Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Casey Kasem’s Widow Accuses Attorney of ‘Conspiring to Kill’ Him

CaseyJean Kasem, the widow of the late radio DJ Casey Kasem, has now filed a wrongful death suit against his former attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III. She claims that the attorney and Casey's three adult children, Kerri, Julie and Michael, conspired to "isolate and kill Casey Kasem for financial gain."

This is just the latest in a string of legal allegations by the widow against Casey's children from his previous marriage. Last year, police in Gig Harbor, Washington, said they found no evidence of wrongdoing after investigating Kasem’s death at 82 in 2014. Jean has hired former LA Chief Prosecutor Becky James to fight her case.

Court documents state that Ingham did not "visit Casey in Washington state [where Casey died] to assess his needs when he was having trouble breathing" after he was hired to advocate for his interests. Jean and her daughter Liberty further claim the lawyer profited by billing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to the estate.

See Casey Kasem’s Widow Accuses Attorney of ‘Conspiring to Kill’ Him, Fox News, July 28, 2019.

July 28, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

CLE on Drafting a Living Trust: From Start to Finish

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a video webcast entitled, Drafting a Living Trust: From Start to Finish, on Monday, July 29th, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description
Practical Walkthrough of Trust Selection, Drafting, Funding and Taxation

Living trusts are one of the fundamental building blocks of estate planning. This legal course will take you through every step of the way in choosing, drafting and incorporating the trust into your client's estate plan. Register today!

  • Get an update on the latest laws governing trusts and estates.
  • Simplify drafting with sample key trust provisions.
  • Make certain the trusts you draft are tax-efficient.
  • Anticipate and prevent trust disputes.

Who Should Attend

This legal course is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, trust officers, and paralegals.

Course Content

  • Estate Transfer Laws: What You Need to Know Before Drafting Begins
  • Revocable or Irrevocable Living Trust: Helping Clients Choose the Right Option
  • How to Draft Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts - With Sample Documents
  • Funding the Trust
  • Coordinating the Trust With the Rest of the Estate Plan
  • Taxation Essentials for Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts
  • Living Trust Dispute Basics: Proactively Preparing on the Front End
  • Ethical Considerations

July 25, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Article on The Prudence of Passivity: An Argument for Default Passive Management in Trust Investing

ResponsibletrusteeBryon W. Harmon & Laura A. Fisher recently published an Article entitled, The Prudence of Passivity: An Argument for Default Passive Management in Trust Investing, ACTEC L.J. Vol 44, No. 2, 147-182 (Spring 2019). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

Trustees, like all investors, are exposed to a wide-ranging marketplace of investment vehicles, techniques, strategies, and theories. Trustees have a threshold choice to make with respect to the manner in which trust assets are to be invested. Active management - historically, a conventional approach - aims to "beat the market" and surpass benchmark returns by picking and choosing among individual securities based on the trustee's determinations that they are mispriced (i.e., undervalued) and/or by timing transactions based on forecasting. Alternatively, trustees may choose to simply invest in and own entire markets, or asset classes, and accept overall market returns by using low cost asset class index funds. This latter approach is known as passive investing, or indexing.

This article traces both the historical development of financial scholarship regarding investment practices and legal scholarship addressing the evolution of fiduciary duties. It then reviews the modern prudent investing rules governing trust investment and explores several major issues: (1) whether a passive approach is encouraged or even required by law, (2) why so few professional trustees seem to employing passive investment management and (3) whether recent case law focusing on the costs of investing in the contexts of ERISA is a harbinger of similar arguments in the private trust area.

We conclude with a recommendation that a passive investment strategy become the default standard for corporate and professions trustess under modern iterations of the prudent investor rule.

July 10, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 5, 2019

How to Talk to Your Financial Advisers About a Chronic Illness

MeetingThere are plenty of misconceptions about chronic illnesses, and as a society Americans do not understand how to deal with others that are facing them. If you or are loved one is facing a chronic illness, financial advisors should be made aware so that appropriate planning can be performed in a safe and comfortable place.

Many people believe that chronic illnesses are only an ailment of the elderly, but the truth is that 60% of those living with one are between the ages of 18 and 64. If you are living with a chronic condition, before you even meet initially with your financial advisor, you should make them aware if they should supply any necessary accommodations. As empathetic as a your advisor may be, they may not understand the physical assistance your disease or condition may require you to need. If there are cognitive impairments or a neurologist condition, ensure that your financial advisor understand what your needs are and where mental ability stands.

Clients should give advisers express permission to ask any questions so that they can understand all your needs and provide as comfortable a meeting as possible.

See Martin Shenkman, How to Talk to Your Financial Advisers About a Chronic Illness, Forbes, July 5, 2019.

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

July 5, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)