Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Concord Places First Among Overlay Providers

TrustIndependent trust companies are now relying on overlay management software more than ever for enhanced performance and fewer mistakes in their investment process. With overlay systems, assets are not delegated to outside managers to invest but are instead managed in-house. However, finding the best overlay provider can be difficult for independent trust companies. When considering flexibility, cost, and other factors, Alaska Trust found that Concord was the best option.

For a chart comparing different overlay providers, see Scott Martin, Concord Wins Top Honor as Most Trust-Friendly Overlay Provider, The Trust Advisor Blog, July 10, 2010.

July 28, 2010 in Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Protecting Elders in Alaska

AlaskaKim Vu-Dinh recently published her article entitled Reforming the Power of Attorney Law to Protect Alaskan Elders from Financial Exploitation, 27 Alaska L. Rev. 1 (2010). The abstract for her article is below:

In this Article, the Author discusses the issues arising under the current power of attorney law in Alaska and the impact the law has on Alaskan elders. The Author surveys and summarizes preventative measures set out in the 2006 Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA), in addition to non- UPOAA reforms adopted in other jurisdictions or suggested by scholars. The Author analyzes the relevance and practicality of the various provisions as applied to Alaska and highlights the major themes that should be considered when reforming the current statute.

July 28, 2010 in Articles, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on Bobby Fischer's Estate

Bobby fischer youngI previously blogged about the exhumation of Bobby Fischer’s body to determine whether or not he is the father of Jinky Young. While we still don’t know the results of the paternity test, we do know the possible distributions of Fischer’s estate.

If Jinky is Fischer’s daughter, and Ms. Watai (a Japanese woman who claims to be Fischer's wife) is found to be his widow, then Jinky would receive 2/3 of his estate and Ms. Watai would receive the remainder. If Jinky is not Fischer’s daughter, Ms. Watai would receive everything. If the Icelandic court rejects Ms. Watai as Fischer’s widow, Fischer’s two nephews would receive his entire estate.

Fischer’s estate is estimated to be worth $1-2 million. Uncertainty exists because the United States government has claims against his estate for taxes and penalties (for playing a chess game in Yugoslavia while it was under a United States trade embargo).

See Dylan Loeb McClain, For Bobby Fischer, the Drama Won’t Die, N.Y. Times, July 23, 2010.

Special thanks to Margaret Elizabeth Perry (Texas Tech School of Law graduate, May 2010) for bringing this to my attention.

July 28, 2010 in Estate Administration, Intestate Succession | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Increase in Taxes May Increase Charitable Donations

Charity I previously blogged about the increasing popularity of gift-giving this year. Charitable contributions are also expected to increase as peoples’ taxes rise over the next 18 months. Eighty-seven percent of advisors think that their clients will see a tax spike in the next 12-18 months, and twenty-six percent of advisors believe that their clients will increase charitable giving to dull the pain. This is good news for charities, who saw a 3.6% decline in charitable giving in 2009 due to the recession.

See Eric Rasmussen, Higher Taxes May Prompt More Giving, Financial Advisor, July 22, 2010. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this to my attention. 

July 28, 2010 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trinity Law School is Looking for a Wills and Trusts Professor

Trinity law schoolTrinity Law School in Santa Ana, California is looking for an Adjunct Professor to teach Wills and Trusts.  For inquiries, please contact Arthur J. Pauly, Jr. at artpauly@paulylaw.com.

July 27, 2010 in Faculty Positions -- Visiting, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Counties are Burdened by Those Who Die Intestate

Henry horseHenry was one of seven horses that fell under the care of Marin County when their owner died intestate. Although Marin County found homes for these horses, the bigger issue of adults dying intestate is an expensive problem for the county. Although the county can use assets in an estate to cover the administration expenses, most people leave behind more debts than assets. This year, managing estates has cost taxpayers in Marin County $52,581.

In an effort to combat the intestacy problem, Marilyn Geary and Jacqueline Janssen have begun holding meetings called “LeaveLight Circles.” These gatherings are based on the book “LeaveLight: A Motivational Guide to Holistic End-of-Life Planning” and are meant to help people make decisions regarding funeral arrangements, directives, and other end-of-life considerations.

See Scott James, Dying Alone Intestate Places Burden on the County, N.Y. Times, July 22, 2010. 

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

July 27, 2010 in Estate Administration, Intestate Succession | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Kafka's Writings Tied Up In Court

Franz kafkaTen safety deposit boxes full of never-published Franz Kafka writings are trapped in an Israeli court. These papers could potentially shed light on the mysterious author. Here’s how the papers ended up where they are today:

  • Kafka bequeathed his writings to Max Brod, instructing him to burn everything unread.
  • When Kafka passed away in 1924 from tuberculosis, Brod ignored Kafka’s wishes and published most of what he had. He took what he didn’t publish to pre-state Israel where he passed away in 1968.
  • Brod instructed Esther Hoffe to transfer the Kafka papers to an academic institution upon his death. Instead, Esther kept the papers in Tel Aviv and Zurich, selling some for large amounts of money.
  • Esther died three years ago, leaving her collection to her two daughters, Eva Hoffe and Ruth Wiesler.

The two daughters are currently battling the Israeli National Library which has filed an injunction against the execution of their mother’s will. The Tel Aviv Family Court opened the collection a year ago, saying that it wants to know its contents before deciding the owner. Until experts are done inspecting the papers, the papers, as well as their rightful owner, will remain a mystery.

See Aron Heller, Lost Kafka Writings Resurface, Trapped in Trial, AP, July 21, 2010.

Special thanks to Kimberly Sias (Texas Tech School of Law graduate, May 2010) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 27, 2010 in Estate Administration, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ruling Regarding QTIPs

Wendy gerzog Wendy C. Gerzog (Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law) recently published her article entitled Morgens: More QTIP Mischief, Tax Notes, Vol. 128, No. 3, 2010. The abstract available on SSRN is below:

In Morgens, the court ruled in favor of the government that section 2035(b) applied to the gift taxes paid by the qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust beneficiaries to gross up the widow’s estate by that amount. Because the surviving (or donee) spouse must be taxed on the underlying property over which she has no ownership rights, Congress enacted section 2207A to allow the second spouse to recover from the beneficiaries of the property the transfer taxes relating to her gift or estate inclusion. However, the court held that section 2207A did not shift the gift tax liability to those beneficiaries to exempt the widow’s estate from the application of section 2035(b).

July 27, 2010 in Articles, New Cases, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elder Law Call for Papers

Call for papersInformation about a call for papers issued by Emory University School of Law is below:

Aging is a feminist issue. The elderly, especially the oldest of the old, are disproportionately female. Among the elderly, women are more likely than their male peers to face a number of challenges, including poverty, disability and isolation. Yet, the legal academy, including feminist legal theorists, is only just beginning to pay attention to old age and its implications. This workshop will advance this agenda by bringing together a diverse group of scholars to explore the relationship between feminist theory, law and policy, and the concerns of the aging. We will focus on understanding how the relationship between age and gender can be theorized, as well as exploring how feminist legal theory can inform policy and law in the U.S. and abroad.

Feminist legal theorists are in an excellent position to advance progressive and transformative theories about aging. The form and content of the negative stereotypes older adults are frequently subjected to parallel negative stereotypes about women. Like women, the elderly (both men and women) have traditionally been cast as mentally inadequate, frail, and in need of protection by outsiders. Both age and gender – and out-dated conceptions of each – have historically been cavalierly used as convenient proxies for other, more germane, characteristics. In addition, older women face many of the same gendered inequalities of younger women in contexts ranging from domestic violence to employment discrimination. Further, the growing population of older women raises distinct issues of caretaking whether the older woman is serving as caretaker or as the care recipient.

PAPER TOPICS: Potential contributors are encouraged to think creatively about the relationship between aging and gender, and how feminist legal theory can be brought to bear on understanding old-age policies. To this end, possible paper topics include:

  • What characterizes a feminist approach to aging and how does this differ from other approaches?
  • How do current discourses and practices of domestic violence, family law, employment/labor law, sexuality, masculinity, and political theory engage or fail to engage with the elder population?
  • How does the law reinforce or enhance the vulnerability and marginalization of the elderly?
  • What arguments can be made for and against the proposition that the government must support caretaking and caretakers of the elderly?
  • How do these arguments differ from those made on behalf of the caretakers of children or the disabled?
  • How should government "protect" older adults, what are the implications of such protection, and how might feminist legal theory inform and guide our understanding of protective policies?
  • How should family responsibility be structured in old-age policy?
  • What are the implications of health care reform for older adults aging?

Please email a paper proposal of several paragraphs length by October 1, 2010 to: mfineman@law.emory.edu, ncahn@law.gwu.edu, nakohn@law.syr.edu, and cdomozi@emory.edu. Decisions will be made by October 15, 2010.

Workshop Details.  The Workshop begins Friday at 4PM in room 575 of Emory Law School, followed by dinner in the Hunter Atrium. The Law School is located at 1301 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA. Presentations and panels continue on Saturday from 10AM to approximately 5PM. Lunch will be provided.

July 26, 2010 in Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Billionaires Lobby for Reinstatement of Estate Tax

Estate TaxWhile many wealthy people lobby for the permanent repeal of the estate and gift taxes, other wealthy individuals lobby for the exact opposite. Hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson, Disney heiress Abigail Disney, and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin joined in a teleconference recently to insist that Congress restore a hefty estate tax before it breaks for recess in August. These individuals feel that an inheritance tax is a way to help America raise money and prevent undeserving individuals from receiving windfalls.

“So there’s broad agreement--outside Congress at least--that something should be done on the estate tax before the elected officials go home to play, or politic, or fund raise. But even among billionaires, there’s little consensus on what should be done.”

Ashlea Ebeling and Janet Novack, Billionaires Battle on Estate Tax, Forbes, July 21, 2010.

July 26, 2010 in Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)