Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Same-Sex Marriages Triple Four Years After Supreme Court Victory

Gay marriageLGBT Americans are rushing to the alter more than ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling four years ago, forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marraige. In fact, a survey found that the percentage of married LGBT respondents was more than triple from 2012. The percentage of LGBT respondents with children has also grown—from 23% to 36% for lesbians and from 7% to 15% for gay men.

The main focus of the study was the “LGBT financial experience.” LGBT couples used to face discrimination in areas like taxes, estate planning, and retirement planning. Many of these problems have been resolved by recognizing same-sex unions.

See Ben Steverman, Gay Marriages Triple After Four Years of Victories, Bloomberg, June 24, 2016.

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

June 26, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article on Ilott v. Mitson & the Inheritance Act of 1975

Inheritance actBrian Sloan recently published an Article entitled, The ‘Disinherited’ Daughter and the Disapproving Mother, U. Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 24/2016 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This paper is a case note on Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA Civ 797. The judgment concerns the appropriate remedy following a successful claim by an estranged adult daughter under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The charities who were named in the mother’s will have been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

June 26, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Daughter-in-Law's Perspective on Her Dying Mother-in-Law

EllenWith looming imminent kidney failure, Ellen does not expect to live much longer, but she is as active in her death as she was throughout her life. She does not want to subject herself to life-sustaining treatments and makes this clear to those that are managing her care.

Her daughter-in-law writes the Article from her perspective, and eventually lets the reader know that she does not agree with the death plan her mother-in-law has put into place. It is hard to comprehend someone’s reasoning when you want them to stick around for many more of life’s events. She soon realizes, however, to help Ellen reach her goal of a peaceful end is what matters most.

See Cindy Schweich Handler, I Didn’t Like It, but This Was the Death She Chose, Washington Post, June 20, 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.

June 25, 2016 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Common Will-Substitutes Used in England and Wales

English willsAlexandra Braun recently published an Article entitled, Will-Substitutes in England and Wales, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 39/2016 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Will-substitutes, that is to say mechanisms that are functionally equivalent to wills, are very common in the US, where much of the wealth is transferred on death by means other than wills, and thus outside traditional probate procedures. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate whether this is the case also in England and Wales.

This chapter explores some of the most common mechanisms used, the rationale behind their use, as well as the consequences that arise from their proliferation. In doing so, it considers will-substitutes from different perspectives, including those of creditors and family members and dependants. It argues that the current state of the law in England and Wales is unsatisfactory and that it is time for a debate involving non-probate transfers and their relationship with current succession laws.

June 25, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Will-Substitutes for Your Estate Plan

Life-Insurance trustAlexandra Braun & Anne Roethel recently published an Article entitled, Passing Wealth on Death. Will-Substitutes in Comparative Perspective, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 38/2016 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Wealth can be transferred on death in a number of different ways, most commonly by will. Yet a person can also use a variety of other means to benefit someone on death. Examples include donationes mortis causa, joint tenancies, trusts, life-insurance contracts and nominations in pension and retirement plans. In the US, these modes of transfer are grouped under the category of 'will-substitutes' and are generally treated as testamentary dispositions.

Much has been written about the effect of the use of will-substitutes in the US, but little is generally known about developments in other jurisdictions. For the first time, this collection of contributions looks at will-substitutes in a comparative perspective. It examines mechanisms that pass wealth on death across a number of common law, civil law and mixed legal jurisdictions, and explores the rationale behind their use. It analyses them from different viewpoints, including those of owners of businesses, investors, as well as creditors, family members and dependants. The aims of the volume are to show the complexity and dynamics of wealth transfers on death across jurisdictions, to identify patterns between them, and to report the attitudes towards the different modes of transfer in light of their utility and potential frictions they give rise to with policies and principle underpinning current laws.

June 24, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Estate Plan Checklist

Estate plan checklistEstate planning is an essential part of life planning. It is important to take the right steps in your delineating your estate while you are healthy and of sound mind, so the earlier the better.

The Article details ten steps to take when kick-starting your estate plan. A couple important steps are to designate a power of attorney and health care power of attorney, so that when you are unable to make appropriate decisions, you have the help necessary. Another important step is to create a list of financial accounts and documents, keeping them in a safe place for when your family members need access to them. Additionally, as circumstances and laws change, always review your estate plan yearly.

See Natalie Campisi, Your Estate Planning Checklist: How to Create a Financially Sound Estate Plan, Go Banking Rates, June 22, 2016.

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

June 24, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Various Means of Passing Your Wealth on Death

Will substitutesAlexandra Braun & Anne Roethel recently published an Article entitled, Exploring Means of Transferring Wealth on Death: A Comparative Perspective, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 40-2016 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Will-substitutes are mechanisms that are functionally equivalent to wills and that allow the disposition of property on death outside the sphere of traditional succession law rules. This chapter provides an overview of the principal means through which property can be disposed of on death across a number of jurisdictions. It further offers a discussion of the rationale behind their use and explores the challenges these mechanisms present for the operation and functioning of succession law.

June 24, 2016 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donor-Advised Funds Are Costing American Charities

CharitiesThe United States relies heavily on charities, and in return, those that donate receive a generous tax break on the income donated. Experts argue that this charitable relationship is at risk due to a collective, managing, and distributive fund—donor-advised fund—that is obstructing the stream of money to those who need it. Instead of the money going directly to the charity of choice, it goes to a financial firm that acts as a middleman. These funds are considered legal charities that can distribute money over a long period of time, keeping it out of the hands of those charities that sincerely rely on the funds. As donor-advised funds are on the rise, an estimated $15 billion could be delayed to American charities.

See Ana Swanson, Wall Street Is Sitting on Billions Meant for American Charities, Washington Post, June 21, 2016.

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

June 24, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Inmate Will Not Share in Prince's $300 Million Estate

Prince33The judge overseeing Prince’s estate is not allowing cameras in an upcoming hearing to determine possible heir claims. According to the law, the media and public may also be banned from the hearing if the court pursues specific paternity matters. We now know, however, that Carlin Williams, an inmate serving eight years for unlawful transportation of a firearm, is not a potential heir after a DNA test came back with a 0% chance of relation. The prisoner will not share in any of Prince’s $300 million estate as paternity questions continue to arise. 

See Prince Is Not the Father of Man Serving Time in Prison According to DNA Results that Bar the Convicted Felon from Inheriting Any Part of $300 Million Estate, Daily Mail, June 22, 2016.

June 23, 2016 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Music, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michael Jackson's Estate Attempts to Shut Down Media Buzz on Recently Released Police Reports

Michael jacksonMichael Jackson’s estate attempted to shut down the media buzz surrounding a 2003 police report that was released detailing the singer’s pornography collection. The estate worries that this hype is undermining the upcoming anniversary of Jackson’s death. Photos of the investigation into child sexual assault were also released but quickly taken down. The police records, however, reveal Jackson’s alleged pornography collection; however, these records seem to be mixed with misguided information from the Internet.

See Michael Jackson’s Estate Fights Back at Report Detailing Singer’s Creepy Porn Stash, Fox News, June 22, 2016.

June 23, 2016 in Current Events, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)