Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Article: Trigger Warning: the ‘Safe Harbor’ at Section 420

Russ Willis recently posted an article entitled, Trigger Warning: the ‘Safe Harbor’ at Section 420, The St. Louis Bar Journal, 2022. Provided below is an abstract of the article:
In 2014, the Missouri legislature enacted a statute enabling a trust beneficiary to test the water before committing to a petition or motion that might trigger an in terrorem clause, forfeiting their interest in the trust.Eight years have passed, and this statute has been addressed by Missouri appellate courts five times. The following discussion is somewhat out
Continue Reading Article: Trigger Warning: the ‘Safe Harbor’ at Section 420

Thursday, May 12, 2022

This 81-year-old Californian sold her $1 million home for half its value so it could become affordable housing after she dies

Bobbi Loeb, 81, sold her home to Community Land Trusts of West Marin (CLAM), an organization whose mission is to ensure that Marin County remains affordable for low and middle-income residents.
Loeb moved into the home in Marin County, about 40 miles north of San Francisco, nearly 50 years ago. Due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, the property is now worth over $1 million. 
By selling the property to CLAM, Loeb is the first
Continue Reading This 81-year-old Californian sold her $1 million home for half its value so it could become affordable housing after she dies

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Article: Trust Alteration and the Dead Hand Paradox

Jeffrey Pennell and Reid K. Weisbord recently published an article entitled, Trust Alteration and the Dead Hand Paradox, ACTEC Law Journal, 2023 Forthcoming. Provided below is the abstract:
Trusts are popular instruments for wealth transmission because they can be crafted to suit almost any imaginable estate planning goal that is not contrary to public policy. With the abrogation of the Rule Against Perpetuities in most states, settlors may impose trust terms that will be legally enforceable for scores of future generations, if not in perpetuity. Long-term and
Continue Reading Article: Trust Alteration and the Dead Hand Paradox

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Filling the Gap: A New Uniform Law to Address Electronic Estate Plans


In 1999, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approved the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and a year later Congress enacted similar legislation. These laws allow for both parties involved in a transaction to agree to conduct business electronically and permits electronic record or signatures to satisfy requirements for “in writing” or “signed”. Both the UETA and E-Sign Act have exemptions for transactions governed by the law of wills.
When both were passed, there was a community wide belief that electronic signatures were inappropriate for
Continue Reading Filling the Gap: A New Uniform Law to Address Electronic Estate Plans

Monday, May 9, 2022

Labor Department Criticizes Fidelity’s Plan to Put Bitcoin on 401(k) Menu

The Labor Department has expressed concerns about retirement security as Fidelity Investments plans to allow investors to put bitcoin into their 401(k) accounts. Despite the hype surrounding cryptocurrency, there is concern about the volatility in prices and the lack of regulatory framework at this stage in development.

Fidelity is allowing 23,000 companies to add bitcoin as an option to 401(k) services, allowing workers to allocate as much as 20% of their nest eggs in bitcoin. Employers have the ability to reduce this threshold.

Fidelity asserts
Continue Reading Labor Department Criticizes Fidelity’s Plan to Put Bitcoin on 401(k) Menu

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Article: Proprietary Restitution

Timothy Liau and Rachel Leow recently published Proprietary Restitution, in the Research Handbook on Unjust Enrichment and Restitution (2020). Provided below is the abstract:

Proprietary restitution is commonly opposed to personal restitution, reflecting a traditional division between rights in personam and rights in rem. The term ‘proprietary restitution’ conventionally encompasses a variety of examples, including trusts, powers to re-vest title, and liens. Personal rights to restitution, realisable in court as money awards, are relatively easier to understand. Our focus — proprietary restitution — is the more difficult case.

Does, and should unjust
Continue Reading Article: Proprietary Restitution

Saturday, May 7, 2022

The New Way to Get a Tax Break: NFT and Crypto Donations

As popularity in nonfungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies has exploded, nonprofit organizations are trying to figure out how to navigate the acceptance of crypto donations. There is a fear of missing out on dollars, accompanied by a fear of doing something that’s going to result in noncompliance. 
The IRS treats crypto or NFTs as property, which has lead to an increase of investors donating them to charity. Donors are able to avoid paying capital-gains taxes on the assets they have held onto for longer
Continue Reading The New Way to Get a Tax Break: NFT and Crypto Donations

Friday, May 6, 2022

A Matter of High Interest: How a Quiet Change to an Actuarial Assumption Turbocharges the Life Insurance Tax Shelter

Andrew Granato recently authored an article entitled, A Matter of High Interest: How a Quiet Change to an Actuarial Assumption Turbocharges the Life Insurance Tax Shelter , Draft of Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, Forthcoming (2022). Provided below is the abstract to the Article:
Draft: America’s lengthy income tax code and financial regulations are notoriously full of special treatment for the politically favored. Academics and policymakers argue the relative merits of different approaches to tax and regulatory policy
Continue Reading A Matter of High Interest: How a Quiet Change to an Actuarial Assumption Turbocharges the Life Insurance Tax Shelter

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Article: Is Bitcoin Prudent? Is Art Diversifified? Offering Alternative Investments to 401(k) Participants

Edward A. Zelinsky recently published an article entitled, Is Bitcoin Prudent? Is Art Diversifified? Offering Alternative Investments to 401(k) Participants, Connecticut Law Review (2022). Provided below is the abstract to the Article: Real estate investment trusts (REITs) pass ERISA’s fiduciary tests because REITs now have a considerable track record amassed over six decades and have achieved broad acceptance, both among general investors and in the world of defined benefit pensions. In contrast, art funds, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are today not prudent
Continue Reading Article: Is Bitcoin Prudent? Is Art Diversifified? Offering Alternative Investments to 401(k) Participants

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Socially Distant Signing: Why Georgia Should Adopt Remote Will Execution in the Post-COVID World

Jessie Daniel Rankin recently published a a note in Georgia Law Review entitled, Socially Distant Signing: Why Georgia Should Adopt Remote Will Execution in the Post-COVID World, Georgia Law Review (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article:
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and other state governors issued emergency executive orders authorizing the attestation and execution of wills, trusts, and other testamentary documents through the use of audio-video technology. Most states have traditionally required that
Continue Reading Socially Distant Signing: Why Georgia Should Adopt Remote Will Execution in the Post-COVID World

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Sylvester Stallone Sells Los Angeles Mansion Once Asking $110 Million — for a Steep Discount

Sylvester Stallone has sold his Los Angeles compound for half of the original asking price. The six-bedroom main house, which has a two story foyer, screening room, cigar room, gym, and panoramic city and canyon views from every room, is located on 3.5 acres is located in the exclusive Beverly Park community. The compound also includes a two-bedroom guesthouse, sprawling lawns, putting green, and infiniti pool and spa, plus an eight-car garage.
Stallone and his wife have owned the property through
Continue Reading Sylvester Stallone Sells Los Angeles Mansion Once Asking $110 Million — for a Steep Discount

Monday, May 2, 2022

Article: Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance

Jason S. Oh and Etc M. Zolt recently published an article entitled, Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance, Tax Law Review (2021). Provided below is the abstract to the Article:
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed ambitious new annual wealth taxes based on academic work by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. They project these proposals to raise trillions of dollars over the next ten years. Some critics challenge the Saez-Zucman approach to measuring the aggregate wealth of those subject to a
Continue Reading Article: Wealth Tax Design: Lessons from Estate Tax Avoidance

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Future Returns: A Wealth Management Take on Biden’s ‘Billionaire Tax’

The Biden administration’s recently proposed billionaire minimum income tax legislation is the most significant proposed change since the Reagan era in the 1980’s.

The proposed legislation would apply to households worth over $100 million and will tax at least 20% of full income, including unrealized appreciation. It is important to note that households already paying that amount won’t face any additional tax under the proposal. At this time, it is unclear whether the proposed legislation will apply to trusts.

The White House characterizes this as a
Continue Reading Future Returns: A Wealth Management Take on Biden’s ‘Billionaire Tax’

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Betty White’s Longtime L.A. Home Lists for $10.755 Million, as Her Carmel House Closes for Well Over Ask

Four months after the death of Betty White, her estate sold one of her California homes for $10.775 million, well over its $7.95 million asking price. The three story home in Carmel has ocean view and sits on a 0.3 acre lot. Ms. White and her husband, the late Allen Ludden, purchased the land in 1978 for $170,000 according to property records. They finished building the home in 1981.
The estate is also listing her primary residence, a
Continue Reading Betty White’s Longtime L.A. Home Lists for $10.755 Million, as Her Carmel House Closes for Well Over Ask

Friday, April 29, 2022

Cher’s $1 Million Royalty War With Sonny Bono’s Widow Tested in Court


Earlier this week, Cher’s lawsuit against Mary Bono for unpaid royalties had its first major court hearing. Cher claims that the Bono Collection Trust is attempting to terminate her 50% share of the composition and recording royalties she was awarding in her 1978 divorce from Sonny Bono. 
According to Bono’s widow, that 50% stake expired with the rights flowing back to Sonny’s heirs. “Sonny could grant Cher his then-current rights, including a 50% royalty interest in his copyrights. Sonny could not however, have signed
Continue Reading Cher’s $1 Million Royalty War With Sonny Bono’s Widow Tested in Court

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Advance Care Planning for Guns: Owners Can Help Ensure Safe Use and Transfer of Weapons


Firearm Life Plan is a new tool that can help gun owners and their families plan ahead for safe firearm use and the transfer of firearms in the event of disability or death.

The plan, created by researching at University of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Denver, is a way for someone to prescribe what they want to happen with their firearms should they die or become incapacitated. Nearly 42% of Americans 65 and older live
Continue Reading Advance Care Planning for Guns: Owners Can Help Ensure Safe Use and Transfer of Weapons