Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, July 4, 2015

CLE On Settlements, Compromises and Ethical Issues in Estate Litigation

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a paralegal CLE entitled, Settlements, Compromises and Ethical Issues in Estate Litigation, Thursday, July 16, 2015, 12:00-1:30pm Central, online.  Here is why you should attend:

Attendees of the Paralegal eLearning Program will learn substantive legal and ethics issues – as well as best practices – from leading industry professionals with in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience in Trust & Estate Law.  The program will offer ten 60-minute eLearning sessions, and attendees can register for the entire series or individual sessions.

July 4, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Laws Seek To Protect Dementia Sufferers

DementiaDementia has become increasingly common among the elderly with a staggering five million Americans having the disease. Unfortunately, many people seek to take advantage of a dementia patient's diminished capacity. Family members, or anyone else who is familiar with the dying person, are usually the perpetrator of any fraud but telemarketers and the like are also a threat. A few states have passed laws that require financial advisers and institutions to report suspicious activity around the account of vulnerable clients. This reporting requirement is not yet expected to be widely adopted but it is a good step to protect the finances of the impaired.

See Suzanne Barlyn, Protecting dementia sufferers from scammers gains ground in U.S., Reuters, July 1, 2015.

July 4, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Top Concerns Of Ultra-High Net Worth Families

Estate planningThe “U.S. Trust 2015 Insights on Wealth and Worth” survey has gained insight on some of the top concerns of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) families.  These concerns range from personal physical and emotional health, to also having a desire to give back to society through charitable giving.  One of the main things that UHNW families worry about is whether their children will manage the inheritance left to them in a responsible manner.  There are financial techniques like setting up trusts that UHNW families can use to help provide guidance to future beneficiaries. 

See Maureen Nevin Duffy, Kids A Top Worry Of Rich Families, Survey Says, Private Wealth, June 23, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 3, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Portion Of Millionaires Have No Estate Plan

SavingsMore than a third of millionaires have not consulted with a financial planner to set up an estate plan.  Procrastination is a problem that has an effect on people in all income groups.  Recent changes in tax policies have created a sense of “estate planning fatigue” with some wealthy families.  Not having an estate plan can result in “complete chaos” as loved ones who are left behind fight over the estate.  It is a good idea for wealthy individuals to consult with a professional estate planner so that they can be prepared for the future.

See Alex Padalka, One-Third of Millionaires Have No Estate Plan, Financial Advisor IQ, July 2, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

There Are Three Retirement Loopholes That Are Probably Going Away

Home mortgagePeople use a number of tricks and tips to grow retirement benefits and bypass certain taxes.  As these tricks or “loopholes” become more common the government may end up cracking down on some of them.  Here are three retirement loopholes that the government may get rid of in the near future:

  1. Back-door Roth IRA Conversions.  President Obama has made a 2016 budget proposal that effectively calls for eliminating the back-door Roth IRA Conversions.  Gridlock in congress may keep this estate planning technique in place for the indefinite future, though there is a push to get rid of it.
  2. The Stretch IRA.  People who inherit an IRA have the option of taking distributions over their lifetimes, providing decades of tax free income.  There are a growing number of lawmakers who would like to get rid of the “stretch” and require non-spouse beneficiaries to withdraw the IRA money within five years.
  3. Aggressive Social Security Strategies.  The Obama budget has also proposed doing away with some of the “aggressive” social security techniques like “file and suspend” or “claim now, claim more later.”

See Liz Weston, Three retirement loopholes seen likely to close, Reuters, June 29, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 3, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Issues Final Regulations On The Portability Of Unused Exclusion Amounts

IrsPortability lets a surviving spouse carry over any portion of the deceased spouse’s unused exclusion (DSUE) to shield more assets from estate taxes.  It is a new provision that has been confusing lawyers, CPA’s, and their clients since it was brought into existence on Jan. 1, 2011. There are some people who miss out on these benefits by failing to elect for portability, some critics have called for a more simplified process.  The new rules will permit some people to elect for these exclusions even if they are past the 15-month extended estate tax filing period so long as their estate falls below the exclusion amount ($5.43 million in 2015). The IRS is adopting a stricter approach for larger estates by only granting a portability election if they file at the time of the first spouse’s death. 

See Ashlea Ebeling, IRS To Allow Do-Overs For Some Estates, Forbes, July 2, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brevity Is The Soul Of... An Obituary?

Article PictureA man in Fargo, North Dakota had a strange request for his eventual death, he only wanted a two word obituary that said "Doug died." The man felt that going on about where you work, and the like, after death was unnecessary. But he seems to have only gotten part of his wish; while his obituary was appropriately brief, the newspaper wrote a separate article that ran several hundred words and essentially acted as the last ode to the gentleman's life.

See Kate Seamons, Fargo Man Sums It All Up in 2-Word Obit, Newser, July 2, 2015.

 

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Estate Of Legendary Musician Nina Simone Faces Sony In Court

Article PictureAfter years of legal wrangling the estate of Nina Simone is heading back to court after a settlement with Sony fell through. The controversy revolves around the rights Ms. Simone's music being sold online to iTunes, Amazon, and other digital music services. Sony acquired the rights after buying the original distributor and has been fighting the estate for a long while. No trial date has yet been set.

See Ann Brown, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood: Nina Simone’s Heirs In Another Legal Battle With Sony, Madame Noire, May 22, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett for bringing this article to my attention.

July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLE On Advanced Texas Estate Planning & Probate

CLE PictureThe Texas Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Advanced Estate Planning and Probate 2015,  July 29-31, 2015, at the San Antonio Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa for a video presentation.  Here is why you should attend:

Highlights

  • Dealing with Water, Wind, and Mineral Interests in Estate Administration.
  • Setting up Your Estate Planning Practice so You Can Retire with Ease.
  • Extent and Limits of Spendthrift Protection - Creditor sand Divorce.
  • Micro-Captives: The Insurance Company You Keep.
  • Use and Abuse of Show Cause Motions.

Course Amenities

  • Breakfast and lunch provided each day.
  • Complimentary self-parking at all sites.
  • Complimentary wireless signal in the meeting room.
  • Complimentary online registration for the Attorney Ad Litem Certification for Guardianship Proceedings.

July 3, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Allows Reach Back On Estate Tax Portability For Some Estates

IRS LogoThe IRS announced new regulations to the system of portability which allows any unused estate tax exclusion to pass to the surviving spouse. Under the initial rules, the transfer was required to be part of the estate tax filing in order to pass to the spouse. The new rules will allow for a 15 month extended filing period after the estate tax return is submitted to apply for the exclusion transfer. However, any estate larger than the exclusion must apply for the transfer under the old rules or lose the right. Also issued was a regulation concerning non-citizen spouses, they make elect for the exclusion upon becoming a citizen after the death of the spouse.

See Ashlea Ebeling, IRS To Allow Do-Overs For Some Estates, Forbes, July 2, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 3, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)