Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, August 29, 2016

Estate Plans for the Modern Family

Blended familiesThe current modern family can consist of adopted children and assisted reproductive technology children but may also need surrogates or donors to help with reproduction. It is important to have a proper estate plan to ensure that these children benefit and donors or surrogates do not. Estate planners should also consider posthumous reproduction, determining things like time limit and availability. Additionally, divorce and blended marriages can create further controversy for families trying to create an estate plan. Ultimately, estate planners must consider shifts in family definitions to ensure the effectiveness of a family’s goals.

See Bobbi J. Bierhals & Kim Kamin, Modernizing Trusts for Modernized Families, Wealth Management, August 11, 2016.

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

August 29, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

RICO Claims Can be Brought Against Estate Executor

RICO claimRICO charges are normally used as a civil remedy in claims of significant criminal activity and provide for treble damages. Recently, the Second Circuit ruled that RICO claims can also be brought in connection with unlawful activities by an executor of an estate.

In King v. Wang, before and during the administration of Wang’s estate, the Defendant allegedly engaged in a scheme to deprive the Plaintiffs of their expected inheritance. The Plaintiffs filed RICO claims. The Second Circuit affirmed federal jurisdiction over the claims, determining that the claims fell outside the probate exception. 

See Jeffrey Skatoff, Can a RICO Claim be Brought Against an Executor of an Estate?, Florida Probate Lawyers, August 27, 2016.

August 29, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Professional Responsibility, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Focus on Legacy Management for Artists

PicassoArtist Mark Rothko wrote a will that firmly documented the desire for his estate to remain out of the vaults of the extremely wealthy. After both he and his wife died, however, large parts of his estate were sold to a gallery for deflated prices. The next year, Rothko’s daughter sued and won the case, but most of the damage had already been done with several of the paintings already sold. With cases like Rothko’s, artists and dealers are beginning to focus on legacy management, securing an artistic afterlife. There have been several instances of trustees fighting with inheritors. Consequently, art galleries are making it a point to talk to artists about proper estate planning.

See Harriet Fitch Little, How an Artist’s Legacy Became Big Business, Financial Times, August 26, 2016.

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

August 28, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Has KFC's Secret Recipe Been Revealed?

Colonel sandersDid Colonel Sanders’ nephew accidently reveal the secret blend of eleven herbs and spices for KFC’s fried chicken? KFC says not so fast, claiming that the recipe published in the Chicago Tribune is not authentic. The speculation started when a reporter interviewed Joe Ledington, a nephew of Colonel Harland David Sanders’ famed fried chicken empire. Ledington pulled out a scrapbook during the interview containing the will of Sanders’ second wife, which had a handwritten list on the back of the eleven herbs and spices. At first, Ledington told the reporter that it was the original recipe but later said he did not know. 

See Associated Press, The Colonel’s Secret Recipe Revealed? Not So Fast, Says KFC, NBC News, August 26, 2016.

August 28, 2016 in Current Events, Food and Drink, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Possible Agreement Reached Between Shari Redstone and Her Niece

Shari redstoneThe white flag has been waved in the family feud between Shari Redstone and her niece Keryn Redstone. The issue between the two family members resulted from changes made to Sumner Redstone’s trust. Keryn, a beneficiary of the trust, claimed that her aunt was making the changes to the trust not Sumner. However, a tentative settlement was reached on Friday, which could put this family feud to rest. In that hearing, Sumner’s lawyer agreed to give Keryn the assurance that she was being treated equally amongst the grandchildren under the trust document.

See Joe Flint, Possible Accord Reached in Family Battle Over Sumner Redstone Trust, Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2016.

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

August 27, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on the New Divorce Phenomenon

Elder divorceArlene G. Dubin & Rebecca A. Provder (Moses and Single LLP) recently published an Article entitled, The Gray Divorce Phenomenon, (2016). Provided below is a summary of the Article:

An 82 year old client wanted a divorce from her husband of 57 years. When asked why, she responded, “I want to live a little before I die.”

A study conducted in 2014 reveals that the divorce rate for individuals 50 and older has doubled in the last 20 years. Two decades ago, individuals 50 and older accounted for about 10% of divorces. Recently, the divorce rate for this age group spiked to approximately 25%. What’s more, approximately half of those divorces occurred in first marriages.

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

August 27, 2016 in Articles, Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Nancy Reagan's Treasures Go Up for Sale

Nancy reaganOn September 21 and 22, 700 of Nancy Reagan’s treasures will be up for auction at Christie’s New York, estimating sales in excess of $2 million. Additionally, on August 18, all of her jewels were shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a classic car event sponsored by Christie’s, totaling $280,000. Sale proceeds will go to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute. There will be pieces ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. The Article highlights some of the greatest prizes.

See James Tarmy, Nancy Reagan’s Jewels Are Up for Auction, and They Are Quite Something, Bloomberg, August 18, 2016.

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

August 26, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inheriting Vacation Homes

Vacation homeVacation homes are places for families to make everlasting memories, but parents are often shocked to learn that their kids are indifferent to their inheritance. With proper planning, however, a vacation home transfer can keep a family’s memories alive for generations to come. Communication amongst the family can help promote more thoughtful decisions for the future of the vacation home—either preserving the home throughout generations or selling it. Vacation homes can involve unwanted maintenance, so families need to discuss any potential concerns.

There are several ways to transfer a vacation home property, including being jointly owned by the children or transferring to a limited liability company or trust. Parents who plan to hold on to the property until they die find it best to place the transfer in trust. Parents can even set aside funds to care for the maintenance on the property, making it more enjoyable for their children.

See Liz Skinner, Surprising Trials of Passing Down Vacation Homes, Investment News, August 23, 2016.

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

August 26, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Probate Exception in Turnover of Estate Property

Estate turnoverIn Pollok v. The Vanguard Group, Inc., an executor filed a petition in California probate court seeking a Turnover of Estate Property. The executor claimed that asset payment to the estate was short $900,000. The financial institute in charge of the payment removed the case to federal court. The probate exception, however, states that the probate and administration of a decedent’s estate is subject to the authority of state probate courts not federal courts. The court ultimately held that federal jurisdiction would interfere with state court proceedings.

See Brian Spiro, Probate Exception Applies to Remand of Turnover Action, Florida Probate Lawyers, August 24, 2016.

August 26, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Duke University Files Claim Seeking Promised Pledge Funds

Duke universityDuke University filed a claim on Aubrey McClendon’s estate, asserting that the oil magnate died before he could fulfill roughly $10 million of pledges. McClendon had pledged funds for athletics, scholarships, and campus improvements. Lawyers for McClendon’s estate claim that the once billionaire left behind more debt than assets. Duke University’s claim is the first that focuses on the mogul’s charitable giving. In the upcoming suit, the main question will be whether there was a legally binding contract.

See Ryan Dezember & Kevin Helliker, Duke University Makes Claim on Estate of Aubrey McClendon, Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2016.

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

August 26, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)