Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

iOS 15.2 Beta 2 Lets Your Family Access Your Data If You Pass Away

When Apple first introduced iOS 15 in June, the company highlighted a new, extremely important and helpful feature. The new feature is termed the Digital Legacy feature and is designed to allow Apple users to set a person as their Legacy Contact, which gives that person access to your Apple ID account and personal information in the event of your death.
Although the feature was not quite ready when iOS 15 launched, the feature is available in the iOS 15.2 and iPadOS
Continue Reading iOS 15.2 Beta 2 Lets Your Family Access Your Data If You Pass Away

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

BRITNEY SPEARS Calls Out Mom … YOU WERE THE BRAINS BEHIND THE CONSERVATORSHIP

Following Lynne Spears’s (mother of Britney Spears) filing of a petition requesting payment for legal fees, Britney Spears has called her mother out, claiming that her mother was the brains behind the conservatorship that held her captive. 
According to Britney Spears, “[m]y dad is not smart enough to ever think of a conservatorship. . . .what people don’t know is that my mom is the one who gave him the idea.” 
According to TMZ, Britney’s statements are true as Lynne was the one
Continue Reading BRITNEY SPEARS Calls Out Mom … YOU WERE THE BRAINS BEHIND THE CONSERVATORSHIP

Britney Spears’s mother, Lynne Spears, has filed a petition to the Los Angeles court “requesting that her daughter’s conservatorship estate pay for her legal fees incurred since 2019.”

The documents explain that she sought out legal counsel from a firm called Jones Swanson Huddle & Garrison because she believed her daughter, Britney Spears, was enduring a “crisis” and wanted to “get involved to help Britney free herself from what she saw as a very controlling existence.”

The filing also states, “Above all, she and Britney wanted Jones Swanson to help Britney achieve independence from her conservator father James Spears (‘Jamie’).”
Continue Reading Lynne Spears is requesting that Britney’s estate pay for more than $600,000 worth of legal fees linked to her efforts to end to the conservatorship

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Tax Tactic Of The Ultra-Wealthy: Split The Masterpiece In Two

Beautiful, timeless art pieces are not only a source of pride and joy for billionaires art lovers—they are also a great way to get a tax break.

Lawyers for the ultra-wealthy say that “they’re increasingly getting requests from art collectors to find strategies to shield their wealth from the Internal Revenue Service. The solution: giving away just a fraction of their ownership.”

With the use of fractional donations, the ultra-wealthy can get a tax benefit “tied to surging art values without donating a painting outright.” Under
Continue Reading Tax Tactic Of The Ultra-Wealthy: Split The Masterpiece In Two

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Here’s Who Inherited Anthony Bourdain’s Money When He Died

In 2018, infamous chef Anthony Bourdain was found deceased in his hotel room in France. Bourdain was filming for his TV series “Parts Unknown.” Eric Ripert, a good friend of Bourdain, found Bourdain unresponsive in his room after he became worried when Bourdain didn’t show up for dinner the night before or breakfast the next day. Although Bourdain struggled with mental health issues and had previously been addicted to heroin, there was no sign of narcotics in his system. The cause of death was ruled a suicide.
Continue Reading Here’s Who Inherited Anthony Bourdain’s Money When He Died

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

10 Reasons to Review Your Current Estate Plan

Estate plans do and should evolve over time. With that being said, it is important to keep your living documents current, which can be done by reviewing your estate plan every 5 years, or whenever you or your beneficiaries have a major life event. 
Below are a few points of focus for discussion with your estate planning attorney: 

DISTRIBUTION OF YOUR ESTATE

  • Whether your plan effectively distributes your assets according to your wishes.
  • Distribution provisions for your spouse.
  • Distribution provisions for your children. Should assets pass outright to

  • Continue Reading 10 Reasons to Review Your Current Estate Plan

    Tuesday, November 2, 2021

    Article: Accountability for Authority

    Robert Flannigan recently published an article entitled, Accountability for Authority, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article:
    When authority is transferred for a defined or limited purpose, the recipient of the authority serves as a surrogate to advance that purpose. A trustee is one kind of surrogate. My objective here is to explain how the law of fiduciary accountability addresses the opportunism mischief that is latent in surrogate authority. I first explain the nature, virtue and limited access of surrogate authority. I then
    Continue Reading Article: Accountability for Authority

    Monday, November 1, 2021

    Article: Solving the ‘Problem’ of Wills Formalities in the Modern Post-Pandemic Society: Can the Endless Discussion Conclude?

    Mariusz Zalucki recently published an article entitled, Solving the ‘Problem’ of Wills Formalities in the Modern Post-Pandemic Society: Can the Endless Discussion Conclude?, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law ejournal (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article:

    The last will as an instrument of succession law is one of the means of disposing property upon death. Around the world particular legal regulations of American, Australian, European or other countries generally provide for different specific formal requirements for
    Continue Reading Article: Solving the ‘Problem’ of Wills Formalities in the Modern Post-Pandemic Society: Can the Endless Discussion Conclude?

    Sunday, October 31, 2021

    TAX PROPOSALS IN THE NEW “BUILD BACK BETTER” FRAMEWORK

    “The White House released a new framework for the build back better plan, followed by a preliminary draft of the Bill from the house rules committee.” 
    Included in the proposal is a spending and tax plan. The specifics of the plan are complicated and involve “rapidly evolving, Congressional dynamics.” 
    The House Rules Committee text did not include provisions for tax changes like lowering of gift and estate tax exemption amounts; limitations on grantor trusts; increased corporate, income and capital gain tax rates; and provisions related to IRAs
    Continue Reading TAX PROPOSALS IN THE NEW “BUILD BACK BETTER” FRAMEWORK

    Saturday, October 30, 2021

    Law professor publishes a legal thriller where the hero is a Trusts & Estates lawyer

    Jeffrey A. Cooper, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Quinnipiac University School of Law, has just published his novel entitled After the Fact in which a T&E attorney is the hero. How exciting is that?! I can’t wait to read it! Here is the teaser:
    When Jack Collins leaves a small Connecticut law practice to join one of the nation’s most prestigious firms, he trades a nondescript office for one in a gleaming New York
    Continue Reading Law professor publishes a legal thriller where the hero is a Trusts & Estates lawyer

    Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    Future Returns: How Proposed Tax Changes Could Affect Art Collectors

    The U.S. $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill before the U.S. Congress could greatly impact wealthy individuals who collect art. That being said, art collectors should keep their eye on the bill as changes within the legislation “could have big consequences for how they manage their collections.”

    According to Monica Heslington, head of the art and collectibles advisory team at Goldman Sachs Family Office, those who own art and collectibles do not typically view their treasures in the same way as investments in stocks and bonds, but
    Continue Reading Future Returns: How Proposed Tax Changes Could Affect Art Collectors

    Monday, October 25, 2021

    Surgeon transplants a pig’s kidney into a brain-dead human in groundbreaking surgery

    Robert Montgomery, a New York transplant surgeon, “conducted a successful surgery that transplanted a pig’s kidney into a brain-dead human.” 
    US surgeons say that the successful transplant could ultimately be the key to solving donor organ shortages. The recipient of the kidney was brain-dead, and was on artificial life support “with no prospect of recovering.” 
    The kidney came from a pig that had been genetically modified to stop the organ being recognized by the body as “foreign” and being rejected. 
    Although the work has
    Continue Reading Surgeon transplants a pig’s kidney into a brain-dead human in groundbreaking surgery

    In Matter of Falkowsky, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, “affirmed a decree made after a nonjury trial which in effect granted objections alleging lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence, and denied the admission of the will to probate.” 
    The Court affirmed the Surrogate’s Court decision in which it found a lack of testamentary capacity alone, focusing on the evidence presented which “effectively demonstrated that the decedent did not understand the nature and extent of his property.” 
    Harold Falkowsky was hospitalized on December 1, 2014. Two weeks later, Harold apparently executed a last will and testament
    Continue Reading New York Court Conducts In Depth Analysis Of Lack of Testamentary Capacity Will Contest

    Friday, October 22, 2021

    Social Security Benefits to Increase 5.9% for 2022

    Americans receiving Social Security benefits in 2022 will see “the largest increase in their payments in four decades, reflecting surging inflation during the pandemic.”

    According to the Social Security Administration, in 2022 the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be 5.9%, which will result in an addition of $92 to retirees’ average monthly benefit next year. The increase brings the amount to $1,657, the agency estimates. The 5.9% COLA is the largest since 1982.

    The Social Security Administration also said that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social
    Continue Reading Social Security Benefits to Increase 5.9% for 2022

    Washington, DC, October 21, 2021: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Foundation today announced the 2021 winners of the Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition. Five law students’ submissions stood out among 21 entries received and reviewed by a panel of judges appointed by the Legal Education Committee of the College. ACTEC Fellow T. Randolph Harris, who chaired the judging process, said, “This year’s entries were outstanding! It was exciting to read such thought-provoking papers.”
    The ACTEC Foundation supports the annual legal writing competition to encourage law students to create scholarly works in the area of trusts and estates.
    Continue Reading The ACTEC Foundation Announces Mary Moers Wenig 2021 Student Writing Competition Winners

    Thursday, October 21, 2021

    Off Topic: Water Law Symposium: West Texas Water

    At the request of my colleague and friend, Prof. Amy Hardberger , the George W. McCleskey Professor of Water Law and  Director of the Center for Water Law and Policy at the Texas Tech University School of Law, below is information about a seminar entitled West Texas Water:
    The Texas Tech Law Review is proud to host the first West Texas Water Law Symposium on November 5th in conjunction with the Center for Water Law and Policy. The symposia will be offered for CLE credit. Register for the event
    Continue Reading Off Topic: Water Law Symposium: West Texas Water