Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, March 18, 2024

Philip Marlowe perfume, anyone? Raymond Chandler’s estate revives its hero, for better or worse

Estate planningThe Philip Marlowe character, created by Raymond Chandler, has evolved through modern adaptations and continuations commissioned by the Chandler Estate. Joe Ide was asked by the estate to write an original novel featuring Marlowe in the present day, resulting in "The Goodbye Coast." Other authors, like Denise Mina, have also contributed to this revival with novels such as "The Second Murderer." 

The stewardship of the Chandler Estate has passed through generations, now led by Alexander Greene, who continues to commission new works while addressing concerns about outdated themes in Chandler's originals. Critics like Kim Cooper express apprehension about potentially overshadowing Chandler's original works with new interpretations but acknowledge the value of expanding the Marlowe universe.

For more information see Nate Rogers “Philip Marlowe perfume, anyone? Raymond Chandler’s estate revives its hero, for better or worse”, The Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2024.

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

March 18, 2024 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 17, 2024

A New Book Fills In the Human Stories Behind Unmarked Graves

New york"The Unclaimed: Abandonment and Hope in the City of Angels" by Pamela Prickett and Stefan Timmermans explores the bureaucracy and mechanics surrounding unclaimed deceased individuals, particularly in Los Angeles. The authors delve into the lives of four specific individuals who died alone: Bobby, a homeless Air Force veteran; Lena, a paranoid widow; David, a solitary veteran; and Midge, a woman with a troubled past who found solace in a church community.

The book chronicles the post-mortem processes involving various bureaucratic entities, such as the medical examiner's and public administrator's offices. It emphasizes the importance of identifying the deceased, notifying relatives, and ensuring a dignified burial. However, the system's flaws often lead to complications, with resentful or absent relatives, exploitation by funeral homes, and bureaucratic red tape hindering the process.

For more information see Dan Barry “A New Book Fills In the Human Stories Behind Unmarked Graves”, The New York Times, March 7, 2024.

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

March 17, 2024 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Family Property Law: Cases and Materials on Wills, Trusts, and Estates, 9th Edition

Thomas P. Gallanis published the 9th edition of Family Property Law: Cases and Materials on Wills, Trusts, and Estates. Below is a description of the casebook:

The Ninth Edition of this highly-regarded casebook continues its innovative emphasis on the connection between the law of trusts and estates and the changing American family. The Ninth Edition incorporates the most recent uniform acts from the Uniform Law Commission, including the new Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act (2023), the Electronic Estate Planning Documents Act (2022), and the Cohabitants’ Economic Remedies Act (2021). It also addresses the new federal Corporate Transparency Act, effective January 1, 2024, and its consequences for estate planners. The casebook thus continues to be on the cutting-edge, discussing the very latest hot topics—in addition to the topics already mentioned, these include digital assets, posthumous assisted reproduction, directed trusts, trust decanting, asset protection trusts, silent trusts, noncharitable purpose trusts, unitrusts, family offices, private trust companies, choice of governing law for trusts, and donor standing to enforce charitable trusts. The authors of this book have long been at the forefront of law reform in trusts and estates, and this tradition continues under the authorship of Thomas Gallanis, who is the executive director of the Uniform Law Commission’s Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trust and Estate Acts. The Ninth Edition emphasizes problems and questions to facilitate classroom discussion and analysis. Among many other things, the book teaches doctrine and policy, planning and drafting, case analysis and statutory interpretation.

March 12, 2024 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

New Edition of Hirsch & McGovern California Probate Code Annotated Released

California probate code 2024Here is the publisher's description of this book authored by Adam J. Hirsch and William McGovern:

Hirsch & McGovern California Probate Code Annotated, 2024 ed. (California Desktop Codes) is your comprehensive resource for probate law and estate planning in California. It provides you with the complete text of the California Probate Code, related state and federal statutes, and rules of court regarding estate planning and probate.

This volume contains:

  • Authoritative commentary, annotations, and analysis of leading cases
  • Law Revision Commission editorial notes that provide additional guidance in the construction and application of particular sections
  • References to Witkin’s Summary of California Law, 10th which direct you toward further research
  • A table of Judicial Council forms to help you identify forms to be used in conjunction with the statutes and rules
  • A table of cases illustrating the cases discussed in the author’s commentary
  • A table of affected sections indicating recent modifications
  • Underlining to indicate additions or changes in statutes
  • Asterisks to indicate deletions

March 5, 2024 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2023

‘Retirement Guardrails’ Offers New Perspective on 401(k) Problems

Estate planningIn the book "Retirement Guardrails: How Proactive Fiduciaries Can Improve Plan Outcomes" by Quinn Curtis and Ian Ayres, the authors emphasize the need for guardrails in retirement accounts to steer workers toward better financial decisions. Curtis, a University of Virginia School of Law professor, drew insights from his employer's retirement system for the book. 

The authors suggest that many 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors must know how investors utilize their plan menus. They propose implementing measures such as monitoring portfolios for high-risk concentrations, eliminating costly or specialized funds, and warning investors about unusual choices. The UVA retirement plan's transformation from a vast selection of investment options to a more streamlined menu served as a case study for the book. This shift facilitated the transfer of investors to low-cost target-date funds, leading to improved outcomes for both employees and employers.

For more information see Melissa Castro Wyatt “‘Retirement Guardrails’ Offers New Perspective on 401(k) Problems” UVA Law, October 10, 2023.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (University of Virginia) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 22, 2023 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Teaching Materials on Estate Planning, 5th Edition

The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog team would like to announce that a new edition of the Teaching Materials on Estate Planning by Gerry W. Beyer (Texas Tech University School of Law) will be published in the West Academic Publishing American Casebook Series this month and available for Fall 2023. Please see more information below on the 5th Edition of Teaching Materials on Estate Planing.

Kathryn Nail
Blog Assistant



This law school casebook provides a comprehensive review of the estate planning process. It is easily adaptable to two and three-credit courses and seminars. The new edition retains the basic structure of the prior edition with significant updates to reflect recent developments in law and practice. Part One focuses on the substantive law applicable to estate planning, while Part Two concentrates on estate planning practice itself. Extensive researching and drafting exercises are included to hone the student’s practical skills. Most of the material is self-explanatory and thus the professor may reserve class time for more difficult topics, areas that merit special attention, and concerns raised by local law.

July 6, 2023 in Books, Books - For the Classroom, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2023

Book Review: Robert's Story: A Texas Cowboy's Troubled Life and Horrifying Death

 I've juRobert_Bookst finished reading Robert's Story: A Texas Cowboy's Troubled Life and Horrifying Death by Stephen G. Michaud. Here is my review of this book which even references my earlier blog postings about Robert's situation:

Apparently, Robert East was not the easiest person to love. Sure he was a bit cowboy rough around the edges but he did not deserve to be treated and left to die in such a callous and painful manner.  His Texas family’s personal legacy was destroyed by those who systematically and thoughtfully obtained control of Robert’s wealth when Robert became ill.

This riveting true tale lays out the destruction of not just one cowboy but a way of life.  The author, Stephen Michaud, does an excellent job of sifting through the many years of Robert’s personal life and hurt, Robert’s back stabbing betrayal by those he trusted, and the offensive over-reaching legal system, all backed by evidence, to take the reader on a journey of disbelief, heartache, and the knowledge that it could happen to anyone of us. The establishment of the well known and highly respected East Foundation resulted from the orchestrated evil-doings of many people but does the end justify the means?

May 5, 2023 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Second Edition of Tax, Estate, and Lifetime Planning for Minors, now available

A second edition of Tax, Estate, and Lifetime Planning for Minorsedited by Carmina Y D'Aversa, is now available:

Numerous and often complicated issues are involved in estate planning for minor children, including taxation, education funding, insurance, and disability of a minor or a minor's caregiver. Now completely updated, Tax, Estate, and Lifetime Planning for Minors focuses exclusively on the pertinent issues facing adults when planning for younger family members.

Focusing exclusively on the issues that adults face when planning for minor children, this updated edition focuses on the many and often complicated issues involved in these situations, including taxation, education funding, insurance, disability, and even planning for an adult’s incapacity or death. Combining core legal concepts with practical wisdom, Tax, Estate, and Lifetime Planning for Minors is a unique resource for attorneys advising clients in their estate and financial planning when minor children are involved. As with the first edition, this is a ready reference not only for seasoned practitioners but for the general or novice practitioner handling their first estate plan.

Bringing together the practical advice and knowledge of experts in taxation and estate planning, the book begins with a concise overview of the federal laws and fundamental principles of estate and gift taxation. Other chapters cover the most important elements in planning for younger family members or friends, including:

    • Life insurance policies, taxation, and irrevocable life insurance trusts
    • Funding education costs
    • Planning for daily care in the case of an adult's incapacity or death
    • Special needs trusts and other considerations for disabled minors
    • Transfer of retirement benefits
    • Considerations for children born of assisted reproductive technologies
    • Management of a minor’s digital assets in the event of disability or death

Because much of the necessary tax planning involves state law, relevant chapters categorize current state provisions. The book also examines the most significant non-tax considerations required when planning involves minors. Appendices include sample forms, state-by-state charts, exhibits, and more, and can be downloaded from a dedicated online website.

April 15, 2023 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

New Book: Trusts and Private Wealth Management: Developments and Directions

Cambridge University Press recently published Trusts and Private Wealth Management: Developments and Directions:

There has been insufficient literature focusing on the world-changing rise of Asian wealth. Private wealth in Asia is very substantial, with 33 per cent of the global population of high-net-worth individuals based in Asia. Yet, there is a dearth of legal analysis of Asian wealth, particularly by texts written in English. This collection aims to fill that gap, with chapters on legal issues in relation to Asian wealth transmission, investments in international real estate, familial disputes, family offices and private trust companies. A substantive section of this book also focuses on the changing legal context with chapters exploring trusts and cryptoassets, constructive trust, trustee's discretion and decision-making, changing regulatory environment and abuse of trust structures. This collection of essays on trusts and wealth management presents a focus on Asian wealth and the changing legal context, and follows the related publication, Trusts and Modern Wealth Management (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

  • Gives readers new and diverse perspectives on the subject, written by leading figures in the field
  • Covers many highly topical areas of practice and development in trust law, Asian wealth and changing legal context
  • Offers a novel collection on trusts and wealth management, drawing together perspectives and insights not widely available elsewhere

Richard Nolan, University of York
Richard Nolan is Professor of Law at the University of York and previously Reader in Corporate and Trust Law at the University of Cambridge. His work has been cited by judges in the UK, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong. He has been a consultant to several governmental bodies.

Hang Wu Tang, Singapore Management University
Tang Hang Wu is a Professor at the Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University researching on equity, trusts and wealth management. Hang Wu has published widely and advised local and international law firms, high-net-worth individuals, US Department of Justice and banks and trust companies on trust law.

Man Yip, Singapore Management University
Man Yip is an Associate Professor at the Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University research on equity, trusts, remedies and private international law. She has published widely in international peer reviewed journals and her work has been cited in leading treatises and courts.


Richard Nolan, Tang Hang Wu, Yip Man, Lady Mary Arden, Thomas P Gallanis, Edward S W Ti, Lusina Ho, Rebecca Lee, Vincent Ooi, Chan Ee Lin, Kelvin F.K. Low, James Lee, David Pollard, Tobias Barkley, Simone Wong, Jessica Palmer, Graham Virgo

January 3, 2023 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 15, 2022

New Business Law Book: The Fraudulent Transfer of Wealth: Unwound and Explained

New book alert! The Fraudulent Transfer of Wealth: Unwound and Explained by David J. Slenn is available to help planners successfully plan for their clients, while navigating complex fraudulent transfer laws to ensure the effective transfer of wealth. 

Renowned author David Slenn examines the intersection between fraudulent transfer law and its application to modern day wealth transfer planning transactions. Providing a thorough history of the applications of fraudulent wealth transfer law, the book examines fraudulent transfer law and wealth tranfer planning, issues for wealth transfer planners and creditors, the uniform acts, and more.

Modern fraudulent transfer law dates back to the Roman era, however, fraudulent transfer law in the U.S. closely reflects the law developed in England and the Statute of 13 Elizabeth. This unique guide tracks the historical development of this aqncient creditors' rights law, as well as addresses and warns against fraudulent wealth transfer.

Wealth transfer planning is a legitimate service if done properly. However, it is important for all parties impacted by the transfer of wealth to understand the scope and application of fraudulent transfer law. This book discusses the factors involved with the fraudulent transfer of wealth and outlines steps that planners can take to minimize a transaction's exposure to avoidance. Proactive measures that creditors can take to reduce the chance of losing assets or legal measures to restore the creditor are discussed. Real-life scenarios are included to show where advisers face liability for their role in facilitating the transfer of wealth meant to frustrate a creditor's claim.

Today, the transfer of wealth can still be challenged successfully using centuries' old fraudulent conveyance law. This book includes an extensive listing of case law that provides ample opportunity for creditors to analyze new strategies by analogy to old tricks. This book will guide wealth transfer planners to plan for their clients successfully, while navigating complex fraudulent transfer laws to ensure the effective transfer of wealth.

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

December 15, 2022 in Books, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)