Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

Article: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Holmes A Tale of Two Testaments

Stephen R. Alton recently published an article entitled, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Holmes A Tale of Two Testaments, South Carolina Law Review (2020). Provided below is the abstract to the Article. 

Author'sNote: This Article takes theform ofan epistolaryexchange across the centuries, comparing and contrasting two noted wills in Victorian literature. To preserve verisimilitude, the author lets these letters and emails speak for themselves, without any formal introduction, just as would have occurred in Victorian epistolary fiction. It is the author's hope that the relevant testaments and the legal issues they present will make themselves clear as these exchanges proceed.Any reader desiring a more formal introduction to this Article is directed to the first email (below) written by the author to Mr. Utterson and Mr. Holmes; this email has the subject line "Your Correspondence of 1905 An Introduction." This introductory email occurs in the text immediately preceding, accompanying, andfollowing notes 62-68, infra.

November 23, 2020 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

L.A. School Union Says New Taxes On The Rich Are Needed To Reopen City Schools

F58d7407-73e8-4873-9e6f-6ac2c2f50fe8The leading Los Angeles teachers union is calling for new wealth taxes aimed at the rich, especially millionaires and billionaires, as a condition to reopen city schools in September. 

"The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) called for California to implement both a wealth tax on unrealized capital gains for the state's billionaires, and surtaxes on state residents who earn more than $1 million as year, to offset safety measures needed to safely reopen the city's schools."

According to UTLA, these combined measures would result in $14.5 billion a year in tax revenues. UTLA has recommended keeping the schools closed and continuing to focus on distance learning resources until these conditions are met. 

“It is time to take a stand against Trump’s dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students and our families at risk,” said United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz in a statement.

The union estimated the costs to implement the necessary safety measures could surpass $250 million, funds the union say would be available if "federal, state, and local governments are willing to finally prioritize pupils over plutocrats."

On the other side, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged school systems to reopen in September, arguing that keeping children at home is a greater health risk than the coronavirus. Children are less likely to become infected with Covid-19, and if they do, they’re less likely to become symptomatic and spread the virus, the AAP argued in a statement in late June.

UTLA also called for a moratorium on new charter schools and accused charter schools operating in the city of “double-dipping” by accepting federal CARES act funding while also receiving state funding, which was not impacted by the pandemic.

See Tracey Longo, L.A. School Union Says New Taxes On The Rich Are Needed To Reopen City Schools, Financial Advisor Magazine, July 14, 2020. 

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

July 23, 2020 in Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Partition Law Abuse

VICE, a mini-documentary series that airs on Showtime (it used to air on H.B.O.), recently produced an episode on partition law abuse that has impacted so-called heirs’ property owners (tenancy-in-common property that typically is transferred by way of intestate succession) and that episode has been airing on Showtime this month. See https://www.sho.com/vice/season/1/episode/5/quitting-wework-and-losing-ground-and-italys-darkest-hour (you can stream it from this link).

This episode highlights how partition law abuse has contributed to substantial property loss in the African American community and it references the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA). Professor Thomas Mitchell of Texas A&M University School of Law, the Reporter/principal drafter for the UPHPA, helped the producer as he developed the segment and was interviewed as the national expert on partition law/heirs’ property.

A number of law professors have asked if VICE might be able to make the episode on partition law abuse available to teachers for use in their courses. The producer responded that he can send a link to a professor individually which would expire in a few weeks and that he is raising the bigger question about making it more accessible to teachers with his executive producers. He also indicated he could supply DVD copies but that might be for a fee. Already, a number or professors who teach Property law have contacted the producer.

Please contact him directly if you are interested in getting access to the episode. His name is Lyle Kendrick and his email address is lyle.kendrick@vice.com

Note that 16 states (and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have enacted the UPHPA into law with Virginia becoming the most recent state. This makes the UPHPA approximately the 5th most successful uniform real property act that the Uniform Law Commission ever has promulgated in its 128-year history (of about 40 such acts). In addition, the Florida legislature unanimously passed the UPHPA this spring and Governor DeSantis has indicated he intends to sign it into law sometime in the next several weeks. The Mississippi Senate has passed the UPHPA and the Mississippi House is considering the MS Senate bill at this time.

May 24, 2020 in Non-Probate Assets, Resource Links, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Article on What Works in Online Teaching

OnlinelearningMargaret Ryznar recently published an Article entitled, What Works in Online Teaching, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2020). Provided below is the abstract to the Article. 

This Article offers lessons from an empirical study of an Online Trusts & Estates course. More than 280 law students were surveyed over three semesters on what works well for them and what does not in this online course. Their top three answers in each category serve as guidance for faculty creating online courses.

May 15, 2020 in Articles, Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2020 Conference

The announcement below comes to us from Kelly S. Terry, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Clinical Programs, Ben J. Altheimer Professor of Law, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law:

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2020 Conference

Effective Instruction in Online and Hybrid Legal Education

June 11—13, 2020

University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law

Little Rock, Arkansas  

Conference Theme:  The future of legal education has arrived, with more and more law schools moving toward teaching part or all of their J.D. program online.  During this conference, we will explore how law professors can design and implement methods for teaching effectively in online environments, including both synchronous and asynchronous formats.  After an opening plenary examining data regarding the effectiveness of online education, the subsequent plenaries and concurrent workshops will address the following topics in the context of online and hybrid courses and programs:  course and program design, assessment of student learning, active learning and student engagement, teaching methods, providing feedback, and collaborative learning.

Conference Structure:  The conference will consist of three plenary sessions and a series of concurrent workshops that will take place on Thursday, June 11; Friday, June 12; and the morning of Saturday, June 13.  The conference will open with an informal reception on the evening of Wednesday, June 10.  Details about the conference will be available on the website of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, www.lawteaching.org 

Registration Information:  The conference fee for participants is $285, which includes materials, meals during the conference (three breakfasts and three lunches), and the welcome reception on Wednesday, June 10.  The conference fee for presenters is $185.  Details regarding the registration process will be provided in future announcements.

November 14, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Call for Proposals: Institute of Law Teaching and Learning

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Summer Conference
“Teaching Today’s Law Students”
June 3-5, 2019
Washburn University School of Law
Topeka, Kansas

 The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law professors and administrators are reaching today’s law students.   With the ever-changing and heterogeneous nature of law students, this topic has taken on increased urgency for professors thinking about effective teaching strategies. 

The conference theme is intentionally broad and is designed to encompass a wide variety of topics – neuroscientific approaches to effective teaching; generational research about current law students; effective use of technology in the classroom; teaching first-generation college students; classroom behavior in the current political climate; academic approaches to less prepared students; fostering qualities such as growth mindset, resilience, and emotional intelligence in students; or techniques for providing effective formative feedback to students.

Accordingly, the Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme. Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and when they return to their campuses.  Presenters should model effective teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants.  The Institute Co-Directors are glad to work with anyone who would like advice on designing their presentations to be interactive.

To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one page (maximum), single-spaced, and include the following information:

  • The title of the workshop;
  • The name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s); and
  • A summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
  • A description of the techniques the presenter will use to engage workshop participants and make the workshop interactive.

The proposal deadline is February 15, 2019.  Submit proposals via email to Professor Emily Grant, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at emily.grant@washburn.edu.

January 7, 2019 in Teaching | 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)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

New Jersey Teacher Leaves Students $1 Million Gift in Her Will

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-10/046561ee-1b31-4e03-8f8d-39d1da66857d.pngGenevieve Via Cava was a special-needs teacher in Bergen County, in northern New Jersey, alternating between the middle and high school levels during her teaching career that spanned decades. Superintendent of the Dumont School District, Emanuele Triggiano, was not surprised that the late teacher bequeathed a cash donation to the Board of Education. What was a shock was the amount - $1 million dollars, which will be used to provide scholarships of up to $25,000 for one or more students annually, starting with next year’s high school graduates, and that it was set up so that the $1 million would generate enough interest for the scholarship to continue in perpetuity.

Cava's long-time friend, Richard Jablonski, was the executor of her will and had an explanation of how the decedent was able to give such a large gift after years of living on a teacher's salary. “Her family went through the Depression, and I think a lot of that had a big influence on her life, being so frugal,” he said. She would not buy the hearing aids she needed, seemed to have few outfits and stopped going on vacations after her husband died.

See Jacey Fortin, New Jersey Teacher Leaves Students $1 Million Gift in Her Will, New York Times, June 8, 2018.

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

June 10, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Managing Tax Basis in Estate Planning

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-02/6285f04a-96e1-480a-8331-aeff3c98b673.pngThe Northern Trust Company’s Paul S. Lee gave one of the more memorable presentations at the 2018 Heckerling Conference. His discussion focused primarily on the need for planners to manage tax basis as part of the overall estate planning process. Lee equated the applicable exclusion amount to being “free basis,” as those assets covered by the exclusion receive a step-up in basis while remaining free of the federal estate tax. Because of this, he recommends reserving the use of the applicable exclusion only to those instances where there is some chance of the exclusion being lost. A prime example of such an instance would be immediately prior to the expiration of the current exemption thresholds.

See Jordan Smith, Managing Tax Basis in Estate Planning, Wealth Management.com, January 25, 2018.

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

February 2, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Article on Identifying Connections between Elder Law and Gerontology: Implications for Teaching, Research, and Practice

BridgeNina A. Kohn,Maria Teresa Brown, & Israel Issi Doron recently published an Article entitled, Identifying Connections between Elder Law and Gerontology: Implications for Teaching, Research, and Practice, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Scholars have long called for elder law to become part of the larger study of gerontology. The authors conducted a qualitative, empirical study to determine the extent of connections between the fields of gerontology and elder law and to identify strategies for bridging gaps between the fields. As reported in this Article, we found that although both elder law academics and gerontologists indicate that both fields would benefit from research collaboration and cross-disciplinary teaching, the fields remain distinct with limited interaction. Based on these findings, we identify five key strategies for fostering meaningful connections between the fields. Finally, drawing on the expertise of the elder law academics and leading gerontologists interviewed as part of this study, we discuss how fostering such connections could work to the mutual benefit of the two fields and, potentially, improved policy-making in the area of aging.

Special thanks to Robert H. Sitkoff (John L. Gray Professor of Law, Harvard Law School) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 25, 2017 in Articles, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)