Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Why It’s So Hard for Americans to Save for Retirement

Brooks0918HiRes-0312Ted Benna, considered by many to be the father of the 401(k), is still striving to make it easier for ordinary Americans to save for retirement. Despite numerous retirement options available to the average worker, many reach retirement age with savings that are not capable of providing them with necessary levels of support. Benna, now 75, recently released a guide to help small businesses by pointing out viable retirement and investment vehicles for employees that manage to keep costs and liabilities low. His efforts have even influenced Congress; House Republicans are currently considering reforms that would allow 401(k) investment funds to be taxed up front as opposed to when they are withdrawn for retirement.

See Jonnelle Marte, Why It’s So Hard for Americans to Save for Retirement, The Washington Post, September 15, 2017.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 25, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jerry Lewis Excludes His Six Sons from His Will

La-et-jerry-lewis-pictures-015Jerry Lewis, who passed away in August at age 91, has apparently excluded his six sons and his first wife, Patti Palmer, from inheriting as beneficiaries from his estate. The pertinent portion of the will reads: “I have intentionally excluded Gary Lewis, Ronald Lewis, Anthony Joseph Lewis, Christopher Joseph Lewis, Scott Anthony Lewis, and Joseph Christopher Lewis and their descendants as beneficiaries of my estate, it being my intention that they shall receive no benefits hereunder.” Lewis’s second wife, SanDee, and adopted daughter, Danielle, are purportedly the only beneficiaries that will inherit under the will.

See Nardine Saad, Jerry Lewis Excludes His Six Sons from His Will, Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law), Jin Xu Spinhirne, & Jay Brinker for bringing this article to my attention.

 

September 25, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Alan Thicke’s Widow Scores Court Win Against Sons…for Now

0914-tanya-thicke-robin-thicke-tmz-getty-3Tanya Callau, Alan Thicke’s widow, won a brief victory in court over Thicke’s sons, Robin and Brennan. The boys originally alleged that Callau was preparing to challenge the prenuptial agreement she had signed with Thicke, and they petitioned the court to stop her. Callau claimed that she had no such intention and that Thicke’s sons were trying to smear her in the media and to make it seem as though she was only after money. The judge sided with Callau, holding that there was no apparent intent on her part to challenge the premarital agreement.

See Alan Thicke’s Widow Scores Court Win Against Sons…for Now, TMZ, September 14, 2017.

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

September 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on The Comments to the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act Relating to Self-Settled Spendthrift Trusts are Correct

17.03.InSideBACRIM.MoneyKenneth C. Kettering recently posted an Article entitled, The Comments to the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act Relating to Self-Settled Spendthrift Trusts are Correct, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The comments to the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (formerly named the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act), originally written in 1984, were refreshed in connection with the 2014 amendments. The comments make reference to the unanimous body of cases holding that a transfer by a debtor to a spendthrift trust for the debtor’s own benefit — i.e., an asset protection trust — is a fraudulent transfer. Vendors of asset protection trusts are seeking to suppress those comments. The arguments they advance for suppression of those comments have no merit at all.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 24, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hurricanes, Displacement and the Effect on Domicile

Hurricane-harvey-flooding-ap-17239709388422Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have cut a devastating swath of large-scale destruction through both Texas and Florida over the past few weeks. While stories of tremendous courage and breath-taking heroism shed light on the more admirable qualities seen in human nature, the overall tale remains one of mass evacuations and terrible property loss. The fortunate few that were able to evacuate to winter or vacation homes may have avoided the worst of the storms, but those who fled to the safer harbors of Connecticut may have another problem: the Connecticut estate tax. The move, though intended to be temporary, may affect these individuals’ domicile planning for the purpose of estate taxes. For those in this situation, it is important to keep all pertinent records and to contact your estate-planning professional.

See Lisa P. Staron, Hurricanes, Displacement and the Effect on Domicile, The National Law Review, September 20, 2017.

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

September 23, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE on Elder Law and Medicaid Planning: Everything You Need to Know

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Elder Law and Medicaid Planning: Everything You Need to Know, which will take place on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester Downtown in Rochester, NY. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Everything You Need to Know to Represent Elderly Clients

Rising medical costs, health insurance changes, looming Social Security Fund depletion and baby boomers' retirement have intensified concerns over long-term care funding. Are you doing everything you can to help each client develop a comprehensive plan to ensure proper quality of life in the golden years? Join our expert faculty for two days of intensive study on planning and coordinating government benefits, and emerge better prepared to face the challenges of today's Medicaid and elder law practice. Register today!

  • Get two full days of estate planning training, so you can help clients protect assets and qualify for continuing care benefits.
  • Review medical and financial Medicaid eligibility criteria in detail.
  • Explore new continuing care options that allow for more independence.
  • Find new LTC funding sources to help clients maintain the quality of life they're used to.
  • Get solutions to real-life ethical dilemmas often faced in elder law practice.
  • Plan for the tax consequences of asset transfers on spenddown requirement compliance.
  • Minimize Medicaid estate recovery through intricate understanding of the process.
  • Make better use of special needs trusts.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level two-day seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers
  • Paralegals
  • Accountants
  • Tax Preparers
  • Nursing Home Administrators

Course Content

DAY 1

  1. Medicaid Benefits and Eligibility Rules
  2. Preserving Family Assets When Qualifying for Medicaid
  3. Medical and End-of-Life Decisions
  4. Medicaid Application Procedure and Tactics
  5. Ethical Dilemmas

DAY 2

  1. Long-Term Care Planning: Types, Cost, and Funding Options
  2. Tax Considerations
  3. Powers of Attorney
  4. Special Needs Trusts: Creation, Taxation, Administration
  5. Medicaid Post-Eligibility Issues

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State 
CLE 14.40 -  NJ*
CLE 14.00 -  NY*
CLE 12.00 -  PA*

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants – CPE for Accountants: 14.00 *

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 14.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

September 23, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Frank Vincent's Body Cremated for Presentation at Memorial Service

0915-frank-vincent-getty-7Frank Vincent, a star of “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas”, died last Wednesday during open-heart surgery due to complications. The body was transported to a funeral home in Montclair, New Jersey where it was cremated. The memorial service will feature Vincent’s ashes in an urn surrounded by phots of the actor at various stages of his life.

See Frank Vincent's Body Cremated for Presentation at Memorial Service, TMZ, September 15, 2017.

September 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Forced Heirship in Spanish Law

WillieSergio Cámara Lapuente recently posted an Article entitled, Forced Heirship in Spanish Law, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal. Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Although the Spanish Civil Code is especially restrictive on the will of the deceased since it imposes the "post mortem" duty to protect the family by means of fixed shares called "legítimas", this system has been softened in the latest legal reforms, testamentary practices and a new, more flexible orientation of case law on the causes for disinheritance since 2014. Legal institutions such as the "mejora" ("improvement" of some of the forced heirs), the non-penalising nature for the testator on the rules on unfair disinheritance or intentional omission (preterition) or payment of the legítima in cash in some cases give the testator some margin for decision-making despite the high amount of the forced share (two thirds of the estate for the descendants). Nevertheless, the legal system is still held to be excessively restrictive in the eyes of society and the legal community alike. This has therefore brought about various different proposals for reform, ranging the keeping of the current system but with various reforms such as reducing the forced heirs and amounts, converting it into a post mortem maintenance right in the measure of the real needs of the relatives and spouse or the abolishment of the forced heir altogether. This paper examines the history of forced heirship in Spain and assess critically the law in force as for the beneficiaries, the calculation and protection measures, the usual techniques to override in practice and the arguments in favor of the preservation of the forced heirship or in favor of a greater freedom of testation, with account of the latest developments in case law and the recent 2017 proposals to reform the Law of Succession in this respect.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 22, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Tax Exemption Projected to Top $11 Million Per Couple in 2018

Elephant-donkey-boxing.268130451_stdThe estate and gift tax exemption limits for 2018 are expected to increase to $5.6 million from the $5.49 million threshold in 2017. If this were the case, it would mean that couples would be able to leave over $11 million to beneficiaries without triggering the estate or gift tax. The annual allowable exemption for gifts is also expected to increase from $14,000 to $15,000 in 2018. This change represents the first time the yearly gift exclusion has been adjusted since 2013. While these increases make it slightly easier for individuals with significant assets to pass their estate to the next generation, those exceeding the threshold limits for exemption are more excited about the prospect of repeal.

Although estate and gift taxes affect a minute percentage of the American populous and bring in an insignificant amount of tax revenue, Republicans and Democrats are battling mightily along tightly drawn party lines. Democrats are holding the tax out as a great equalizer and a means to reduce social inequality. Republicans point to the ranchers and landowners that struggle to pay hefty estate taxes over multiple generations. Whatever side you chose, the legislative conversation about estate tax repeal will likely intensify before any commitment to action occurs.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Estate Tax Exemption Projected to Top $11 Million Per Couple in 2018, Forbes, September 15, 2017.       

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

       

September 22, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bobbi Kristina's Estate Joins Bobby Brown in Suing Over Biopic

BobbiBobbi Kristina’s estate has paired up with Bobby Brown to prevent TV One from releasing a show about Kristina’s life. The estate is arguing that the release would be a violation of Kristina’s right to privacy, despite her passing in 2015. Bobby Brown is alleging that the show is defamatory in that it portrays him as violent and abusive toward his former spouse, Whitney Houston. The estate and Brown are seeking $2 million in damages along with an injunction preventing TV One from airing the show.

See Bobbi Kristina's Estate Joins Bobby Brown in Suing Over Biopic, TMZ, September 12, 2017,

Special thanks to Molly Neace, J.D., for bringing this article to my attention.

September 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)