Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, November 12, 2021

Digital Health’s Newest Unicorn Provides Lonely People With A ‘Family On Demand’

Estate planningMore than a quarter of the U.S. population—and 28% of seniors—live alone. Social isolation can create serious health effects like raising the risk of heart disease or stroke, which is estimated to cost the federal government $6.7 billion a year.

Andrew Parker's grandfather needed help with groceries and rides to doctors appointments, but Parker was unavailable to help his grandfather with these tasks. Parker decided to turn to Facebook, on which he posted, "Who wants to be a pal to my PaPa?" 

Since that post several years ago, Parker has been helping seniors and low-income families "get access to companionship and help around the house as the cofounder and CEO of PaPa—and it's being reimbursed by insurers." 

In describing what the company's purpose is Parker stated, "We drive you to the doctor. We help you around the house. We teach you these computers. We engage you with your health. We take you on walks."

Papa is contracted with more than 65 health plans to send what the company calls "PaPa Pals" into people's homes. However, PaPa is not limited to seniors, as the company also works with Medicaid Plans for low-income families and with employers as a benefit for family caregivers. 

See Katie Jennings, Digital Health’s Newest Unicorn Provides Lonely People With A ‘Family On Demand’, Forbes, November 4, 2021. 

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

November 12, 2021 in Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

iOS 15.2 Beta 2 Lets Your Family Access Your Data If You Pass Away

Legacy-contact-2When Apple first introduced iOS 15 in June, the company highlighted a new, extremely important and helpful feature. The new feature is termed the Digital Legacy feature and is designed to allow Apple users to set a person as their Legacy Contact, which gives that person access to your Apple ID account and personal information in the event of your death.

Although the feature was not quite ready when iOS 15 launched, the feature is available in the iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 betas that were released today. 

Below is information on the what, where, and how of the Legacy Contact feature: 

The Legacy Contact option can be accessed by opening up the Settings app, tap on your profile picture and then select "Password & Security." From there, choose "Legacy Contact" from the list and you can select a trusted person to access your account after you pass away.

The person will have access to your data, and the contact will need to provide an access key and a copy of a death certificate to use your ‌Apple ID‌ account. The feature is designed to give your loved ones access to your photos, videos, notes, documents, and other personal information.

See Juli Clover, iOS 15.2 Beta 2 Lets Your Family Access Your Data If You Pass Away, MacRumors, November 9, 2021. 

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

November 10, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

BRITNEY SPEARS Calls Out Mom ... YOU WERE THE BRAINS BEHIND THE CONSERVATORSHIP

SpearsFollowing Lynne Spears's (mother of Britney Spears) filing of a petition requesting payment for legal fees, Britney Spears has called her mother out, claiming that her mother was the brains behind the conservatorship that held her captive. 

According to Britney Spears, "[m]y dad is not smart enough to ever think of a conservatorship. . . .what people don't know is that my mom is the one who gave him the idea." 

According to TMZ, Britney's statements are true as Lynne was the one who "Actually engineered the temporary conservatorship after Britney's second 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold." 

Britney Spears also claimed that her former business manager, Lou Taylor, was pulling the strings stating, "[s]he secretly ruined my life, and yes, I will call [Lynne] and Lou Taylor out on it. So take your whole 'I have NO IDEA what's going on' attitude and go f**k yourself. You know exactly what you did." 

Although Britney deleted the post several hours later, it's apparent that her intent was to send a message. 

See BRITNEY SPEARS Calls Out Mom ... YOU WERE THE BRAINS BEHIND THE CONSERVATORSHIP, TMZ, November 3, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 9, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 8, 2021

Lynne Spears is requesting that Britney's estate pay for more than $600,000 worth of legal fees linked to her efforts to end to the conservatorship

SpearsBritney Spears's mother, Lynne Spears, has filed a petition to the Los Angeles court "requesting that her daughter's conservatorship estate pay for her legal fees incurred since 2019." 

The documents explain that she sought out legal counsel from a firm called Jones Swanson Huddle & Garrison because she believed her daughter, Britney Spears, was enduring a "crisis" and wanted to "get involved to help Britney free herself from what she saw as a very controlling existence." 

The filing also states, "Above all, she and Britney wanted Jones Swanson to help Britney achieve independence from her conservator father James Spears ('Jamie')." The filing alleges that Britney "enthusiastically agreed" to have her mother join the conservatorship arrangement. 

The breakdown of the legal fees being requested by Lynne Spears is as follows:

Jones Swanson Huddell & Daschbach: 

$840,000, to which Jones Swansons is willing to apply a 40% discount to $504,000

Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC: $146,548

Total: $650,548

Although Lynne Spears never had a formal role in the legal guardianship for her daughter, the filing states that her legal team "began appearing in court hearings related to the conservatorship and conducted a review of the historic record of the case." 

The filing continues to state:

In taking on the representation of Lynne Spears, the mission of counsel was clear and simple: do whatever it took to assist Britney to break the restrictions imposed by the conservatorship and move in the direction of the removal of Jamie as conservator, and, ultimately, total termination of the entire conservatorship. 

Lynne Spears' lawyers claim that, since Britney was not permitted to seek her own representation until the summer of 2021, Lynne Spears, "entered this case with her own counsel in order to fill that gap."

See Kim Renfro, Lynne Spears is requesting that Britney's estate pay for more than $600,000 worth of legal fees linked to her efforts to end to the conservatorship, Yahoo News, November 3, 2021. 

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 8, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Tax Tactic Of The Ultra-Wealthy: Split The Masterpiece In Two

ArtBeautiful, timeless art pieces are not only a source of pride and joy for billionaires art lovers—they are also a great way to get a tax break. 

Lawyers for the ultra-wealthy say that "they're increasingly getting requests from art collectors to find strategies to shield their wealth from the Internal Revenue Service. The solution: giving away just a fraction of their ownership." 

With the use of fractional donations, the ultra-wealthy can get a tax benefit "tied to surging art values without donating a painting outright." Under this strategy, the art piece will go back and forth between the donor and the museum and the owner will receive an income-tax deduction "based on the fair market value. . ." 

According to John Mezzanotte, managing partner in the Greenwich, Connecticut, office of accounting and tax-advisory firm Marcum, "If you're dividing time between two places, you won't even miss the art."

Fractional donations of art pieces is another example of another creative strategy that the ultra-rich are using to obtain tax benefits and avoid the proposed tax levies on high earners. 

See Heather Perlberg, Tax Tactic Of The Ultra-Wealthy: Split The Masterpiece In Two, Financial Advisor Magazine, November 2, 2021. 

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

November 7, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Conservatorships by Learning More

The Learning More Podcast recently released a podcast episode discussing conservatorships in the light of the #FreeBritney Movement. University of Virginia Law Professor Naomi Can is featured on the podcast.

Below is more information on the podcast and where you can find and listen:

We have heard a lot in the news and social media about the Britney Spears conservatorship. What is a conservatorship? Why and when are they established? What should you put in place so that it is less likely to happen to you? In this episode, we learn more from Naomi Cahn, Professor of Law at the University of Virginia.
#freebritany 

Show Links

See Podchaser.com, last visited November 6, 2021. 

November 6, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Here's Who Inherited Anthony Bourdain's Money When He Died

BourdainIn 2018, infamous chef Anthony Bourdain was found deceased in his hotel room in France. Bourdain was filming for his TV series "Parts Unknown." Eric Ripert, a good friend of Bourdain, found Bourdain unresponsive in his room after he became worried when Bourdain didn't show up for dinner the night before or breakfast the next day. Although Bourdain struggled with mental health issues and had previously been addicted to heroin, there was no sign of narcotics in his system. The cause of death was ruled a suicide. 

Following Bourdain's death, social media was flooded with tributes from fans and colleagues. At the time of Bourdain's death, he had a net worth of $1.2 million which was made up of bank accounts, personal property, brokerage accounts, and royalties in intangible property. 

In his lat will, Bourdain left the majority of his estate to his daughter Ariane Bourdain, who as only 11 years old at the time of Bourdain's death. Ariane's mother Ottavia Busia, serves as the executor of the estate. 

According to USA Today, Ariane will be given money from the trust on her 25th birthday, and then again at 30 years old. When Ariane turns 35, she will have access to the remainder of the amount in the trust. 

See Jean Mendoza, Here's Who Inherited Anthony Bourdain's Money After He Died , Grunge, November 2, 2021. 

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

November 4, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

10 Reasons to Review Your Current Estate Plan

Estate planningEstate plans do and should evolve over time. With that being said, it is important to keep your living documents current, which can be done by reviewing your estate plan every 5 years, or whenever you or your beneficiaries have a major life event. 

Below are a few points of focus for discussion with your estate planning attorney: 

DISTRIBUTION OF YOUR ESTATE

  1. Whether your plan effectively distributes your assets according to your wishes.
  2. Distribution provisions for your spouse.
  3. Distribution provisions for your children. Should assets pass outright to your children or stay in trust for a longer period of time?
    • If you decide on a continuing trust for a child, consider whether distributions should be staggered over time or whether the trust should be drafted to protect family assets from your children’s future creditors, including a divorcing spouse.
  4. Whether you want to include a trust for your grandchildren in your estate plan.
  5. Whether you need to incorporate special needs trust provisions for a disabled beneficiary to preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility for public benefits.

FIDUCIARY NOMINATIONS

  1. Your current choices for Personal Representative and Successor Trustee.

PLANNING FOR INCAPACITY

  1. Whether to update your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. Discuss the individuals you want to serve as your agents in these documents, as well as alternate agents.

TITLING AND BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS

  1. The appropriate titling and/or beneficiary designations on your assets and accounts.
  2. What assets should be owned by your Revocable Trust and how to effectively transfer ownership of assets into the name of the Trust (or how to designate the Trust as the transfer-on-death beneficiary).
  3. The beneficiary designation for all your retirement accounts. Consider whether it is appropriate to leave retirement accounts directly to your spouse and/or children, or to your Revocable Trust so that the Trustees can administer the assets.  Discuss whether your Revocable Trust qualifies for the maximum payout period for a beneficiary under the SECURE Act, which became effective January 1, 2020.

See Eileen Y. Lee Breger, 10 Reasons to Review Your Current Estate Plan, Bowditch, November 1, 2021. 

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

November 3, 2021 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Article: Accountability for Authority

Robert Flannigan recently published an article entitled, Accountability for Authority, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article: Estate planning

When authority is transferred for a defined or limited purpose, the recipient of the authority serves as a surrogate to advance that purpose. A trustee is one kind of surrogate. My objective here is to explain how the law of fiduciary accountability addresses the opportunism mischief that is latent in surrogate authority. I first explain the nature, virtue and limited access of surrogate authority. I then explain the accountability. I show that it applies to trustees in the same way that it applies to, for example, public servants, agents, directors, partners and parents. Then, in order to further emphasise that the mischief of opportunism is a generic mischief that is corrosive of surrogate authority in all contexts, I focus on two areas of current interest, the misuse of authority for sexual gain by employees and the exploitation of authority by police. These might initially seem to be odd areas to link analytically. The linkage, however, is informative. It illustrates that fiduciary accountability is not tied to or reflective of the idiocracy of the diverse contexts where surrogates exercise authority.

November 2, 2021 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 1, 2021

Article: Solving the 'Problem' of Wills Formalities in the Modern Post-Pandemic Society: Can the Endless Discussion Conclude?

Mariusz Zalucki recently published an article entitled, Solving the 'Problem' of Wills Formalities in the Modern Post-Pandemic Society: Can the Endless Discussion Conclude?, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article: Estate planning

The last will as an instrument of succession law is one of the means of disposing property upon death. Around the world particular legal regulations of American, Australian, European or other countries generally provide for different specific formal requirements for the valid preparation of will. The inappropriateness of this kind of solutions was shown, among others, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the need for making last wills has increased significantly and has rarely been executed in a manner consistent with the formalities. Reflecting the intent of a testator, often expressed informally, seems to be a more important value of the law of succession than respecting the formalities. This has already been noticed in some countries, especially in common law jurisdictions in Australia and America, where solutions based on substantial compliance doctrine or its variations, contrary to the Pan-European strict compliance standard, were adopted. These solutions however, do not take into consideration plenty of circumstances that may occur in the testation practice and are indifferent to new possible ways of making wills. Meanwhile, the range of mechanisms and proposals for statutory changes in the area of wills formalities is constantly growing. However, there are no proposals to cover all possible legislations in this area, as regards Anglo-American, European or other countries. In the meantime, such a solution seems possible and desirable in order to reconcile the doctrines of substantial compliance and strict compliance. This proposal is the subject of this study.

November 1, 2021 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)