Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sister’s Will Inherit A Fortune If They Complete These Tasks

SistersA deceased real estate tycoon has left a combined $20 million fortune to his two daughters, but in his Will he has imposed strict conditions.  Maurice Laboz was a New York real estate investor who passed away recently.  The two daughters, who are 17 and 21 years old, will be able to receive the inheritance when they turn 35.  If either of the daughters would like to receive early bonuses they would have to fulfill a list of conditions.  These conditions include going to a good university and waiting until marriage before having kids.  Maurice Laboz’s wife, who was in the process of divorcing him before his death, is currently in the process of contesting her late husband’s Will.  What is left of the estate is to be donated to charitable organizations like the Michael J Fox foundation.

See Laurence Bonk, These Sisters Will Inherit $20 Million – If They Complete All The Tasks On This List, IJR Review, July 29, 2015. 

July 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

When A Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Careful Planning Is Essential

AlzheimersWhen a family member or loved one has Alzheimer’s it is important to plan ahead.  Early planning can potentially alleviate a lot of stress that might come up as a result of waiting too long.  It is important to put in place both legal and financial plans.  Another benefit of planning early is that the person who has Alzheimer’s can be involved in the process.  There are a number of costs involved with treating Alzheimer’s, planning ahead for medical care and treatments is essential.  The person suffering from Alzheimer’s should be encouraged to make decisions for his or her future while that person still has legal capacity.  Planning ahead is a good way to make sure the person with Alzheimer’s is able to get the sort of care and treatment that they need.

See Idaho Estate Planning, Helping Loved Ones Suffering From Alzheimer’s, Wealth Management, July 28, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.   

July 30, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (1)

Attorney Who Embezzled $115,000 Sentenced To One Day In Jail

JudgmentAn 84 year old Cleveland Attorney who pleaded guilty to stealing $115,000 from a client’s estate has been sentenced to serve one day in jail. Gerald Cooper, who practiced law for 57 years, originally could have faced a 15 to 21 month sentence. The attorney was given a lighter sentence due to his age and health problems. The article indicates that Cooper has colon cancer and is starting to experience signs of dementia. Even though he will only serve a day in jail, this conviction does represent a blemish on Cooper’s record and reputation.

See Eric Heisig, Cleveland attorney who stole $115,000 from client’s estate gets one day in jail, Cleveland, July 29, 2015.

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

July 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Malpractice, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Special Needs Trust

CLE PictureThe University of Texas School of Law is presenting a CLE entitled, Special Needs Trusts: A Guide for Attorneys, Financial Advisors and Trust Officers, Thursday & Friday February 4-5, 2016, at the Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin.  Here are some details about the event:

Mark your calendar for the 12th Annual Changes and Trends Affecting Special Needs Trusts on February 4–5, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin, Texas.

The conference brings together leading professionals in the SNT field, features the latest updates and hot topics, and offers a great set of materials including sample forms, drafting tips, sample language and resources. If you work with special needs trusts—or want to learn how to use, draft, fund and administer them—don't miss this program!

The Radisson Hotel and Suites is offering attendees a special room rate of $189. Call 512.478.9611 and mention 'UT Law' by January 4, 2016 to receive this special rate.

July 30, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On The Benefits and Burdens of Foreign Trusts

Article PictureStephen Liss recently published an article entitled, The Benefits and Burdens of Foreign Trusts, 29 Probate & Property 3 (May/June 2015). Provided below is an excerpt from the article:

Part of globalization is the increasing movement of human capital (that is, people) across the borders of traditional nation states. This trend shows no signs of ebbing, and the United States remains an attractive destination for the globally mobile. As a result, an increasing number of people resident in the Untied States benefit from trust located outside the United States. This article summarizes some of the key tax and reporting issues associated with U.S. beneficiaries of foreign trusts.

July 30, 2015 in Articles, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Supreme Court Now Allows Unambiguous Wills To Be Reformed

GavelIrving Duke never intended for his estate to pass intestate and produced a holographic will and codicil to make sure of it. In the documents, he provided his estate was to pass to his wife and to a group of charities if they were to die at the same time. However, no contingency was in place if he survived his wife and, when he died, his heirs under intestacy challenged the executor granting the estate to the charities. The trial and appellate court found that the will was unambiguous and, as a result, could not be reformed using extrinsic evidence even though it appeared that Duke intended the alternative gift in the will to apply if he outlived his spouse.

In Estate of Duke, the California Supreme Court overturned the lower courts and ruled that an unambiguous will may be reformed in certain circumstances. If, by clear and convincing evidence, it can be established the testator made an error in in the will, and specific intent can be established, then the will may be reformed to comport with the testators true wishes.

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

July 30, 2015 in Intestate Succession, New Cases, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book On Guardianship Alternatives

Article PictureThe second edition of Contingency Planning has recently been published and is now entitled, A Road Map to Guardianship Alternatives, by Sarah Patel Pacheco, and available through Texas Bar Books. Provided below is a description of the book:

Texas guardianship proceedings can be intrusive, burdensome and costly. Practitioners should be aware of the many alternatives to guardianship that are available to Texas residents. This guide provides an overview of those alternatives, including specific forms that can be used to avoid a court-supervised administration of affairs.

 A Road Map to Guardianship Alternatives, previously published as Contingency Planning, is intended to support practitioners in every area by providing knowledgeable and cost-effective legal support to families making plans for financial and medical care. This useful handbook has been expanded and updated to reflect legislative changes that have occurred since the previous publication.

The book is organized to easily direct both general practitioners and seasoned estate planning attorneys through situations in which the time and expense of creating a guardianship is not in the best interest of the client. It alerts practitioners to events that may be anticipated, such as travel, planned surgery, and administering the assets of minors or the infirm.

July 30, 2015 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How To Transition Or Transfer A Business

TransferWhen it is time to transfer a business the process can be complex and involves more than just estate planning.  A business “transition” involves the transfer of a business asset or the whole entity when the current owner is ready to move on.  Typical procedures often involve a valuation of the business and the transfer of both tangible and intangible assets.  The transaction can involve a cash purchase of individual items, share interest, and/or stocks or certificates.  The time and complexity involved with a transfer often depends on the size and makeup of the business.  It is a good idea to seek out advice from an experienced estate planning attorney with sorting through these transition issues.

See Kyle E. Krull, P.A., How do I Transition or Transfer My Business, Wealth Management, July 28, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 29, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Balancing Act Involved With Charitable Giving

CharityWhen it comes to charitable giving there are multiple layers of intertwined motivations that are both personal and philanthropic.  A financial planner needs to perform a balancing act when assisting a client with overcoming conflicting desires in charitable giving.  This article discusses how financial planners will need to help their clients adapt to changes in the tax law dealing with charitable gift giving.  There will also be changes to how clients will handle charitable remainder unitrusts (CRUTs).  This article explains the different techniques advisers can use to help balance the client’s interest taking into account the interest of the beneficiary charity as well.  It discusses the different ways to structure split-interest gifts.  This article will hopefully provide more information about the importance of planning ahead when making charitable gifts. 

See Robert F. Sharpe, Jr., The Charitable Planning Balancing Act, Wealth Management, June 25, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 29, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Regulations On Valuation Discounts May Be Close To Publication

TreasuryRumors are circulating that the Treasury Department is going to publish new regulations that will deal with planning for chapter 14 family businesses and entities.  In this edition of Capital Letters Ronald C. Aucutt discusses the valuation discount regulations that will affect the chapter 14 statutory structure.  The Treasury Department would like more durable rules for disregarding certain statutory restrictions.  The article discusses how the greenbook provides an outline for what type of regulations the Treasury is expected to release.  There will probably be intense reactions to the new regulations and it likely take many years for a final version to be implemented.  Many people will try to challenge or circumvent the new rules.  Others feel that the new proposed regulations will offer a more holistic approach to deductions. 

See Ronald C. Aucutt, Anticipated Valuation Discount Regulations, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, July 20, 2015.

Special thanks to Bob Moore (Wolf & Moore, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)