Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake Norma Montalvo Petrosewicz (attorney, Richmond, Texas) has published her article entitled Top Ten Mistakes Attorneys Make, The Advocate, Fall 2009, at 28. 

The introduction to the article is below:

Many attorneys are asked to draft a simple Will, and most attorneys will do so because all it takes is filling out a "form"-- right?  This article is presented to give non-estate planning attorneys the traps to be wary of in preparing an estate plan. 

November 21, 2009 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top SSRN Downloads

Ssrn_2 Here are the top downloads from September 22, 2009 to November 21, 2009 from the SSRN Journal of Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law for all papers announced in the last 60 days.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 258 2009 Federal Tax Update
Samuel A. Donaldson,
University of Washington - School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 13, 2009
Last Revised: October 13, 2009
2 160 Miller: Effective FLP Line Drawing
Wendy C. Gerzog,
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 12, 2009
Last Revised: October 12, 2009
3 139 Conflicts of Interest and Nonprofit Governance: The Challenge of Groupthink
Melanie B. Leslie,
Cardozo Law School,
Date posted to database: September 25, 2009
Last Revised: October 20, 2009
4 121 Section 6694 Preparer Penalties and Tax Advice: The Latest on the Constantly Moving Target
Scott A. Schumacher,
University of Washington,
Date posted to database: September 11, 2009
Last Revised: September 11, 2009
5 107 The Most Esteemed Act of My Life: Family, Property, Will, and Trust in the Antebellum South
Stephen Duane Davis II, Alfred L. Brophy,
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - School of Law,
Date posted to database: July 18, 2009
Last Revised: July 18, 2009
6 100 Navigating the Deaccessioning Crisis
Derek Fincham,
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law,
Date posted to database: September 8, 2009
Last Revised: November 18, 2009
7 90 Did a Unanimous Supreme Court Misread ERISA, Misread the Court's Precedents, Undermine Basic ERISA Principles, and Encourage Benefits Litigation?
Albert Feuer,
Law Offices of Albert Feuer,
Date posted to database: October 12, 2009
Last Revised: October 12, 2009
8 82 Bill Would Have Far Reaching Effect on Gift and Estate Tax Valuation
Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Scott A. Nammacher,
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, Author - affiliation not provided to SSRN,
Date posted to database: August 24, 2009
Last Revised: August 24, 2009
9 79 Alternate Valuation - Now, Perhaps, More Important than Ever
Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Alvina H. Lo,
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, Credit Suisse Private Banking,
Date posted to database: August 25, 2009
Last Revised: August 25, 2009
10 69 Rethinking Trust Law Reform: How Prudent is Modern Prudent Investor Doctrine?
Stewart E. Sterk,
Yeshiva University - Cardozo Law School,
Date posted to database: September 22, 2009
Last Revised: September 27, 2009

November 21, 2009 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Winnie-the-Pooh Goes to Court

Pooh The estate of Stephen Slesinger is suing Disney, claiming that the company owes the estate hundreds of millions of dollars in concealed Winnie-the-Pooh royalties.  Slesinger obtained the licensing rights to Winnie-the-Pooh in 1930, and the estate has unsuccessfully sued Disney twice before.  

See Rachel Lee Harris, Winnie-the-Pooh Returns to Court, NY Times, Nov. 15, 2009. 

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

November 21, 2009 in Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Right to a Jury Trial In Texas Probate Courts?

Jury Tammy C. Manning (attorney, Houston) & Jason Cox (attorney, Houston) have published their article entitled Jury Trials in Probate Court: A Brief Overview, The Advocate, Fall 2009, at 24. 

The following is an excerpt from the article:

The Texas Constitution states that "In the trial of all causes in the District Courts, the plaintiff or defendant shall, upon application made in open court, have the right of trial by jury; but no jury shall be empanelled in a civil case unless demanded by a party to the case, and a jury fee be paid by the party demanding a jury, for such sum, and with such exceptions as may be prescribed by the Legislature."  Although this language seems expansive and comprehensive, in a probate context it is unclear whether a party has an automatic right to a jury.

November 20, 2009 in Articles, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Top Earning Dead Celebrities of the Decade

Elvis You may be wondering, "who are the top earning dead celebrities of the decade?"  The linked chart, which is provided by termlifeinsurance.org and is adapted from information provided by Forbes, provides the names of the fifteen top earning dead celebrities and some creative illustrations.  

Michael Jackson's third-place rank may be surprising for some considering that he has been dead for only a fraction of a decade.  Also surprising may be number ten, Bob Marley, given my recent report that unlicensed sales using Marley's name and image are estimated to be $600 million annually, while licensed sales are only a small fraction of this amount.

November 20, 2009 in Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Real Property Foreclosures During Probate

White Joshua J. White has published his article entitled The Foreclosure Process in the Probate Context, The Advocate, Fall 2009, at 99. 

The following is the introduction to the article:

This article is intended to provide an overview of the real property foreclosure process in the probate context.  The substance of the article assumes basic familiarity with the foreclosure process under the Texas Property Code and basic familiarity with the estate administration processes under the Texas Probate Code. 

November 20, 2009 in Articles, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Lou Dobbs Enlarges Estate by Not Working

Loudobbs Newscaster Lou Dobbs has reportedly accepted $8 million to terminate his contract with CNN early as a result of CNN's dissatisfaction with Dobbs' lack of reporting neutrality. From an estate planning perspective, Dobbs is increasing the size of his estate by agreeing not to work, an investment option many would likely seize.

See Michael Shain, Source: CNN wanted Lou out, N.Y. Post, Nov. 16, 2009.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 20, 2009 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Google Scholar Provides Free, Searchable Database of Judicial Decisions

Google scholarAs of Nov. 17, Google Scholar began providing an online, searchable database of U.S. federal and state district, appellate, and supreme court decisions.  The database provides full text versions of the opinions, can be searched by topic, and provides links to citing and related cases.  The database appears to contain cases from 1990 forward, but a simple search located a 1969 decision from the Idaho State Supreme Court. 

According to Google, "this addition to Google Scholar will empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all."  Google Blog, Finding the law that governs us all, Nov. 17, 2009.

Special thanks to Hani Sarji (LL.M in Tax candidate at New York Law School) for providing this information.

November 19, 2009 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Passing Wealth for the First Time Can be Scary

Money The Financial times reports that although the current financial climate may have deceased the assets of the self-made-wealth entrepreneurs of the last decade, these newly-rich families still have enough assets to worry about.

The article claims that families with inexperience in passing on wealth want to delay inheritances by their children until their children reach their 30's and are married or in a stable relationship.  Additionally, families are educating their children on wealth at younger ages and continue to take advantage of financial bootcamps to educate their children about investment.  The bottomline, however, is that "'[p]eople want to make sure their capital doesn’t expire before they do.'” 

See Lucy Warwick-Ching, Succession planning: Tricky bussiness of giving it away, Financial Times, Nov. 10, 2009.

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

November 19, 2009 in Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jurisdiction and Venue for Will and Trust Disputes in Texas

Branyon M. Keith Branyon (partner, Jackson Walker LLP) has published his article entitled Jurisdiction and Venue for Will and Trust Disputes, The Advocate, Fall 2009, at 61. 

An excerpt from the article is below:

Jurisdiction and Venue in will and trust disputes are difficult areas of law, particularly due to the interplay between the Texas Probate Code ("TPC") and probate courts, on the one hand, and the Texas Trust Code ("TTC") and district courts, on the other hand.  Complicating the situation even more is the reality that courts sitting in probate differ in jurisdictional scope.  The purpose of this article is not to exhaustively cover all of the nooks and crannies of these areas of law.  Instead, the focus will be on general concepts and how courts have construed them.  As the analysis begins, it is important to remember that improper jurisdiction will always be fatal, but faulty venue is not.

November 19, 2009 in Articles, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)