Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, December 31, 2018

CLE on Family Farm in Estate Planning and Probate

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Family Farm in Estate Planning and Probate, Wednesday, January 23, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Tackle Key Succession, Transfer, and Asset Protection Issues
Get all the knowledge and skills you'll need to effectively draft and administer estate plans that include a family business. From choosing the entity structure and the method of transfer to calculating tax consequences and ensuring a smooth transition, this course will give you everything you'll need to effectively handle business interests as part of estates. Register today!
Walk through every step of estate planning and administration as it relates to family business interests.
Learn how to structure transfers to a third party and within the family, outright and gradual.
Ensure continued operations during estate administration.
Take the most tax-efficient route when planning for each unique family business succession.

Who Should Attend
This legal guide is designed for attorneys. Estate planners, accountants and CPAs, tax professionals, trust officers, and paralegals may also benefit.

Course Content
Choosing the Business Entity and Planning for its Estate Planning Implications
Medicaid Planning and the Farm Assets
Transferring Within the Family and Planning for Heirs
Structuring the Sale or Transfer of Interest to Third Party
Ensuring Continued Operations for the Duration of Estate Administration
Making Use of Agricultural Use Valuation
Structuring and Conducting the Farm Transfer in Probate
Tackling Common Farm Probate Challenges
Maintaining an Ethical Practice
Closing the Estate

December 31, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (1)

Social Worker Leaves $11 Million to Charities

Charity2Alan Naiman, a social worker residing in Seattle, Washington, passed away in January from cancer at the age of 63. He was known to be frugal, wearing shoes out to the point of having to fix them with duct tape and seeking out deals at delis near closing time. His friends and co-workers were shocked to find out that the man, earning $67,000 a year at the Children's Administrative Child Protective Services, left a whopping $11 million to charities benefiting poor and sick children. He had worked there for 20 years, previously employed as a banker.

Naiman was a bachelor with no children but had an intense love for them. He also was devoted to his older brother who had a developmental disability that passed away in 2013.  A friend from his banking days said that Naiman was accomplished at investing and had also inherited quite a bit from his parents. 

Included in those investments, he left $2.5 million to Pediatric Interim Care Center, an organization that cares for babies born to addicted mothers and works at breaking the infants' dependence. The non-profit used the sizable donation to pay off a mortgage and to purchase a much needed vehicle.

See Seattle Social Worker Leaves Surprise $11 Million to Kid's Charities, Daily Mail, December 28, 2018.

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

December 31, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Tax Reform on Homeownership and the Impact on Children

FamRyan Shouse & Margaret Ryznar recently published an Article entitled, Tax Reform on Homeownership and the Impact on Children, Tax Law: Tax Law & Policy eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

This article discusses several homeownership provisions modified by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and how they affect children.

December 31, 2018 in Articles, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Valery Novoselov: Investigating Jeanne Calment’s Longevity Record

CalmentFrench woman Jeanne Calment is written down in the history books as the person that has lived the longest life, passing away in 1997 at the age of 122, two years older than the next closest supercentenarian. 

An investigation is being initiated by Valery Novoselov, an assistant professor of the Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics of RUDN University in Moscow, to determine if the person that died in 1997 was truly Jeanne Calment. The reason for the revalidation is that there is a serious question as to whether the woman the world knew as Jeanne was in reality her daughter, Yvonne, and took the place of her mother in 1934 to avoid heavy inheritance costs.

Novoselov has extensive experience studying medical records of historical figures such as Vladimir Lenin, and is using his unique expertise to dive into the complicated matter of Jeanne Calment. But there are startling inequalities between medical data and its public availability, and somewhere in the middle history gets written.

See Elena Milova, Valery Novoselov: Investigating Jeanne Calment’s Longevity Record, Leaf Science, December 4, 2018.

December 31, 2018 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

CLE on New IRS Rules for LLCs and Partnerships - and Their BIG Impact

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webinar entitled, New IRS Rules for LLCs and Partnerships - and Their BIG Impact, on Thursday, January 24, 2019, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Stay Up to Date on IRS Rules Impacting LLCs and Partnerships
Why spend countless hours trying to interpret and decipher IRS rule changes concerning LLCs and partnerships? This insightful course will take a closer look at the new rules and provide guidance on who is impacted. Don't miss this chance to get up to date with the latest developments - register today!
Understand what is included in the new rules and the implications they may have for different business clients.
Review the rule implementation timeline for changes to remain in compliance with changing deadlines.
Discuss the effect new IRS rules will have on future mergers and acquisitions.

Who Should Attend
This course is designed for attorneys. Accountants and paralegals will also benefit.

Course Content
What Tax Reform Means for LLCs and Other Pass-Through Entities
How Big are These Changes, Really?
What do the New Partnership Rules Say? What are the Implications?
Who's Impacted? What You May Not Know...
Time Frame of Significant Changes, Deadlines and Effective Dates
IRS Form 1065 K-1: Changes (and Clarification)
Who Can Elect Out of the New Provisions?
Impact on the LLC Operating Agreement: Changes You Need to Make NOW
What is the Partnership Now Directly Liable For?
New Rules Governing Federal Tax Audits of Entities
Can Modifications Occur? When?
New IRS Procedures You Need to Know
What Does All This Mean?
Significant Case Law

December 30, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Article on No "Dead Giveaways": Finding a Viable Model of Ante-Mortem Probate for New Jersey

NjJoseph A. Romano recently published a Comment entitled, No "Dead Giveaways": Finding a Viable Model of Ante-Mortem Probate for New Jersey, 48 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1683-1704 (2018). Provided below is the first paragraph of the introduction to the Comment.

Testators who make every effort to preserve their assets, consult with an attorney, and strategize their dispositions may still face the scorn of a friend or relative who feels slighted by an unfavorable bequest. While theoretically a testator may be of sound mind and free from undue influence up until his last moments, it is not until after death that potential takers will emerge to challenge the validity of his will. The best advocate to defend these challenges—the testator—is no longer available to offer evidence to the contrary, and courts must instead rely upon the often self-interested hearsay that remains. Executors and estate planners alike have long been cognizant of this “worst evidence” rule, as well as the headache of litigation it often creates.

December 29, 2018 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Woman Says Stuffed Bear Won at Holiday Gift Exchange is Filled with Cremains

BearWhite elephant gifts are supposed to be wacky, funny, and surprising. But when one Texas woman came home with a stuffed teddy bear that appeared to be stuffed with the cremated remains of a person, she was more than a bit surprised.

Rakhi Desai always looks forward to the white elephant gift exchange between her friends. She was expecting an adult themed cookbook or other form of present to illicit giggles, but was not too upset when she brought home the teddy bear with a stitched heart on its chest. On its foot read Neptune Society, and its tag read, “I hope I can bring you comfort in whatever life brings your way." When Desai saw the hidden insides, it clicked - the bear was filled with someone's loved one's cremains.

She contacted her friend that bought the bear from an estate sale, but could not remember when or where. So Desai called the Neptune Society, but the company said they do not track down owners. But there is a name on the bear’s tag. Desai’s hoping the owner can tell her what it is so she knows it’s the right family. “Miracles happen every day. So if there’s a positive end to this story, that would be great.”

See Woman Says Stuffed Bear Won at Holiday Gift Exchange is Filled with Cremains, Tucson News, December 28, 2018.


December 29, 2018 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Aretha Franklin's Estate May Owe Millions in Back Taxes

ArethaThe undisputed "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, passed away in August of this year, but according to court documents filed this week she was not up to date on her taxes at the time of her death. The documents say that the Internal Revenue Service claims that Franklin owes $6.3 million from the tax years 2012 to present, with another $1.5 million in penalties. The odd thing is, the tax year of 2018 is not quite over yet.

The attorney for the estate, David Bennett of Thav Gross P.C., issued a statement that the Estate disputes the tax claims, and that, "The Estate is diligently working to resolve any remaining issues."

A new lien has also been placed on the estate by a publishing company. The company claims that it is owed $136,000 for royalties in connection with the 1973 song Angel. Franklin's personal attorney has also placed a lien on the estate for $54,000 for unpaid bills from the last 6 years.

See Aretha Franklin Owes IRS Almost $8 Million in Back Taxes and Penalties, TMZ, December 27, 2018.

December 28, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on The Madness of Insane Delusions

ArizKevin Bennardo recently published an Article entitled, The Madness of Insane Delusions, 60 Ariz. L. Rev. 601-634 (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

In the United States, the law of wills professes to be organized around the principle of freedom of testation. “Work and earn and save,” it says, “so that you can pass your wealth to whomever you please.” This principle is attractive, but it simply is not borne out in the administration of too many testators’ estates. Rather, judges and juries routinely substitute their preferred distributions for testators’ expressed preferences.

One particularly troubling situation arises when testators attempt to pass their estates to organizations that champion unpopular beliefs. If the deciding judges or juries dislike the testators’ beliefs, they may be tempted to invalidate these devises as the product of insane delusions. Sometimes these supposed “delusions” have been beliefs about divisive social issues—like advancing women in the early twentieth century. Other supposed “delusions” have been religious beliefs that depart from the mainstream faiths. Allowing judges and juries to label these beliefs “delusional” does not further testamentary freedom. Rather, it substitutes majoritarian preferences for the counter-majoritarian views of the testator. This is a dangerous proposition. It was once regarded as fact that the Earth was flat. Now the prevalent view is that the Earth is round. Should a devise that champions either one of those ideas be labeled “delusional”? Unfortunately, the outcome may be dictated by the popular opinion of the testator’s times.

This Article shares two ideas for reform. First, the doctrine of insane delusions should not be applied to devises that seek to advance beliefs, ideas, or viewpoints. There is just too great of a risk that judges and juries will strike down such devises when the testator’s viewpoints diverge from their own. Second, the time may have come to admit that the law of wills is not as committed to the principle of testamentary freedom as it is often espoused to be. The literature is rife with examples of a latent norm of familial support. Currently, this norm is expressed when judges and juries manipulate flexible doctrines to distribute decedents’ estates to decedents’ family members against decedents’ stated preferences. Perhaps it is time for the law to expressly acknowledge that familial support is important in our society and reserve a share of every decedent’s estate for distribution to the decedent’s family. The second proposal set forth in this Article, “the forced intestate share,” would compel distribution of a portion of each estate to the decedent’s intestate takers. Adopting some version of this proposal may actually afford testators with greater testamentary freedom overall because, by expressly fulfilling the norm of familial support, it would reduce decision-makers’ biased tendencies to invalidate devises to nonfamily members. Indeed, the counterintuitive solution to achieving greater actual testamentary freedom may be to remove testators’ control over some share of their estates through a forced intestate share.

December 28, 2018 in Articles, Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Richard Overton, America's Oldest World War II Veteran and the Oldest Man in the US, has Died

OvertonRichard Overton, the oldest veteran from World War II and also the oldest man in America, has passed away at the age of 112. He had been in the hospital with a bout of pneumonia, family said. He was longtime resident of Austin, Texas, where he lived on a street that had been renamed to Richard Overton Avenue in his honor.

Overton enlisted in the Army in 1942 and was a member of the 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, an all-black unit that served on various islands in the Pacific. He was honored by President Barack Obama in 2013 at the Veteran's Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where Overton told CNN that he did not like thinking or talking about the war.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement yesterday that Overton was called Overton "an American icon and a Texas legend."

What was his secret to his long life? He credited the grace of God, not taking medicine, and enjoying his vices. "I drink whiskey in my coffee. Sometimes I drink it straight," he said when he was 107. "I smoke my cigars, blow the smoke out; I don't swallow it."

See Kelly Murray, Richard Overton, America's Oldest World War II Veteran and the Oldest Man in the US, has Died, MSN, December 27, 2018.

December 28, 2018 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)