Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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)

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Associate Dean to Bring Greater Awareness To Law Faculty Work

Quinnipiac_Law_TutoringJuly 1, Jeff Cooper took on his new role as the associate dean of research and faculty development at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law. He has been teaching at the law school since 2003. Cooper sees himself as an agent for the faculty and aims to “support them to make sure faculty scholarship gets all the attention it deserves.”

Current law school faculty have published a number of hard-hitting works that have found their way into prestigious law journals. Topics range from Professor John Thomas’s articles dealing with immigration law to Professor Jennifer Herbst’s research on health law and government programs. For Cooper, the ideal is for faculty to publish with an eye toward making a positive impact on judicial and academic policies.

Cooper has himself published a number of lauded works. His examinations concerning estate taxation and wealth transfer have been published in highly recognizable and noteworthy journals, and these works have been oft referenced in publications like Forbes.

See New Associate Dean to Bring Greater Awareness To Law Faculty Work, Quinnipiac, July 18, 2017.

July 24, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Article on Falling in Love

AlladinJudith T. Younger recently published an Article entitled, Falling in Love, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

The story of the author’s romantic attachment to the teaching of Wills and Trusts, how she learned the subject, how she came to teach it, its value to her and her students, and their adventures along the way.

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

June 27, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For Whom Does the Bell Toll?

DeathFrank Ostaseski has travelled alongside over 1,000 hospice care patients as they have taken the final steps toward the end of life. Despite such a melancholy subject matter, Ostaseski encourages his audiences to learn about death; to sit down and face death to see what it can teach about life. The speech is available as a podcast or video. The content and the unique delivery contain a potent message that stands to shift any audience’s perspective on death and dying.

See Frank Ostaseski, What the Dying Teach the Living, The Long Now Foundation, April 10, 2017.

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

May 23, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Film, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Article on 30 Estate Planning Tips After 30 Years in the Business

Estate plannerJeffrey A. Zaluda recently published an Article entitled, 30 Things I’ve Learned After 30 Years as an Estate Planner, 31 Probate & Property 52 (May/June 2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

I began practicing estate planning in the spring of 1987. I had been out of law school for less than a year, practicing in litigation at a large, prestigious firm in Chicago, meaning that I largely spent my days looking at documents in cases in which one faceless corporation was suing another. As I remember the story (facts do get fuzzy over time), a partner came to me and said that he had a small piece of probate litigation that he didn’t want to be bothered with. I think the case revolved around whether life insurance proceeds needed to be paid because there was a suspicion that the decedent had committed suicide. I don’t remember the result but I do remember that I was intrigued that the practice of law actually involved living, breathing (or dead!) human beings and human emotion, something I had not encountered as a commercial litigation associate before that. I spoke with a couple of the partners in the firm’s Trusts and Estates Group and asked if I could do some work with them and they kindly agreed to take me on. My only encounter with anything having to do with estates up to that time had been one morning session in my Bar-Bri class preparing for the bar exam.

I ended up leaving that firm later that year and joined the firm that I’m still with now, over 29 years later. That alone feels very good. In that time I have gone from as green as green can be, eagerly chasing after any small matter I could get, to an ACTEC Fellow with a successful and sophisticated practice and what I believe is a nice reputation within Chicago’s estate planning community, if not beyond. I think I’ve learned a thing or two in that time and this article is my effort to put some of that down on paper. I assume many readers will nod their heads in agreement at some items and shake their heads in disagreement at others. So be it. Hopefully, there is at least something of interest to each of you.

May 16, 2017 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Ugly Realization About Teacher's Retirement Plans

Teaching retirement planOftentimes, companies provide 401(k) retirement plans for their employees, including a mix of prudent investment options. Millions of Americans—like public school teachers and clergy members—however, are not offered these plans, forcing them to rely of 403(b) plans. Ironically, the people who do the most good get the worst retirement plans. 403(b) plans carry excessive investment fees that can cost the owner tens of thousands of dollars or more. Further, these accounts are not subject to the more stringent rules and consumer protections that the average 401(k) plan is. This Article details several stories of public schools teacher’s fight to retire efficiently.  

See Tara Siegel Bernard, Think Your Retirement Plan Is Bad? Talk to a Teacher, NY Times, October 21, 2016. 

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


October 24, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)