Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, December 22, 2017

Ashes of Woman’s Father Stolen from Front Porch of Arizona Home

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-21/f868c545-56b1-45e6-bc57-f77be505770d.pngThe postal service is offering a $10,000 reward after someone stole a package containing the remains of Elyse Brink’s father. Brink spoke with Tuscon News Now and said her neighbor saw the package on the doorstep on Tuesday, but it was gone by the time she arrived home. She said that this “was the final step in the process of me saying goodbye to my dad and making the arrangements and sending him home here. And to know that he was so close and then taken. It just breaks my heart.” The Oklahoma City funeral home commented that the package should not have been left at the house without a signature.

See Christopher Carbone, Ashes of Woman’s Father Stolen from Front Porch of Arizona Home, Reward Offered, Fox News, December 18, 2017.

December 22, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Zombies Pay Taxes?

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-21/12c8785d-837c-4802-9732-47302cf65329.pngCryonics is the process through which individuals who are dying preserve their remains with the hope that ongoing scientific achievement will make it possible for them to return to life. The process brings with it obvious moral and ethical considerations, but also some practical legal questions involving taxation. Planners dealing with clients who have a cryopreservation plan may need to comprehend the tax implications of coming back from the dead. Currently, the tax status of a revived grantor is unknown. In Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Inc. v. Mitchell, the court kicked the proverbial can down the road and stated they were “confident that those persons who will then head our various branches of government will be far wiser than we and entirely capable of resolving such dilemmatic issues without our assistance.”

See Mark E. House, Do Zombies Pay Taxes?, Wealth Management.com, December 20, 2017.

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

December 22, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Older Americans Would Rather Die Than Live in a Nursing Home

"'Kiss of life' from a parking officer?! I'd rather die!!"A new survey from The Nationwide Retirement Institute reveals that 61% of Americans would rather die than live in a nursing home. Caregivers are often impacted by this stigma as they watch loved ones move into retirement and beyond. A hefty majority of caregivers reported significant emotional distress stemming from negative repercussions on health, martial strain, less time for family, and difficulty in balancing tasks. Eric Henderson, senior vice president at Nationwide, said: “[t]he role of a caregiver can be difficult, and they often give up more than expected when it comes to caring for a family member.” He also noted that his company’s sixth annual survey clearly shows the relationship between emotional, financial, and physical stresses and being a caregiver.

See Jadah Riley, Older Americans Would Rather Die Than Live in a Nursing Home, Financial Advisor, December 20, 2017.

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

December 21, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE on 14th Annual Changes and Trends Affecting Special Needs Trusts

0000000 CLEThe University of Texas at Austin School of Law is holding a conference entitled, 14th Annual Changes and Trends Affecting
Special Needs Trusts, which is a two-day event starting on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Austin in Austin, TX. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Features
The 14th Annual Changes and Trends Affecting Special Needs Trusts brings together nationally recognized 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. This year’s program includes:
  • Special needs trusts basics including current trends and pitfalls with Craig C. Reaves, plus an overview and understanding of available public benefits programs.
  • A special presentation from the Social Security Administration’s Regional Trust Review Team with must-have insight on the review process; plus updates, advice, and practice tips for practitioners from Mary E. O’Byrne and Kenneth Brown.
  • Case law and legislative updates from Mary Alice Jackson.
  • The latest developments in the use of ABLE accounts; plus practical discussion on using (or not using) ABLE with Stephen W. Dale, Haley D. Greer, and Nancy Sosa.
  • Practical applications in the intersection of real estate and special needs trusts.
  • Current issues and trends from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Discussion on a variety of other SNT essentials, including decanting and SNTs, understanding structured settlements, and more.
  • Up to 2.50 hours of ethics, plus opportunities to network with program faculty and attendees at the Thursday Evening Reception.
If you work with special needs trusts—or want to learn how to use, draft, fund, and administer them—don't miss this program!
Schedule
 
 

December 21, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Role of Deeds as Estate Planning Tools

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-21/404171a0-6dda-4211-830b-003ef2e3d1a8.pngA property deed is a legally binding document that may be utilized as a means to transfer various types of property. In order for the deed to be valid, it must be signed by the individual transferring the property and it must include the names of prior and current owners. In addition, the deed must include a full legal, detailed description of the real estate being sold. The seller must also possess the right to sell the property and the deed must be signed by both the buyer and the seller. There are a number of different types of deeds that are appropriate under different circumstances.

See Inna Fershteyn, Esq., The Role of Deeds as Estate Planning Tools, BrooklynTrustandWill.com, December 15, 2017.

December 21, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Middle Class to Get 23% of Tax Cuts for Individuals Under GOP Bill

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-20/46cb71e4-453d-431c-b863-235148a3e276.pngThe most recent version of the House’s rejected tax reform bill aims to provide middle-income households with over $60 billion in tax cuts by 2019. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation released its analysis of the bill late Monday. The data show that 23% of the proposed cuts will go directly to individuals. The calculations leading to this conclusion are based on households earning between $20,000 and $100,000 per year, which account for nearly half of all U.S. tax filers.

See Siobhan Hughes & Shayndi Raice, Middle Class to Get 23% of Tax Cuts for Individuals Under GOP Bill, Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2017.

December 21, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Woman, 26, Has Baby Born from Record-Breaking 24-year-old Frozen Embryo

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-20/0e41aec2-eeaf-4760-902d-f1640ef90f60.pngThe sweetly adorable Emma Wren was born to parents Benjamin and Tina Gibson on November 25th of this year. She weighed in at a svelte six pounds, eight ounces. Seemingly an ordinary baby, little Emma’s cherub-like appearance belies that fact that she originated from the oldest-recorded frozen embryo to successfully be implanted and to result in birth. The embryo from which she came was taken from her mother in 1992, when Tina Gibson was just a year-and-a-half old.  NEDC Lab Director Carol Sommerfelt commented on the joyful event: “It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryo-preservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100% survival of the embryos with a 100% continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage.”

See Woman, 26, Has Baby Born from Record-Breaking 24-year-old Frozen Embryo, CBS Baltimore, December 19, 2017.

December 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Drug and Alcohol Deaths at U.S. Workplaces Soar

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-20/1b06cfbd-c1d1-4957-9a9b-d6147ce81290.pngAccording to new government data, deaths occurring at work caused by alcohol and drug overdoses increased by more than 30% in 2016. This statistic is indicative of a much larger problem with drug overdose deaths. Last year, per estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths by drug overdose were in excess of 64,000. John Deskins, economist working at West Virginia University notes: “The surge in deaths, the abuse and the way in which this has turned into a crisis which encompasses so many elements, it’s not at all surprising this crisis has migrated.”

See Harriet Torry, Drug and Alcohol Deaths at U.S. Workplaces Soar, Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2017.

December 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

House to Vote Again on Tax Overhaul After Senate Glitch

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-20/369c4da2-da00-45e2-8951-0c49ac8194e9.pngThe Senate was unable to accept some provisions included in the House’s version of tax reform legislation. Specifically, the Senate stuck down provisions concerning the taxation of college endowment funds and tax-advantaged college savings accounts. This hiccup is an embarrassment to Republican lawmakers, who jubilantly celebrated as they sent the bill to the Senate for a vote. Democrats have pointed to the stall of the bill as an indication that it is being pushed through the process with too much haste. Oddly, this complaint rings eerily familiar, as many Republicans highlighted the parallels between feeding the goose for foie gras and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Still, the Senate’s passage of the bill looks relatively certain once the distasteful provisions are removed.

See Brian Faler, House to Vote Again on Tax Overhaul After Senate Glitch, Politico, December 19, 2017.

December 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Madoff Victims near Full Recovery of Principal with New Payout

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-20/aff8dfe1-2eff-4f32-a616-764189057e72.pngThe trustee tasked with unwinding Bernie Madoff’s company is set to issue nearly $600 million to victims of the Ponzi scheme early next year. This payout will bring the grand total to almost $11.4 billion. The checks issued to former investors range from as little as $563 to upwards of $88 million. Irving Picard, the man tasked with returning these funds to duped investors, noted that even though it has been “[n]early a decade since the unmasking of the Madoff fraud, we are still finding and recovering millions of dollars for the victims of this complex global deception.” The $12.8 billion so far recovered represents around three-quarters of the total lost principal. Picard also commented that some funds have been isolated to accommodate prior investors seeking more in restitution than they are entitled.

See Erik Larson, Madoff Victims near Full Recovery of Principal with New Payout, Financial Advisor, December 18, 2017.

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

December 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)