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 177 2007 Developments in Connecticut Estate and Probate Law
John R. Ivimey, Jeffrey A. Cooper,
Author - Affiliation Unknown, Quinnipiac University School of Law,
Date posted to database: April 5, 2008
Last Revised: April 5, 2008
2 151 Perpetuities, Taxes, and Asset Protection: An Empirical Assessment of the Jurisdictional Competition for Trust Funds
Robert H. Sitkoff, Max M. Schanzenbach,
Harvard Law School, Northwestern University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: April 2, 2008
Last Revised: April 2, 2008
3 147 Caregiving and the Case for Testamentary Freedom
Joshua C. Tate,
Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law,
Date posted to database: March 25, 2008
Last Revised: May 9, 2008
4 114 The [Fiduciary] Duty of Fidelity
Robert Flannigan,
University of Saskatchewan,
Date posted to database: March 14, 2008
Last Revised: May 15, 2008
5 106 Ask Not What Your Charity Can Do for You: Robertson v. Princeton Provides Liberal-Democratic Insights into Cy Pres Reform
Iris Goodwin,
University of Tennessee College of Law,
Date posted to database: April 24, 2008
Last Revised: May 21, 2008
6 95 Rector and Gore: Two Recent Flp Cases
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: March 4, 2008
Last Revised: May 2, 2008
7 60 General Principles of Intestate Succession Under Hindu Law
Tarun Jain,
Supreme Court of India,
Date posted to database: January 30, 2008
Last Revised: May 3, 2008
8 56 Portability of Exemptions
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 5, 2008
Last Revised: May 5, 2008
9 55 Text and Time: A Theory of Testamentary Obsolescence
Adam J. Hirsch,
Florida State University College of Law,
Date posted to database: April 9, 2008
Last Revised: May 18, 2008
10 43 Disclaimers and Defined Value Clauses: Christiansen
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: April 8, 2008
Last Revised: May 5, 2008

May 25, 2008 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Equitable Adoption Analyzed

HigdonMichael J. Higdon (Lawyering Process Professor, William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas) has recently published his article entitled When Informal Adoption Meets Intestate Succession: The Cultural Myopia of the Equitable Adoption Doctrine, 43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 223 (2008).

Here is the author's description of his article:

Part I will first detail the role that informal adoption plays within the extended family model as that model currently exists within the two most predominant minority ethnic communities in the United States. Against that backdrop, Part II will then delve more deeply into the law of intestate succession and, more specifically, the equitable adoption doctrine, looking both at the underlying policies as well as the specific tests that courts have developed to determine if someone qualifies as an equitably adopted child. In light of these judicially created tests, Part III will discuss the difficulties that an informally adopted child faces when trying to establish himself as an equitably adopted child. Finally, as a result of how underinclusive and potentially discriminatory the current tests are under the equitable adoption doctrine, Part IV will explore ways in which courts and legislatures can make the doctrine and the laws of intestate succession more cognizant of and more responsive to informally adopted children in the United States.

May 24, 2008 in Articles, Intestate Succession | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"The Shelf Project"

Shelf_projectAccording to its website, "[t]he Shelf Project is a collaboration by professionals in the tax community to develop and perfect proposals that Congress can pull off the shelf when it needs revenue.  By some projections, Congress will need $4 trillion of new revenue over a decade beginning in 2009-2010. Shelf project proposals will strengthen the tax base, raise revenue and chase the money."

The project has cataegories for income tax and estate tax.  It is curious to note that the authors of this project elected not to create categories for the gift tax or the generation-skipping transfer tax. 

May 24, 2008 in Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Need an Organ -- Don't Smoke Weed Revisited

MarijuanaEarlier on this blog, I reported on the case of Timothy Garon who was suffering from hepatitis C and was in urgent need of a liver transplant.  Timothy was refused a spot on the transplant list because of his use of marijuana and has subsequently died.  The moral of this story was not to use marijuana or other recreational pharmaceuticals if you may be in need of an organ transplant.

Unfortunately for Jonathan Simchen who is in dire need of a kidney, he did not follow this advice.  Instead, he followed the advice of his doctor who prescribed medical marijuana to control his nausea.  Now, Jonathan may end up paying the ultimate price for smoking weed -- a premature death because he was removed from the organ transplant list once his use of marijuana was discovered.  See Marcus Baram, Medical Marijuana User Denied Organ Transplant, ABC News, May 20, 2008.

May 23, 2008 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Heritage "Trusts & Estates Newsletter"

HeritageHeritage Auction Galleries is an auction house which works extensively with fiduciaries such as executors, administrators, and trustees when the property under administration consists of collectibles such as artwork, stamps, coins, and comic books.

The company publishes a Trusts & Estates Newsletter which contains a variety of interesting articles such as the following:

To receive this newsletter which is designed to provide the T&E community with up-to-date news and commentary on a complimentary basis, e-mail your contact information to Estates@HA.com, call 1-800-872-6467, or fax to 214-443-8425.

May 23, 2008 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Reading "Bucket List"

1001_booksDue to the popularity of the movie Bucket List about two terminally ill men who leave  a cancer ward  to take a road trip with a list of things they want to do before they die, people have been giving more thought to uncertainty of their future existence and the importance of not postponing the things they want to do.  Of course, this idea has been done many times before such as in the 1960's TV series Run For Your Life in which a successful lawyer is told by his doctor that he will die in one to two years and then has all sorts of neat adventures.

Peter Boxall has prepared a book entitled 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die which sets forth a "reading list" for basically the rest of your life.  Here is a description of the book:

For discerning bibliophiles and readers who enjoy unforgettable classic literature, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a trove of reviews covering a century of memorable writing. Each work of literature featured here is a seminal work key to understanding and appreciating the written word.The featured works have been handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries, including Derek Attridge (world expert on James Joyce), Cedric Watts (renowned authority on Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene), Laura Marcus (noted Virginia Woolf expert), and David Mariott (poet and expert on African-American literature), among some twenty others.Addictive, browsable, knowledgeable—1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die will be a boon companion for anyone who loves good writing and an inspiration for anyone who is just beginning to discover a love of books. Each entry is accompanied by an authoritative yet opinionated critical essay describing the importance and influence of the work in question. Also included are publishing history and career details about the authors, as well as reproductions of period dust jackets and book designs.

For an interesting review of this book, see William Grimes, Volumes to Go Before You Die, NY Times, May 23, 2008.  Here is an excerpt from the review:

Two potent factors make “1001 Books” * * * compelling: guilt and time. It plays on every serious reader’s lingering sense of inadequacy. Page after page reveals a writer or a novel unread, and therefore a demerit on the great report card of one’s cultural life. Then there’s that bullying title, with its ominous allusion to the final day when, for all of us, the last page is turned. * * *

Assume, for the sake of argument, that a reasonably well-educated person will have read a third of them. * * * That leaves 698 titles. An ambitious reader might finish off one a month without disrupting a personal reading program already in place. That means he or she would cross the finish line in the year 2063.

May 23, 2008 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"How to Build and Manage an Estates Practice" Second Edition Released

Evans_bookDaniel B. Evans has recently authored the second edition of his classic book entitled How to Build and Manage an Estates Practice.

Here is the publisher's description of the book:

Specifically tailored to the unique needs of the estates and trusts lawyers, this updated second edition of "How to Build and Manage an Estates Practice" focuses on making your practice better. Written as a "book of ideas," you'll find guidance on marketing, effective client communications, fee agreements, and ethics, including the updates to the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Whether you're a solo practitioner or a lawyer at a large firm, you'll find the tools you need to make a difference.

Authored by Daniel B. Evans, a veteran attorney focusing on the areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration, this edition highlights constructive ways to apply ideas that have worked for him to your own practice. Organized logically, the book starts with deciding what kinds of clients you want, to finding those clients, to choosing clients and establishing fee agreements, to doing the actual legal work.

Inside, you'll find:

  • Strategies in defining your practice to bring focus and growth
  • The best ways to communicate with your clients
  • How technology and ethics have changed the practice area
  • Analysis of the Department of the Treasury Circular 230 issued in 2005
  • Innovative ideas for finding new clients
  • Ethics issues, including the challenges of marital and inter-generational representation
  • Fee agreements, including ideas on alternative billing in estate planning, administration, and litigation
  • Optimum strategies and practical ideas for billing
  • Tips on hiring personnel
  • Sample forms, checklists, and questionnaires, such as an Estate Planning Questionnaire, Estate Administration Schedule, and Will Execution Instructions, are included on an accompanying CD

May 22, 2008 in Books - For Practitioners | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)