Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, June 16, 2019

CLE on Probate and Trust Litigation

CLEThe National Business institute is holding a conference entitled, Probate and Trust Litigation, on Friday, July 12, 2019 from 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM at the Holiday Inn Philadelphia-Cherry Hill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Real-World Insights for Both Estate Litigators and Planners

Fiduciary problems, family dynamics, creditor issues, unclear estate plans . . . disputes can arise from many areas of trusts and estates. Do you know how to prevent fights, settle them efficiently or move a case through court when litigation is unavoidable? Our seasoned faculty will provide you with practical instruction and tips on handling common controversies. From will contests to fiduciary litigation and more, don't miss this opportunity to build your skills - register today!

  • Learn how to handle will contests and trust fights, interpretation issues and reformations.
  • Uncover the mechanics of proving or disproving undue influence/lack of capacity.
  • Find out when and how to remove a fiduciary.
  • Explore how to resolve disputes with accountings - or prevent them from happening in the first place.
  • Discover effective ways to settle disputes to avoid costly and protracted litigation.
  • Get a refresher on litigation procedures and rules you need to know.
  • Define who your client is to avoid conflicts of interest and other problems.

Who Should Attend

This intermediate level seminar is designed for attorneys and paralegals.

Course Content

  • Wills and Trusts: Contesting, Interpreting, Reforming
  • Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence in Litigation
  • Handling Claims Against Fiduciaries
  • Disputing Accountings, Distributions and Creditor Claims
  • Settlement Tips
  • Navigating Court Rules, Processes and Procedures
  • Applying Legal Ethics Rules and Guidelines

June 16, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

'Softer' Side of Planning More Important to Clients Than Documents

MoneyheartA recent survey by Age Wave Consulting asked Americans aged 45 years and older, “What’s most important to pass on to the next generation?” The lowest ranked answer was "financial assets or real estate," while the top answer - from 74% of respondents - was "values and life lessons." Knowing the emotional reasons for a client's transfer wishes can enhance an estate planner's ability to create the right plan.

Traditionally, legacy planning has focused on the legal documents and financial techniques needed to transfer tangible assets. But now place just as much value on the relationships within their family and the "softer" side of a person's legacy. A client may want the next generation to fully understand the reasons for a particular transfer, and a family meeting may be able to accomplish this goal. Given the possible sensitive topics that may come up, it’s a good idea to have the meeting at a location that is not loaded with emotion.

As an advisor and facilitator, one can encourage effective communication and provide the clients the opportunity to share their wishes with their loved ones. Discussing their intangible legacy can have a lasting impact and strengthen the relationship not just with the clients but their heirs as well, ensuring that you maintain your role at the center of your client’s wealth discussions.

See Kara Duckworth, 'Softer' Side of Planning More Important to Clients Than Documents, Think Advisor, May 24, 2019.

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

May 28, 2019 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

CLE on The Probate Process from Start to Finish

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, The Probate Process from Start to Finish, on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 from 8:30 AM - 4:40 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio Airport in San Antonio, Texas. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Handling Probate from Initial Notices through the Estate Closing

This "a through z" guide to probate is designed to take you from the first days of the estate timeline through all the steps of marshaling and valuing estate assets, locating and paying the creditors, paying the beneficiaries, and laying the estate to rest. You will receive the latest updates on the probate court procedure and tax laws, practical guidance from experienced probate attorneys on using spousal elective share and resolving estate disputes, and sample forms and checklists to speed up the administration process. Build a solid foundation for your probate practice - register today!

  • Learn the procedure, rules and practical steps to effectively administer a probate.
  • Determine what form of administration is appropriate for a specific probate case.
  • Clarify the order of inheritance for an estate when there is no will.
  • Locate assets and obtain ownership documents more easily with a list of local and online resources.
  • Get a complete view of the sequence of events that must happen before the estate can be closed.
  • Identify common actions that trigger malpractice liability and get tips for staying in the clear.
  • Get practical advice for honoring or contesting all claims against the estate.
  • Find new ways to resolve liquidity issues that delay estate closing and final distributions and payments.
  • Learn what common closing mistakes can allow the estate to be re-opened, and how to avoid them.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar is designed for professionals who want to be more effective in handling the probate process, including:

  • Attorneys
  • Paralegals
  • CPAs and Accountants
  • Financial Planners and Wealth Managers
  • Tax Professionals
  • Trust Officers

Course Content

  • Initial Filing in Probate Court and Estate Timeline
  • Law of Intestate Succession
  • Inventory and Appraisement
  • Probate Property vs. Non-Probate Assets
  • Handling Claims Against the Estate
  • Tax Reporting and Post-Mortem Tax Matters
  • Ethics
  • Sale of Property and Distributions
  • Final Accounting and Closing the Estate
  • Probate Disputes and Litigation

May 25, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Intestate Succession, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Article on Shifting Gears: Estate Planning for Today's Emerging Adults

AdulthoodEileen Gallo recently published an Article entitled, Shifting Gears: Estate Planning for Today's Emerging Adults, Probate & Property Magazine, Vol. 33 No. 3, May/June 2019. Provided below is the introduction to the Article.

Whether known as Peter Pan syndrome, a perpetual pursuit of passion, or being 25 years old and living in your parent's basement, the journey and life of an emerging adult is no longer a novelty, an aberration, or a generational crisis.

Emerging adulthood is an accepted, if not celebrated, part of our culture. Recall the popular televise show Friends and it group of attractive twentysomethings frolicking in a modern-day fountain of youth, as its theme song set up the emerging adult's dilemma: "It's like you're always stuck in second gear/ When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month/ Or even your year."

The fact that emerging adulthood can span more than a year, and in some cases a decade or more, is ne of the many challenges this cohort group has presented to The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Fellows and other estate planning professionals.

What does emerging adulthood, once the exclusive purview of the offspring of the very rich, look like today? It is the phenomenon of 18- to 30-year-olds in a type of extended adolescence in which they explore love, work, travel, and other interests while gradually moving toward enduring commitments and life changes. These young people consider marriage, home, and children not as achievements to be pursued currently but as perils to be avoided for a time. They want them, but not now.

Initially identified as the "Postponed Generation," this class of "nearly grown-ups" was introduced by this author almost 30 years ago in this magazine. The article, Estate Planning for the Postponed Generation, Prob. & Prop. (Sept./Oct 1989), co-authored with the late Jon Gallo, a nationally recognized trust and estate lawyer, addressed issues that these young people began presenting in the estate planning process.

Although the concept of emerging adulthood has become commonplace 30 years later, it remains a challenging period for all parties involved - parents, their young adults, and legal counsel. The good news is that estate planning lessons involving these maturing individuals have come of age.

Drawing upon decades of neuroscience research and a generation's worth of firsthand experience, this update to the 1989 article provides a current snapshot of emerging adulthood. Estate planning counsel will also learn new ways to understand and work with this distinct clientele and help motivate its constituents on the path to emotional, social, and financial maturity.

May 3, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE on Probate and Trust Administration

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a seminar entitled, Probate and Trust Administration, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Sacramento, California, at the Four Points by Sheraton Sacramento International Airport, from 8:30 AM to 4:40 PM. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

What You Need to Know About Probate and Trust Administration

Working through issues that arise through probate and trust administration can be daunting. Are you well-equipped with the tools you need to succeed? This insightful course will take you through steps in probate administration, including information on creditor and debt issues, tax and more. You will also get valuable insight on trust administration, including the handling of accounting, distributions and taxes. Don't miss this opportunity to hone your probate and trust administration skills - register today!

  • Take a closer looks at the initial step for filing the estate.
  • Discuss what needs to be done to handle creditor claims and debts.
  • Make sure everything is in order for the final distribution of the estate.
  • Review what issues need to be addressed concerning taxes in probate administration.
  • Get the latest information on taxation concerns associated with trusts.
  • Explore the different types of trusts and how they are used.
  • Learn ways to manage, sell and distribute property and assets in trust administration.
  • Gain a better understanding of the distinctions between trust fiduciary accounting and income tax accounting.

Who Should Attend

This basic level seminar is designed for professionals who want to be more effective in the probate and trust administration process, such as:

  • Attorneys
  • CPAs and Accountants
  • Tax Professionals
  • Financial Planners and Wealth Managers
  • Trust Officers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  • Probate Process and Overview
  • Assets, Creditor Claims and Debt Considerations
  • Distributions, Final Accounting and Closing the Estate
  • Tax Issues in Probate Administration
  • Trust Taxation Issues
  • What You Need to Know About Trusts
  • Accounting/Distributions in Trust Administration
  • Ethics and Estate Administration

May 3, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

CLE on Drafting IRA Trusts

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webinar entitled, Drafting IRA Trusts, on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Provide Your Clients with a Thorough Understanding of IRA Trusts

Be prepared for specific challenges associated with IRA trusts by understanding their unique characteristics. Our essential primer will provide you with a comprehensive overview of these popular trusts, including drafting tactics, advantages of an IRA trust and critical sample forms needed to complete the process. Register today!

    • Determine the pros and cons of establishing an IRA over other trusts.
    • Gain a better understanding of IRA minimum distribution rules, such as individuals as beneficiaries and trusts as beneficiaries.
    • Learn different tax issues associated with an IRA trust, including income and estate tax.

This is a rebroadcast of the original webcast delivered by Karen L. Brady, Justin H. Brown and Thomas J. Murphy on October 18, 2018. Faculty will be available to answer your questions after the program.

Who Should Attend

This legal program is designed for attorneys looking to increase their knowledge of IRA trusts. This course may also benefit accountants and CPAs, estate planners, and trust officers.

Course Content

    • Overview of IRA Trusts
    • IRA Required Minimum Distribution Rules
    • Retirement Account Rollover Rules and Mistakes
    • Drafting an IRA Trust
    • Tax Issues
    • Sample Forms
    • Using Self-Directed IRAs to Create LLCs for Non-Traditional Investments
    • Ethics in Estate Planning Practice
    • Distribution and Termination of IRA Trusts in Estate Administration

April 30, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How Pro Athletes Can End Up Losing Their Wealth

MiketysonThe news is littered with professional sports stars earning millions and millions of dollars on contracts and endorsements and then for everything to come crushing back down on them. Once their personal fortunes are exhausted it is nearly impossible to recuperate what they once had, or even to be back on sturdy ground.

The reasons these superstars' wealth goes up in smoke can be devolved into three reasons: overspending, unsound financial advice, and a mixture of both. Overspending is not usually the sole reason that these athletes lose so much money, but it is definitely an attributing factor. Bad or deceptive financial advice can easily be determined to be the overwhelming reason why the fortunes are lost, and sometimes the flimsy advice is unintentional. But as Evan Jehle, partner in FFO Business Management & Family Office explains, “There are also quite a few professionals who exploit the naiveté and unsophistication of successful athletes. In these scenarios, the advice that has been given was done to benefit the advisor rather than the athlete.” Astronomically high life insurance policies with premiums that provide substantial commissions to advisors is one example.

Unbridled expenditures in combination with unsound financial advice can eat away at a professional athlete's fortunes, and in many cases, completely eradicate them.

See Russ Alan Prince, Russ Prince: How Pro Athletes Can End Up Losing Their Wealth, Financial Advisor, April 10, 2019.

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

April 24, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Malpractice, Professional Responsibility, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book on The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law

FiduciarybookEvan J. Criddle, Paul B. Miller, and Robert H. Sitkoff recently edited a book entitled, The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law, (1st ed. 2019). Provided below is a summary of the book.

  • Examines how fiduciary principles apply in eighteen different fields of law, including agency law, trust law, corporate law, pension law, bankruptcy law, family law, employment law, legal representation, health care, and international law
  • Provides clear guidance on essential concepts and principles of fiduciary law, including the defining characteristics of fiduciary relationships, the duty of loyalty, the duty of care, mandatory and default rules, and fiduciary remedies
  • Offers new historical, comparative, and interdisciplinary perspectives on fiduciary law
  • Includes original essays from leading fiduciary law scholars exploring perennial challenges and future directions for the field
  • No book currently available provides an overview of fiduciary law that is as rich or comprehensive as this volume

For more information about the material within the book, see here.

Special thanks to Garrett A. Heckman (Palm Springs, California Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 16, 2019 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Florida Lawyer Gets 15 Years in Prison for Swiping $2 Million From Disabled Clients

HandcuffsA Tampa, Florida attorney that once specialized in wills, trusts, and estate planning has been sentenced to 15-years by Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Nash. David Land Whigham, who regularly represented charities and disabled litigants, pled guilty in November of 2017 to embezzling more than $2 million from his clients.

In 2016, the Florida Bar discovered he’d overstepped his bounds when the Bank of Tampa flagged strange activity in his trust accounts. The bar filed a petition for disciplinary revocation, citing that before his death in 2011, a client had requested that Whigham distribute more than $900,000 to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children and a schizophrenia research foundation in Massachusetts, but Whigham failed to do so.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement found at least nine victims had lost money to Whigham, who spent the stolen cash on his mortgage, vacations, and other personal expenses and luxuries. He told the court that he could not explain his decision to embezzle the funds, but also added “I promise the court I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to making restitution.”

See Raychel Lean, Floria Lawyer Gets 15 Years in Prison for Swiping $2 Million From Disabled Clients, Daily Business Review, April 2, 2019.

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

April 3, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Article on Re-Considering Undue Influence in the Digital Age

ActecJodie Distler recently published an Article entitled, Re-Considering Undue Influence in the Digital Age, ACTEC Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1, 131-137, (Winter 2019). Provided below is an introduction of the Article.

In a thought-provoking article (the "Article") sitting in the intersection of legal scholarship and psychological study, Dominic J. Campisi, Evan D. Winet, and Jake Calvert explored the understating of a person's susceptibility to undue influence and methods by which an influencer and intentionally or unintentionally exploit common human behavior to the influencer's own benefit. Campisi, Winet, and Calvert apply the six basic categories of persuasion tactics from Robert Cialdini's, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion to the decision-making processes involved in lifetime and testamentary assets transfers. They caution that "in evaluating the susceptibility of people to undue influence and elder abuse tactics, it is important to focus on the actual cognitive processes by which most people make decisions. The author agrees with this advice and further argues that the emerging laws authorizing electronic estate planning documents, remote notarizations, and e-signature processes could increase the opportunity for undue influence by allowing influencers, in the absence of attorney involvement in the estate planning process, to leverage those principles of persuasion.

March 29, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)