Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Executive Summary of Notice 2008-63

The IRS has issued Executive Summary of Notice 2008-63. Notice 2008-63 discussed the various tax changes that affect certain trusts.

Here is an introduction to the article:

On July 11, 2008, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2008-63, which includes the text of a proposed revenue ruling regarding private trust companies. The notice addresses the income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax consequences of the appointment of a private trust company created by family members as the trustee of trusts of which the family members are grantors or beneficiaries.

December 23, 2008 in Articles, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FDIC Insurance Coverage has Been Increased


The FDIC has temporarily increased its insurance coverage to $250,000 from $100,000. The coverage will return back to $100,000 on January 1, 2010.

Read more on the FDIC news release.

December 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Individualized Justice in Disputes Over Dead Bodies


Frances H. Foster (Edward T. Foote II Professor of Law) has written a new article entitled Individualized Justice in Disputes Over Dead Bodies, 61 Vand. L. Rev. 1351 (2008).

Here is a summary of the article:

In February 2007, the world had a ringside seat to a truly macabre fight. Under the glare of television cameras, Anna Nicole Smith’s nearest but not dearest battled in a Florida probate court over custody of her body. ... Because of their protracted legal wrangling, Anna Nicole went to her grave a decomposed corpse in a closed casket. ...Part II demonstrates that the family paradigm distorts dispositions of decedents' assets and remains. Part III presents a critical analysis of recent reform strategies to address that paradigm. It argues that those strategies offer only limited responses because they remain grounded in the family paradigm. Part IV looks to the past for answers for the future. It shows that rather than basing their decisions on survivors' family status alone, American courts have a long tradition of individualized justice in resolving disputes over dead bodies. Part V concludes that reformers - including legal scholars, legislators, judges, practitioners, activists, and interest groups - should draw on this historical precedent to develop more flexible, individualized, and family-neutral schemes for dispositions of decedents' assets and remains.

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

L’Oréal Heiress Denies Illness

Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman and L'Oréal heiress, has been accused by her daughter that she was tricked into giving away more than $1.4bn to a French society photographer. Both she and her daughter, Françoise Betterncourt Meyers sit on the board of the cosmetics company. The daughter has only filed suit against the photographer, François-Marie Banier, and not against her mother. But she has insisted that her mother submit to a medical examination.

The Financial Times has the whole story, and thanks to Joel Dobris for the article.

December 22, 2008 in Articles, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Filed in Court: Columbo Star Peter Falk has Dementia

The National Enquirer reports TV Columbo Peter Falk's daughter asks for conservatorship for dad.

Falk, 81, suffers from Alzheimer's disease and dementia, according to papers filed by daughter Catherine Falk at LA County Superior Court.

She claims he is no longer able to run his own life.

The documents state Falk "requires full-time custodial care for his health and safety" and that a conservatorship will protect her ailing dad from "fraud or undue influence."

A hearing is slated for next month in the matter.

Thanks to John for the article

December 22, 2008 in Articles, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why States Should Amend Their Probate Codes to Allow an Intestate Share for Unmarried Homosexual Couples

Charles Patrick Schwartz (J.D., Hamline University School of Law, 2008) has written an article entitled Thy Will Not Be Done: Why States Should Amend Their Probate Codes to Allow an Intestate Share for Unmarried Homosexual Couples, 7 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 289 (2008).

Here is a summary of the article:

... Intestate succession rights, being limited to spouses, are one of the rights of marriage, and one could attack this proposal as violating such constitutional language. ... If the statute does not give the entire estate to the spouse, or if there is no spouse, then any remaining property is given to other heirs of the decedent, including children, parents, and siblings, in a proscribed order. ... Judicial Attacks Against Marriage and Intestacy Statutes: A Recipe for Defeat The outcome sought to be achieved by this amendment to state intestacy laws is that intestacy law be revised to reflect the probable desires of unmarried persons with same-sex partners that their surviving partner at least share in the estate, thereby fulfilling the purpose of intestacy statutes. ... Fundamental rights are those rights which are "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" and are "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." ... The final obstacle to rational basis review would be a determination that limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples constitutes gender discrimination, which would require heightened scrutiny. ... If Amara were to die without a will, application of intestacy law would give her entire estate to her living relatives and nothing to Michelle. ... In the current political environment, marked by states enacting Defense of Marriage Acts and amending their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriages, were I to suggest giving the surviving life partner a share equal to the spousal share and all associated rights, as Professor Gallanis proposed, the legislation would probably either be voted down or found unconstitutional.

December 22, 2008 in Articles, Intestate Succession | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Illinois Now Requires Trusts, Estates And Other Pass-Through Entities To Withhold Nonresident Beneficiaries’ Share Of Illinois Income Tax


Karin Prangley (Attorney, Krasnow Saunders Cornblath LLP) has written an article about changes to the Illinois tax code that affect trusts in the state.

Here is a short summary of the article:

Illinois joins the ranks of approximately a dozen other states by requiring trusts and other pass-through entities to directly pay a nonresident beneficiary’s share of Illinois state income tax. The Illinois Department of Revenue recently announced in an Informational Bulletin that effective for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2008, pass-through entities (trusts, estates, S corporations, partnerships and LLCs taxed as partnerships) must make Illinois state income tax payments on the entity’s Illinois business income on behalf of each nonresident shareholder, partner or beneficiary.

December 21, 2008 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bury Me With My Cell Phone


MSNBC has an article about a new trend of people being buried with their cell phones. "It seems that everyone under 40 who dies takes their cell phone with them," says Noelle Potvin, family service counselor for Hollywood Forever, a funeral home and cemetery in Hollywood, Calif. "It's a trend with BlackBerrys, too. We even had one guy who was buried with his Game Boy." While their are no formal statistics on the subject, anecdotal evidence suggests that more and more people are having it done.

Special thanks to John for the article.

December 20, 2008 in Articles, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Property And Estate Devolution Utilizing Fidei Commissum de Residuo: Finding Residual


Matthew I. Berger (Partner, Berger & Marx, LLP) has written a new article entitled Property And Estate Devolution Utilizing Fidei Commissum de Residuo: Finding Residual, 54 Loy. L. Rev. 129.

Here is a summary of the article:

... However, when the legacy provides that the substitution is to affect only the residuum of the property at the first legatee/institute's death, the second legatee/substitute is only entitled to what is left of the property, or proceeds from a sale or insurance that have not yet been paid to the first legatee/institute. ... These questions of intent were answered in Roman law by a default mechanism mandating and defining the first donee's obligation of accounting to the second donee in a fidei commissum. ... Alternatively, if the intent of the testator was that the second legatee should be allowed to collect funds from the alienation of the thing, amendments to the Louisiana Civil Code should provide default provisions stating either that the first legatee must place the proceeds in a separate bank account, or that the proceeds that are placed in a bank account containing funds belonging to the first legatee's patrimony will be deemed to have been spent last. ... Additionally, since the testator can utilize a usufruct or trust if he wishes to ensure the second legatee's receipt of property in a double bequest, the second legatee should not be entitled to property purchased with proceeds from the first legatee's alienation if the testator chooses to leave the property subject to a fidei commissum de residuo.

December 19, 2008 in Articles, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reflections on FLP and LLC Cases


Ronald D. Aucutt (Partner, McGuireWoods, LLP) has written a new article entitled Reflections on FLP and LLC Cases, 34 ACTEC 99 (Fall 2008).

Here is a summary of the article:

This article is a companion to the family limited partnership—family limited liability company (“FLP-LLC”) article in this same issue of the ACTEC Journal authored by Louis A. Mezzullo. The article provides additional analysis and insight to recent I.R.C. § 2036(a) Tax Court cases in this area of the law. The article concludes by offering practitioners sound advice in the implementation of an FLP-LLC.

December 19, 2008 in Articles, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)