Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, January 14, 2019

Book on International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide

Int-Estate-Plan-2015-HC_CDBarbara Hauser & Melissa Langa recently published a book entitled, International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide (Updated ed. 2018). Provided below is a summary of the book.

International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide, is a practical and authoritative resource for those seeking key information in the estate planning field. Practitioners and foreign advisers, [moved a phrase to later] whose clients have assets, children, parents or a spouse in other countries, or whose tax liabilities are difficult to define because of nationality, employment, or residence issues, and U.S. executives working in foreign countries will find straightforward, useful information in this guide. Equipped with a companion CD the appendix to the book contains copies of fillable tax forms and notices, relevant treaties and Hague conventions, as well as a list of organizations and resources to quickly help the reader obtain the answers they need.

International Estate Planning addresses questions such as:
- “I just bought a vacation home in France. Should I do anything?”
- “My daughter married someone in Italy. Should I change my trust?"
- “Can an American save taxes by using off-shore trusts?”

These are not easy questions. Mistakes and pitfalls are pointed out throughout the book and ways to prevent them are explained. The authors have spent more than 20 years in private client practice and have a firsthand appreciation of the need for authoritative information.

January 14, 2019 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Book on The Uses of the Dead: The Early Modern Development of Cy-Près Doctrine (Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Canon Law)

Cy-presCaroline R. Sherman recently published a book entitled, The Uses of the Dead: The Early Modern Development of Cy-Près Doctrine (Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Canon Law) (2018). Provided below is a summary of the book.

Cy-près doctrine, which allows the purpose of a failing or impractical charitable gift to be changed, has been understood since the eighteenth century as a medieval canon law principle, derived from Roman law, to rescue souls by making good their last charitable intentions. The Uses of the Dead offers an alternate origin story for this judicial power, grounded in modern, secular concerns.

Posthumous gifts, which required no sacrifice during life, were in fact broadly understood by canon lawyers and medieval donors themselves to have at best a very limited relationship to salvation. As a consequence, for much of the Middle Ages the preferred method for resolving impossible or impractical gifts was to try to reach a consensus among all of the interested parties to the gift, including the donor's heirs and the recipients, with the mediation of the local bishop.

When cy-près emerged in the seventeenth century, it cut a charitable gift off from return to the donor's estate in the event of failure. It also gave the interested parties to the gift (heirs, beneficiaries, or trustees) little authority over resolutions to problematic gifts, which were now considered primarily in relationship to the donor's intent―even as the intent was ultimately honored only in its breach. The Uses of the Dead shows how cy-près developed out of controversies over church property, particularly monastic property, and whether it might be legally turned over to fund education, poor relief, or national defense.

Renaissance humanists hoped to make better, more prudent uses of property; the Reformation sought to correct superstitious abuses of property and ultimately tended to prevent donors' heirs from recovering secularized ecclesiastical gifts; and the early modern state attempted to centralize poor relief and charitable efforts under a more rational, centralized supervision. These three factors combined to replace an older equitable ideal with a new equitable rule―one whose use has rapidly expanded in the modern era to allow assorted approximations and judicial redistributions of property.

January 1, 2019 in Books, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review: On Living

OnlivingKerry Egan is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and is a hospice chaplain. The book is a collections of lessons that she has derived from her experiences, and observations about live, death, and spirituality.

Egan describes her chaplain’s role as talking and listening to patients about their families and, perhaps, about religion, God, or the meaning of life — but mostly about families. "Family is where we first experience love and where we first give it.”

The author invites us to say important things now without waiting, to live without regret, to cherish our bodies how they are. She reminds us that what we were in life we are in death: “Death does not automatically make you a better person.” 

Egan attempt to inform the read that everyone is broken, but that listening to others' stories can heal a person's soul. "I know this because it healed mine.” The dying are still living, still growing, still learning, and may want to release long-held secrets or simply want to be seen as who there were before they became ill.

As attorneys, we are trained to be logical and analytical and to solve problems for our clients. Reading this book will guide us in contemplating the softer side of ourselves, the work we do, and the clients we represent. It invites us to consider how our experiences with our clients shape us, both individually and professionally.

See Shelley D. Coelho, Book Review: On Living, NAELA,org, Spring, 2018.

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

November 9, 2018 in Books, Death Event Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book on Cases and Materials on Gratuitous Transfers, Wills, Trusts, Gifts, Future Interests, and Taxation

Book2Mark L. Asher and Grayson MP McCouch recently published a Book entitled, Cases and Materials on Gratuitous Transfers, Wills, Trusts, Gifts, Future Interests, and Taxation (West Academic Publishing, 7th ed., 2018). Provided below is a brief summary of the book.

The new edition of Gratuitous Transfers incorporates developments in the law of wills, trusts and estates since 2013, including a new principal case involving beneficiary consent to trust accounting. The text also includes references to case law and literature relating to same-sex marriage, revocation by divorce, reformation of wills, directed trusts, trust decanting, and fiduciary access to digital assets, as well as statutory references to recent amendments to the Uniform Probate Code and Uniform Trust Code. The coverage has been thoroughly updated while maintaining continuity of organization and general approach with previous editions.

October 11, 2018 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Books - For the Classroom, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Stormy Daniels’s Oral Will: Noncupative Wills Make for Risky Estate Planning

Stormy-Daniels-2-300x199Stormy Daniels's recently released memoir, Full Disclosure, was written over a period of 10 years and reveals several facets of the former adult-film stars life. At the forefront is the 2006 encounter with President Donald Trump at Lake Tahoe and the chaos that occurred after her execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to the 2016 election.

The final chapters of the memoir highlight the tremendous fear Daniels experienced after the Wall Street Journal story featuring the aforementioned Non-Disclosure Agreement and the lawsuit Daniels filed in federal court claiming that the document was invalid. Daniels claimed that she was intimidated by Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, into signing the agreement as well as being threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011. By March, 2018, when she filed the suit and was interviewed on CBS's 60 Minutes, Daniels was receiving death threats - on her and her young daughter. This resulted in her having a friend record her directing the disposition of her estate in case any of the threats were carried out.

An oral will, such as a recorded will produced by Stormy Daniels, is known as a nuncupative will and is rarely enforceable, except for some specific exceptions. They are problematic because they raise questions as to authenticity and fraud. Even in our technological era, wills are still required to be signed and witnessed, and the witness are to testify to the person's ability and capacity to execute a will. A document containing a person's original signature must be filed to be entered into probate.

See Cori A. Robinson, Stormy Daniels’s Oral Will: Noncupative Wills Make for Risky Estate Planning, Above the Law, October 9, 2018.

Special thanks to Carissa Peterson (Hrbacek Law Firm, Sugar Land, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 9, 2018 in Books, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Television, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Book on The Advisor's Guide to Disability Insurance

AdvisorbookTamra L. Barraclough, Erik T. Reynolds, & R. David Watros recently published a book entitled, The Advisor's Guide to Disability Insurance, ABA Book Publishing (2018).Provided below is a summary of the book.

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but disability insurance may represent the most important financial product that individuals need during their working years. Generating an income from work is the foundation for all financial planning, allowing individuals to maintain their lifestyle as well as plan for future retirement. The Advisor’s Guide to Disability Insurance is a clear, concise, and approachable guide that helps attorneys and other financial professionals understand the opportunities and benefits of disability insurance for their clients as well as for themselves and their families.

This book presents information on disability insurance with a long-term duration until retirement, beginning with the basics and an overview of the different types of disability. Subsequent chapters address key topics in greater depth:

  • Individual and group long-term disability
  • Integrated group and individual plans
  • Underwriting the disability risk
  • Filing a claim under different policy types
  • Employment/shareholder agreements
  • Evaluating and selecting a disability insurance carrier
  • Regulations and relevant benefit laws
  • Income protection planning and how it will evolve in the future
  • The role the advisor plays in planning
  • Sample planning situations

September 25, 2018 in Books, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Harper Lee Estate Sues Broadway Interpretation of To Kill a Mockingbird

AtticusIn a June 2015 agreement, author Harper Lee granted the production company Rudinplay, owned by Scott Rudin, the option to acquire the worldwide stage rights for To Kill a Mockingbird for $100,000, subject to Lee’s right of approval regarding the selection of a playwright, as well as the right to review and comment on the script. The agreement also provided that the play could not “derogate or depart in any manner from the spirit of the Novel, nor alter its characters." Lee approved Rudin's choice of playwright, but died before she could approve of the play's first draft.

The representative of Harper Lee's estate, Tonja Carter, sued the producer alleging that he violated the terms of the licensing agreement. She alleges that the play's script drastically altered the character of the iconic defense attorney Atticus Finch (who is to be played by Jeff Daniels), changed the way the Finch's children spoke, expanded the role of the housekeeper, Calpurnia, and even added two new characters. She also claims that Rudin's responses to the estate objections were insufficient.

Rudin and Rudinplay countersued for $10 million, alleging Carter was attempting to default the play into cancellation by throwing the production off the required timeline for Rudinplay to exercise its option to acquire the novel’s live stage rights set forth in the 2015 agreement. Rudin not only asked the court to rule quickly as to not throw the production off schedule, but also declared that the court should see the play in all its entirety before they could determine if it was in the spirit of the beloved book.

The court declined, but ordered them to create and submit a filmed version of the play before the trial. The parties settled amicably in May before a filmed version was submitted.

See Amanda DiChello, Harper Lee Estate Sues Broadway Interpretation of To Kill a Mockingbird, At Your Bequest, August 3, 2018.

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

August 25, 2018 in Books, Current Events, Film, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Steve Jobs' Daughter Pens Sad Memoir About Their Often Brutal Relationship

Laurene-jobsLisa Brennan-Jobs has written a memoir depicting her relationship with her father, Steve Jobs, and the often heart-breaking memories times that she remembers with the Apple CEO. She claims that she wanted to be close to him, to have a normal relationship with him. "The closer I was to him, the less I would feel ashamed; he was part of the world, and he would accelerate me into the light."

Jobs initially denied paternity of Lisa when she was born in 1978, and after he was court-ordered to take a paternity test and to pay child support, he attempted to finalize all pay outs for the child just 4 days before Apple would go IPO - making him a highly wealthy individual.

Lisa writes that her father was never "generous with money, or food, or words." When asked if she could get his old Porsche when he replaced it - supposedly for getting a "scratch" on it, Jobs replied that, "You’re not getting anything. "You understand? Nothing. You’re getting nothing."

See Shona Ghosh, 'You're Getting Nothing': Steve Jobs' Daughter Pens Sad Memoir About Their Often Brutal Relationship, San Francisco Gate, August 2, 2018.

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


August 3, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Book on Estates, Future Interests and Powers of Appointment in a Nutshell

NutshellThomas P. Gallanis published a book entitled, Estates, Future Interests and Powers of Appointment in a Nutshell (West Academic Publishing, 6th ed., 2018). Provided below is a description of the book:

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the rules and principles of estates and future interests, including concurrent estates, marital estates (including the modern elective share), and powers of appointment. It includes new innovations from the Restatement 3d of Property, modernizing the law of future interests and dramatically changing the Rule Against Perpetuities. With respect to powers of appointment, the book incorporates the clarifications and modernizations of the law in the Restatement 3d of Property and the Uniform Powers of Appointment Act (2013, with subsequent amendments). The book also has exercises, with answers at the back. Valuable for students in first-year Property and upper-year courses in Trusts and Estates.

July 19, 2018 in Books, Books - For the Classroom, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Helpful Guide to Locating an Advisor-Friendly Trust Company

Advisor_BookThis book, 2018 America's Most Advisor-Friendly Trust Companies 7th Edition: The Winners List: Details On Their Technology, Custodians, Fees, In-House Experts, Advisor Support and More, provides detailed information on trust companies which the authors believe are better at working with advisors.

With over 5,000 trust companies in the United States, this guide may assist both advisors and private investors in narrowing their search for the company which will best serve their needs.

In addition, the book provides useful information on how trusts operate and why they may make an effective part of a person's estate plan.

This publication is available on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

July 16, 2018 in Books, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)