Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Economic Mobility in the U.S.

Money Many people think that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. But when people think of the rich, they are thinking of people with great wealth, and when they think of the poor, they are thinking of people with low incomes. Wealth and income are not the same. To compound this problem, if government data is misunderstood or misused, it can lead to false conclusions.

In reality, between 2004 and 2007, approximately 1/3 of the households in the lowest income group graduated to a higher income group while 1/3 of the households in the highest income group dropped down. Another study conducted in 2007 shows that the median income of all the groups rose during a ten-year period except for that of the richest 1%.

For Americans, the famous axiom simply isn’t true, and economic mobility helps differentiate the U.S. from many other countries. “The power of the American economy is that it provides opportunity. The income mobility numbers make this abundantly clear.”

Steven R. Cunningham, Opinion: Myths About the Rich and Poor in U.S., Mercury News, Mar. 22, 2011.

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

March 29, 2011 in Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Celebrities Who Hate Paying Taxes

Taxes Celebrities are often paid an exorbitant amount of money to do what they love, so it makes no sense when they don’t pay their taxes. The top ten celebrities who hate paying taxes are listed below:

  1. Wesley Snipes
  2. Joan Baez
  3. Nicolas Cage
  4. Joe Francis
  5. Sinbad
  6. Richard Hatch
  7. Dionne Warwick
  8. Pete Rose
  9. Val Kilmer
  10. Nas

For details regarding each celebrity, see 10 Celebs Who Hate Paying Taxes, BSchool.com, Mar. 27, 2011.

March 29, 2011 in Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit Reverses Linton

Gerzog Wendy C. Gerzog (Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law) recently published her article entitled Linton Reversed: Indirect Gift and Step Transaction, 130 Tax Notes No. 13 (2011). The abstract available on SSRN is below:

The Ninth Circuit recently reversed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of the government in Linton on the issues of indirect gift and the applicability of the step transaction doctrine. The circuit court’s analysis focused on the taxpayers’ donative intent. With that emphasis, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine the sequence of the relevant transactions.

March 29, 2011 in Articles, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Top SSRN Downloads

Ssrn_2 Here are the top downloads from January 24, 2011 to March 25, 2011 from the SSRN Journal of Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law for all papers announced in the last 60 days.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 858 The Fundamentals of Wealth Transfer Tax Planning: 2011 and Beyond
John A. Miller, Jeffrey A. Maine,
University of Idaho College of Law, University of Maine School of Law,
Date posted to database: January 27, 2011
Last Revised: January 27, 2011
2 441 The Politics and Policy of the Estate Tax - Past, Present, and Future
Michael J. Graetz, Michael J. Graetz,
Columbia Law School, Yale Law School,
Date posted to database: February 6, 2011
Last Revised: March 17, 2011
3 228 The Debt-Equity Distinction
Robert Flannigan,
University of Saskatchewan,
Date posted to database: January 21, 2011
Last Revised: March 7, 2011
4 206 Exposing the Hocus Pocus of Trusts
Kent D. Schenkel,
New England Law - Boston,
Date posted to database: February 28, 2011
Last Revised: February 28, 2011
5 206 The Economic Structure of Fiduciary Law
Robert H. Sitkoff,
Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: March 11, 2011
Last Revised: March 11, 2011
6 162 Estate Planning for Digital Assets
Gerry W. Beyer, Kerri M. Griffin,
Texas Tech University School of Law, Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal,
Date posted to database: March 9, 2011
Last Revised: March 21, 2011
7 111 Lawyers and Slaves: A Remarkable Case of Representation from the Antebellum South
Jason Gillmer,
Gonzaga University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: February 4, 2011
Last Revised: February 4, 2011
8 109 The Prudent Investor Rule and Trust Asset Allocation: An Empirical Analysis
Max M. Schanzenbach, Robert H. Sitkoff,
Northwestern University - School of Law, Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: January 29, 2011
Last Revised: March 10, 2011
9 85 The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps)
Peter Nicolas, Mike Strong,
University of Washington School of Law, Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation not provided to SSRN,
Date posted to database: February 9, 2011
Last Revised: February 11, 2011
10 45 Internal Revenue Code Section 170(h): National Perpetuity Standards for Federally Subsidized Conservation Easements Part 1: The Standards
Nancy A. McLaughlin,
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law,
Date posted to database: January 20, 2011
Last Revised: January 20, 2011

March 28, 2011 in Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tiered Investment Valuation Discounts

William Frazier William H. Frazier (Senior Managing Director of Howard Frazier Barker Elliott, Inc.) recently published his article entitled Valuation Discounts in Tiered Investments, Trusts & Estates (Oct. 2010). The introduction is below:

Does the additional layer add new risks to the market value analysis? The subject of tiered discounts is a controversial one. Taxpayers may view the application of a tiered discount as a means to achieve a better tax result. Those who are already critical of valuation discounts see the additional layer of discounts as a blatant tax devise. In reality, there are times when such discounts are warranted and can be verified by similar constructs existing in the marketplace. There are other times when such discounts are, indeed, excessive and unjustifiable.

March 28, 2011 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Estates and Trusts Textbook

Estates and Trusts Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law), Melanie B. Leslie (Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law), and Stewart E. Sterk (H. Bert and Ruth Mack Professor of Real Estate Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) recently published their book entitled Estates and Trusts, 4th ed. (Foundation Press 2011). The publisher’s description of the book is below:

This casebook presents a functional approach to Trusts and Estates. In addition to a focus on recent cases, the book uses questions and problems to focus student attention on issues that face estate planners, litigators and policy makers. In each chapter, it integrates discussion of drafting and planning issues with its treatment of doctrine and policy.

In addition, this casebook is accompanied by power point slides to use in explaining concepts for which diagrams are useful, such as intestate succession, the elective share, anti-lapse statutes, abatement and future interests. The unusually helpful teacher’s manual includes not only case summaries and detailed legal analysis, but detailed lesson plans and discussion questions for those new to law teaching.

March 28, 2011 in Books - For the Classroom, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Baby Boomers May Not Give Children Everything They Expect

Giving gift to child According to a study by London-based Heartwood Wealth Management, most wealthy parents see no reason to sacrifice their own lifestyles for the sake of a child’s inheritance. Two-thirds of these parents said that while they would like to give their children something to help out, they won’t give them so much that they don’t have to work.

Once children finish college, the greatest gift a parent can give them is a lesson in self-reliance. But many of these Generation Y inheritors may not agree. If wealthy parents need assistance with these children, some banks, such as Coutts and Citi Private Bank, run courses for the children of top clients to teach them about assets and responsibility. Another option is to encourage children to pay their own way through graduate school in the U.S.

See Matthew Vincent, Inheritance: Don’t Count On It, Financial Times, Mar. 24, 2011.

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

March 28, 2011 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taylor's $600m-$1b Fortune Will Continue to Grow

Elizabeth TaylorElizabeth Taylor amassed her fortune, now estimated to be between $600 million -$1 billion, mainly as an entrepreneur who branded her personality. Just because she died doesn't mean that she's finished hauling in the big bucks.  She will most likely continue making money for years to come, similar to Michael Jackson.  Elizabeth Arden has already announced that it will continue selling White Diamonds.

The question of who will receive her money is still unanswered. I recently blogged that it may go to her gay manager.  She also may have left it to her dog or to her four children, but a large chunk of it will most likely go towards AIDS. She raised more than $270 million for AIDS through her foundation, and she was very committed to the cause.

See Elizabeth Taylor’s Fortune May Approach $1B, CBS, Mar. 26, 2011.

March 27, 2011 in Current Events, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Elizabeth Taylor's Obituary Written Over Six Years Ago

Elizabeth Taylor I previously blogged about the recent death of Elizabeth Taylor here and here. Though her passing brought sadness, not everyone was shocked by her death. Mel Gussow, who wrote over 4,000 pieces for The New York Times, wrote most of Taylor’s obituary over six years ago before he died in 2005. The New York Times ran this subhead with the piece: “Mel Gussow, the principal writer of this article, died in 2005. William McDonald, William Grimes and Daniel E. Slotnik contributed updated reporting.”

Mel Gussow, A Lustrous Pinnacle of Hollywood Glamour, N.Y. Times, Mar. 23, 2011.  See Nick Greene, RIP New York Times Elizabeth Taylor Obit Writer, 1933-2005, The Village Voice, Mar. 23, 2011.

March 27, 2011 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Gay Manager May Inherit Her £360 Million Fortune

Elizabeth Taylor For the last ten years, Elizabeth Taylor has kept family and friends increasingly at bay while she relied on psychics, doctors, nurses, and a coterie of homosexual ‘walkers’ to accompany her. Her closest companions tended to be homosexual and handsome, like manager Jason Winters, personal assistant Tim Mendelson, and hairdresser Jose Eber. At the center of the kingdom was Daisy, a white Maltese whose needs were paramount.

Now that she has passed away, the focus falls on Jason Winters. The two were very close, and he was the one who helped her out of severe depression and other illnesses after the end of her last marriage to Larry Fortensky. Taylor’s four children, Michael and Christopher Wilding, Lisa Todd, and Maria Burton, believe that Winters will receive Taylor’s £360 million fortune when the will is read, which could happen next week.

See Alison Boshoff, Is Liz Taylor’s Gay Manager About to Inherit her Millions?, Dailymail.co.uk, Mar. 25, 2011.

March 26, 2011 in Estate Administration, Wills | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)