Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Rare Alfa Romeo Stuck in Basement for 35 Years Sold for $650,000 After Owner's Death

AlfaA rare beauty was found in a basement in Turin, Italy of a mechanic after the owner passed away in November. The mechanic appears to have lowered a rare 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ down to the basement with an elevator, and then when the elevated broke, never repaired it. Fewer than 200 of that model are believed to have been made.

The mechanic died with no will and no heirs, so the government was able to claim the rare car. Worked removed the car with a crane and promptly sold it at a nondescript auction house for an incredible $650,000. That’s one of the highest prices ever paid for the model, and above the Hagerty Price Guide estimate for a show-quality example - all of which goes straight to the Italian Treasury.

See Gary Gastelu, Rare Alfa Romeo Stuck in Basement for 35 Years Sold for $650,000 After Owner's Death, Fox News, February 7, 2019.

February 16, 2019 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Home Buyers From High-Tax States Flock to Miami

MiamiData suggests that a growing number of wealthy citizens are moving from high-tax states to Florida and other low-tax states in response to the change in tax laws last year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is one of many public officials that are blaming losses in state taxes to the federal deduction for state and local taxes now being capped at $10,000.

This means that though Miami has always been popular because of its beaches and warm weather, now it is drawing even more new buyers. The city is experiencing more activity than usual from buyers living in northern, high-tax states. Jonathan Miller, a real estate appraiser who publishes quarterly reports for real-estate company Douglas Elliman said,  “If they were already on the fence, I think the tax law has changed the calculus for some.”

While New York City's condo market is tumbling, Miami's is steadily increasing. The media price in Miami increased to $235,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 2% rise from a year earlier. On the flip side, Manhattan co-op and condo sales last year were down 12% from 2017 to their lowest level since 2009.

See Laura Kusisto & Arian Campo-Flores, Out-of-State Buyers Flock to Miami, MSN.com, February 5, 2019.

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

February 5, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo Fined for Tax Fraud, Avoids Jail Term

RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo, a former forward for Real Madrid who recently transferred to Juventus, will avoid serving a 23-month prison sentence for tax fraud.  He accepted a suspended sentence but he was also fined €18.8 million ($21.6 million) to settle the case. 

Ronaldo requested for a special security measures to avoid the hassle of the press and the public but was denied. He was required to enter the court room through the main entrance for his appearance, which only lasted 15 minutes because it consisted of merely signing previously agreed upon settlement.

Ronaldo denied an accusation in 2017 that he knowingly used a business structure to hide income generated by his image rights in Spain between 2011 and 2014. He testified at the initial trial, saying he had performed no wrongdoing. He also told the judge he felt victimized by the Spanish authorities, which partially prompted the trade to Juventus.

Ronaldo earns an estimated $93m (€80m) a year, according to Forbes, with approximately half coming from image-rights deals with his many sponsors.

See Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo Fined for Tax Fraud, Avoids Jail Term, ESPN, January 22, 2019.

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

January 24, 2019 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Article on Women Participation to Inheritance in Kosovo

KosovoEgzonis Hajdari published an Article entitled, Women Participation to Inheritance in Kosovo, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2014). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

The right to inheritance is one of the basic human rights. This right in Kosovo is regulated by the Law on Inheritance. This law represents a modern law harmonized with the highest international standards in this field. It regulates substantially, all the matters related to inheritance. The Law on Inheritance in Kosovo through its solutions ensures full equality of women with men to inheritance. Regardless of this, practical realities of life prove a completely different situation. Consequently, women participation to inheritance is estimated to be very limited. The reasons for this situation are numerous and of different natures. In fact, these reasons significantly are the reflection of still strong influence of the Albanian customary law in people's consciousness. This is the law that constantly treated women as a second hand subject. In this scientific paper is made a modest attempt to brief a short historical of women participation to inheritance issue in Kosovo, to continue with the legal aspect treatment and practical situation of women participation to inheritance manifestation in Kosovo during the period of time 2008-2012.

January 23, 2019 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Travel, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Article on Is the Trustee-Beneficiary Relationship Necessarily Fiduciary

Trusts2Tobias Barkley published an Article entitled, Is the Trustee-Beneficiary Relationship Necessarily Fiduciary, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2014). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

This paper is about the relationship between trust law and the concept of a fiduciary. The traditional position on this relationship is that express trustees are necessarily fiduciaries. However, developments in trust drafting practice and their implicit acceptance by the courts have put the relationship between fiduciary and trustee under strain, with the result that there appears to be a divergence between the fundamental obligations of a trustee and the fundamental obligations of a fiduciary.

January 18, 2019 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Travel, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Book on International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide

Int-Estate-Plan-2015-HC_CDBarbara Hauser & Melissa Langa recently published a book entitled, International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide (Updated ed. 2018). Provided below is a summary of the book.

International Estate Planning: A Reference Guide, is a practical and authoritative resource for those seeking key information in the estate planning field. Practitioners and foreign advisers, [moved a phrase to later] whose clients have assets, children, parents or a spouse in other countries, or whose tax liabilities are difficult to define because of nationality, employment, or residence issues, and U.S. executives working in foreign countries will find straightforward, useful information in this guide. Equipped with a companion CD the appendix to the book contains copies of fillable tax forms and notices, relevant treaties and Hague conventions, as well as a list of organizations and resources to quickly help the reader obtain the answers they need.

International Estate Planning addresses questions such as:
- “I just bought a vacation home in France. Should I do anything?”
- “My daughter married someone in Italy. Should I change my trust?"
- “Can an American save taxes by using off-shore trusts?”

These are not easy questions. Mistakes and pitfalls are pointed out throughout the book and ways to prevent them are explained. The authors have spent more than 20 years in private client practice and have a firsthand appreciation of the need for authoritative information.

January 14, 2019 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Article on Aproximaciones teóricas y metodológicas sobre las consecuencias de la sucesión en la distribución de la propiedad rural (Consequences of Inheritance in the Inequity of Rural Property, A Theoretical and Methodological Approach)

RuralJorge Miguel Cristo Gonzalez recently published an Article entitled, Aproximaciones teóricas y metodológicas sobre las consecuencias de la sucesión en la distribución de la propiedad rural (Consequences of Inheritance in the Inequity of Rural Property, A Theoretical and Methodological Approach), Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

The present article investigates the consequences of inheritance in the distribution of rural property. In order to achieve that, the fragmentation rate was estimated by succession, taking the distribution of rural property in the department of Cundinamarca as a basic guide, especially in two towns: Topaipí and Une. The article reports that, in the analyzed cases, inheritance is a factor that perpetuates the high inequality of the distribution of rural property. Moreover, a theoretical account is made on the foundations of inheritance throughout its existence in the Roman-Germanic juridical world and how this traditional law institution continues being currently so important that aims to be a mechanism that redefines the rights about property in a market society.

January 8, 2019 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Article on Birmingham v Renfrew (1937): The Foundations of the Mutual Wills Doctrine

MutualYing Khai Liew recently published an Article entitled, Birmingham v Renfrew (1937): The Foundations of the Mutual Wills Doctrine, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

This paper discusses the facts of Birmingham v. Renfrew and the impact of the decision on the development of the mutual wills doctrine in Anglo-Australian law. Much like laying the secure foundations of a building, Birmingham has supplied three central ‘pillars’ upon which the doctrine has gradually been built upon, and upon which the future development of the doctrine can securely be based. The three ‘pillars’ are: the interaction between ‘contract’ and equity, the meaning of ‘contract’, and the rationale of the mutual wills doctrine.

January 3, 2019 in Articles, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The 10 Cheapest States for Your Aging Parents in 2018

C Oklaaring.com examined 11 different socio-economic factors critical to the overall expense of caring for an aging parent. This included their internal data on senior care costs, Genworth's 2017 report on the average cost of senior care in each state, a cost of living index, and other data. “It all comes down to finding that ideal balance between a low cost of living and the accessibility of services,” says New York City-based eldercare advisor Joanna Leefer.

Here is the 10 cheapest states, starting at #10 and counting down to the most affordable state.

  • Arizona
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • Idaho
  • Wisconsin
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma

See Nick DiUlio, The 10 Cheapest States for Your Aging Parents in 2018, Caring.com, December 14, 2018.

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

December 25, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Greece Should not Have Applied Sharia Law in Will Contest

MuslimIn a recent case in the European Court of Human Rights, the court found that Greece should not have allowed the two sisters a deceased Muslim man apply Sharia law to contesting the validity of their brothers will.

In Molla Sali v Greece, a Grand Chamber judgment held that Greece had violated Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits religious discrimination, when the country applied Sharia law to the inheritance of a wife's estate. The husband had a will written up and notarized 5 years before his death, bequeathing his wife all of his property. However, his two sisters contested the will. They claimed that their brother was part of the Thrace Muslim community and that any question of inheritance should be governed by Sharia law instead of Greek Civil Code. Under Sharia law, there is no testacy - inheritance is simply provided by intestacy rules, and wills are only meant to compliment those rules. Under the intestacy guidelines, the sisters were entitled to three-quarters of their brother's estate because they were close relatives.

After several layers of appeals, the European Court found for the wife, stating that she had been discriminated against because of her husband's religion. Because the husband went to a notary and had a will drawn up and publicly notarized, he was subjecting himself to the Greek Civil Code, just like a non-Muslim Greek national. "The fact is that if her husband, the testator, had not been of Muslim faith, Ms Molla Sali would have inherited the whole estate."

See Howard Friedman, European Court: Greece Should not Have Applied Sharia Law in Will Contest, Religion Clause Blog Spot, December 21, 2018; see also Molla Sali v Greece.

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

December 25, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Religion, Travel, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)