Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rev. Rul. 2014-8: Prescribed Rates for March 2014


The IRS recently issued Rev. Rul. 2014-8 to update prescribed rates for March 2014. Here is the summary of the relevant rates:

  • Table 1: short-term, mid-term, and long-term AFRs for § 1274(d)
  • Table 2: short-term, mid-term, and long-term adjusted AFRs for § 1288(b)
  • Table 3: adjusted long-term federal rate and long-term tax-exempt rate for § 382(f)
  • Table 4: percentage for low income housing credit in § 42(b)
  •  Table 5: federal rate for annuity, a remainder, or a reversionary interest for § 7520

See Rev. Rul. 2014-8, 2014 Fed ¶46,269.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


February 27, 2014 in Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Paul Walker's Will Is Being Settled

PaulwalkerThree months after celebrity actor Paul Walker died in a car crash, his will is finally being settled. A Santa Barbara judge just approved Paul Walker's father as the executor of his estate as Walker stated in his will. While Walker's executor has been appointed, questions remain about who will take care of daughter, Meadow. A decision has not been made on Meadow's guardianship. Currently, she is living with her grandmother. Reports indicate that both Meadow and her mother are OK with the set-up because Meadow wants to stay in California.

See, Ashley Collman, Paul Walker's Dying Wish Fulfilled As Dad Is Named Executor Of His Estate-But Still No Word On Who Will Raise Daughter Meadow, Mail Online, Feb. 20, 2014.

February 27, 2014 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

American Idol Finalist in Probate Court

American idolLaKisha Jones, American Idol finalist, testified in probate court this past Tuesday, February 25. She testified during a hearing in which she was accused of not paying her father's nursing home bills. Jones was made her father’s legal guardian after he suffered from a stroke at the age of 67. He was receiving a social security payment of $1,047 monthly, $987 of those funds were supposed to be allocated to pay the nursing home. The probate judge determined that she was thousands behind in the payments and found Jones in contempt of court. 

See, Gary Ridley, Watch 'American Idol' Finalist LaKisha Jones Testify In Genesee Probate Court, MLive, Feb. 25, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 27, 2014 in Guardianship, New Cases, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CLE on Unusual Assets

CLEThe ABA Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law is presenting an eCLE entitled, From the Bazaar to the Bizarre: Planning for and Administering Unusual Assets in Estates and Trusts, on March 4, 2014.  Provided below is a description of this event:

From artwork to firearms to wine cellars, our clients have an unending array of assets. For some of the assets, possessing, transferring, or transporting them requires complying with specific rules. Failure to comply with those rules can have severe consequences for fiduciaries.

Taxes are important, but people really care about personal items.

During this program our panelists will present useful techniques, with particular attention on assets that pose unusual risks for fiduciaries.

What you don’t know just might hurt you.

February 27, 2014 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

CLE on Portability


The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) is presenting a telephone seminar and audio webcast entitled, Portability: An Update for Estate Planners, on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.  Provided below is a description of this event:

Portability is permanent and a game-changer!

The faculty will demonstrate the net-after-tax benefits of using a portability type plan compared to a traditional-type plan, and discuss tax basis adjustment mechanisms that can help your clients maximize income tax benefits.

Topics include:

  • tips for incorporating portability into your practice     
  • issues related to making the portability election       
  • What happens if a timely portability election is missed?        
  • new estate planning strategies using portability-type planning vs. traditional planning

February 26, 2014 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hidden Costs of Estate Administration


Most people have no idea that serving as an executor or administrator of an estate is very time-consuming and burdensome.  There are some “obvious costs” like attorney’s fees, court filing fees, and commissions for the executor, but there are also some not-so-obvious expenses associated with closing an estate.  Here are a few hidden costs:

  • Time.  Closing an estate takes time.  The compensation for being an executor may not be worth the time it takes to get papers signed, do an accounting, and tie up loose ends. 
  • Will contests.  If all the beneficiaries sign off on the accounting, the process can be fairly simple.  But if a beneficiary wannabe objects, then thousands of dollars may be spent and many months may drag on fighting the will contest. 
  • Minors.  If a beneficiary is a minor or considered incompetent, closing the estate can get more complicated. 
  • Overseas beneficiaries.  If a beneficiary lives in another country, extra money may need to be spent on translations or notarizing documents. 
  • Property in other states.  The executor may have to open another probate if the deceased has a residence in another state. 
  • Shipping.  The estate may have to ship items to relatives far away. 
  • Sales costs.  Commissions need to be paid if assets are being sold at an auction. 
  • Cleaning costs.  If the house needs to be sold, it will likely need to be cleaned first. 
  • Housing costs.  Carrying costs, such as mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance can be a pain.  Locks may also need to be changed or a security system installed.

See Geoff Williams, The Hidden Costs of Closing an Estate, US News, Feb. 20, 2014.

February 26, 2014 in Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down


Today, a federal judge struck down Texas’ same-sex marriage ban, ruling the ban has no “rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.”

In De Leon v. Perry, San Antonio Judge Orlando Garcia sided with two same-sex couples, saying “Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals, has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals, and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently."

Garcia stayed enforcement of his decision pending appeal, which means same-sex couples cannot yet get married in Texas.  State officials are expected to appeal this decision to a federal appeals court in New Orleans.  Among those defending the ban is state Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate for governor.

See Bill Mears, Texas Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Struck Down, CNN, Feb. 26, 2014.

February 26, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook Changing Policies Regarding Deceased Users


Facebook will now offer users the opportunity to obtain a video montage of lost loved ones. 

This move comes in response to a Youtube plea by a grieving father requesting to see his late son’s “Look Back” video, a minute-long compilation the company offers to all its users.  After receiving many additional requests for such videos, Facebook will now have a page where loved ones can request them.

Facebook is also changing its policy regarding “memorial pages.”  Before, only a deceased user’s Facebook friends could view these profiles and leave tribute messages.  Facebook will now allow anyone to see memorial pages if a user permitted this before they passed.

These changes represent Facebook’s attempt at finding a balance between respecting a deceased user’s privacy and allowing family members access to mementos of their loved one.

See Jeff John Roberts, Facebook Will Provide “Look Back” Video to Dead Users’ Loved Ones, Gigaom, Feb. 21, 2014.

February 26, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Expected 2015 Tax Changes

ChangeMajor tax changes are not expected for 2014 due to upcoming elections. However, the 2014 Green Book proposals foreshadow possible changes for 2015 that would affect estate planning. These Green Book proposals could change requirements and considerations for:

  • Estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax
  • Grantor trusts
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts
  • Estate planning generally
  • Retirement accounts

See, Kevin Matz, Change on the Horizon for 2015?, WealthManagement.com, Feb. 14, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 26, 2014 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Death Superstition


Coffins should always leave the house feet first. 

If the body leaves feet first, then the deceased will be unable to “see their way back” to the home and become a restless spirit.

See Memento Mori Images, Death Superstitions, Facebook, Feb. 20, 2014.

February 25, 2014 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)