Estate Planning Blog


TMZ:  Alan Thicke’s widow says his sons are treating her unfairly and believes they might be recklessly spending his money while holding out on her inheritance … according to new legal docs. Tanya Thicke claims Alan’s sons — Robin and Brennan, who are co-trustees of their late father’s estate — are not only keeping her in the dark about how they are managing his trust ... but are ganging up on her and possibly robbing her from what she’s owed.

By | 2018-05-14T16:20:31+00:00 May 18th, 2018|

The Uncertainty of Taxes When it Comes to Death

Accounting Today:  “Although there is a great deal of truth in Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted maxim that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, the timing of death and the amount of taxes owed are not certain, observed Joyce Beebe, a fellow at Rice University’s Center for Public Finance.“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 leaves the federal wealth transfer tax system in place, but temporarily doubles the exclusion amount for estate and gift taxes to $11.18 million per individual or $22.36 million per married couple until the end of 2025,” she said. “In 2026, absent congressional action, the base exclusion amount will revert to $5 million, indexed for inflation.”

By | 2018-05-14T16:10:05+00:00 May 17th, 2018|

Rockefeller Estate Auction Ignites Frenzy Among Several Pieces

Financial Advisor Magazine:  Get ready for the biggest tag sale in history. More than 1,500 items from the estate of Peggy and David Rockefeller — Impressionist and American paintings, English furniture and silver, 19th century carriages, Persian rugs, Japanese porcelain, Moroccan lamps, a Napoleon’s dinner service, duck decoys, gilded Buddhist deities, African figurines — are coming up for auction, starting May 8 at Christie’s in New York. There is an online sale and six live auctions. Christie’s officially estimated the trove at more than $500 million, while privately whispering that it may be much higher.

By | 2018-05-14T16:05:23+00:00 May 16th, 2018|

6 Pet-Related Tax Deductions

Think Advisor:  Can pet owners claim their dog or cat on their taxes? The answer is yes  but only in specific instances. Embrace Pet Insurance compiled a list of six potential tax deductions for pet owners though some may have been affected by the tax overhaul. ThinkAdvisor spoke with Leon LaBrecque, managing partner and CEO at LJPR Financial Advisors, about these potential pet deductions and which are still relevant under the new tax law.

By | 2018-05-14T16:02:33+00:00 May 15th, 2018|

What You Don’t Know About Estate Planning Will Cost You

Nightly Business Report:  Grandparents and parents may not know the best way to pass down their wealth to the next generation, which involves more than minimizing estate taxes that will be owed on the inheritance. When one dies with considerable assets, they have several options for places to leave their money, including to loved ones or a charity. Here are some best practices to consider.

By | 2018-05-14T15:55:54+00:00 May 14th, 2018|

Never Too Old for Love  “We all remember the lyrics from that famous tune: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.” While these words may be music to the ears of a young couple, clients who are considering getting married later in life have many issues to think about prior to tying the knot. In fact, many years ago, as a young elder law attorney (not an oxymoron) one of my first cases involved representing a man who was in a nursing home and had become “friends” with a woman across the hall. One thing led to another and the next thing you know, he was inquiring as to what the legal consequences would be if he married his new friend. That’s how I got into this area of law that’s now called “elder law.

By | 2018-05-07T16:06:16+00:00 May 11th, 2018|

10 Estate Planning Tips for Families with Beneficiaries with Special Needs

Schiff Hardin:  “Life is more complicated for families who have a loved one with a disability. From finding the right medical professionals and the right schools or other programs, to obtaining necessary therapies and services, people with disabilities face additional steps, extra time, and a need for specialized knowledge at every stage of life. In addition to facing these stresses, families may receive misinformation, which makes decision-making more difficult. While the development of an estate plan can be difficult for any family, for a family of a person with a disability, the planning, as with all things, has added complexity. Primary caretakers of a loved one with a disability routinely wonder who will care for, love, and financially support their family member when they are gone.”

By | 2018-05-07T15:00:27+00:00 May 10th, 2018|

Family Conflict Tops the List of Estate Planning Challenges in 2018  “When the topic of estate planning comes up, talk about taxes is soon to follow. That train is rarely late. Taxes are important, but they aren’t what keeps planners up at night in 2018. According to a recent TD Wealth survey of 109 attendees of the 52nd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, including attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, educators and nonprofit advisors, family conflict is what they’re really worried about.

By | 2018-05-07T14:46:42+00:00 May 9th, 2018|

96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates Majority to Charity

The New York Times:  “Sylvia Bloom worked in the same law firm in Brooklyn for 67 years as a legal secretary. She retired in 2016 at the ripe old age of 96 and passed away shortly afterwards. It was not until her niece and executrix, Jane Lockshin, was settling her account when Ms. Bloom’s big secret was revealed – she was a multi-millionaire. The secretary simply watched the investments the attorneys were making and made similar ones, albeit in smaller amounts. But they added up!”

By | 2018-05-07T12:28:17+00:00 May 7th, 2018|

Prince’s Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against Hospital, Pharmacy Chain

NPR:  “Prince’s heirs have filed a wrongful death suit against the drugstore chain Walgreens and an Illinois hospital where the singer was treated, then released, the week before his fatal overdose in 2016. Minnesota Public Radio’s Matt Sepic reports that attorneys representing Prince’s estate allege that Trinity Medical Center, in Moline, Ill., where Prince’s plane made an emergency landing on April 15, 2016, failed to appropriately diagnose and treat his overdose.”

By | 2018-05-01T16:03:11+00:00 May 4th, 2018|

7 Common Estate Planning Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Market Watcher:  “An approximately $30 trillion transfer of wealth is currently under way in the U.S. as aging baby boomers pass their assets to successive generations.This transfer, together with the recent increase to the lifetime federal estate and gift tax exemption (to $11.18 million in 2018), has created a favorable situation for U.S. citizens and residents seeking to transfer wealth to their loved ones during lifetime and at death. Despite the encouraging estate planning horizon, we still see many who make common mistakes which can thwart their intentions.

By | 2018-05-01T15:08:42+00:00 May 3rd, 2018|

5 Tips to Live in Retirement Like This Famous 98-Year-Old

Market Watch:  “Restaurateur Cecilia Chiang retired in 1991 from her business but you can still find her cooking at home or enjoying meals at restaurants in her neighborhood.The 98-year-old is well-known for her Mandarin Restaurant in San Francisco, which she opened in 1961 and sold in 1991. She received the James Beard Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, was featured in the book “200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World” and was the subject of a PBS documentary called “Soul of a Banquet.”

By | 2018-05-01T14:54:17+00:00 May 2nd, 2018|

All You Can’t Leave Behind

Financial Advisor Magazine:  “Almost all clients begin thinking at some point about how they are going to be remembered when they’re gone. Many think specifically about the legacy they will be leaving. But legacy is an odd thing. I would argue that the concept is somewhat selfish. We wish to direct it, but we actually have little control over it. Various people in our lives often get to determine how we will be remembered, basing it somewhat on their interactions with us but mostly on their own views of the world.”

By | 2018-05-01T14:35:07+00:00 May 1st, 2018|

Rise of ‘Gray’ Divorce Forces Financial Reckoning After 50

Bloomberg:  “For some, it means liberation. For others, loss. For women in particular, the doubling of the divorce rate for the 50-plus crowd since the 1990s can mean something far more prosaic: a need to shoulder the big financial decisions they’d let their spouses deal with when they were married. Often, they find some nasty surprises after he’s gone. A majority of married women—56 percent—still leave major investing and financial planning decisions to their spouse.”

By | 2018-04-23T11:40:03+00:00 April 27th, 2018|

Is Stan Lee Being Held Prisoner by Real-life Villains?

The New York Times:  “Stan Lee, one of the inspirational founts that gave birth to the modern Marvel Universe and characters such as Blank Panther, Spider Man, and the X-Men, has always lived in a world populated by all-power villains and valiant heroes. But, these characters are imaginary. Today though, Lee is rumored to have attracted a following of real-life villains set on siphoning his wealth while keeping him a prisoner in his own home. After the death of his wife, Joan Lee, suspicions arose concerning Lee’s dwindling bank accounts and there were even some reports that a former associate stole his blood to sell to fans.

By | 2018-04-23T11:31:23+00:00 April 26th, 2018|

Prince’s Overdose Death Results in No Criminal Charges

The New York Times:  “Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead in an elevator in Paisley Park at the age of 57. A toxicology report revealed high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer’s blood, stomach, and liver. Though fentanyl is a legal prescription, it is often used to manufacture knock-off pills, like oxycodone and other painkillers, that are sold on the black market. Minnesota law enforcement announced Thursday that no one would be charged for Prince’s death as they could not determine who actually provided the drug that killed him. Mark Metz, a Carver county attorney, said that they “ have no direct evidence that a specific person provided the fentanyl to Prince.”

By | 2018-04-23T10:55:56+00:00 April 24th, 2018|

Reflections of a Dementia Specialist: I Want to Stop Working Before I Embarrass Myself

The Washington Post:  “My wife says that I love my work too much to ever retire. Perhaps she is right. However, my experiences as a neurologist and clinical director of an Alzheimer center have led me to think a lot about the circumstances under which it would be wise to move on. In fact, having reached my 60s — thereby joining the fastest-growing segment of our population — I have been considering what changes in my cognitive capacity would lead me to no longer wish to keep on working.”

By | 2018-04-23T10:57:57+00:00 April 23rd, 2018|

Many Americans Try Retirement, Then Change Their Minds

The New York TImes:  “Sue Ellen King worked as a nursing educator and critical care nurse at University of Florida Health for almost four decades. Her co-workers kindly joked that she had been at the hospital since the foundation was laid, which happened to be true. King was ready. She circled her last work day on the calendar and took a week-long trip with her husband to celebrate her upcoming freedom. But, when she actually transitioned into retirement, King found that her carefully crafted post-work experience had fallen flat. “I’d done all the preparation, except to really think about what life was going to be like,” King said. After only three months, she returned to work in a part-time position at the hospital.”

By | 2018-04-16T11:13:40+00:00 April 20th, 2018|

Couple charged in gravestone scam took $64G from grieving families

FOX News:  “Authorities have charged a North Carolina couple with cheating dozens of grief-stricken families out of thousands of dollars for headstones they failed to deliver. Tunis and Georganne Selby were arrested this week and charged with felony conversion and obtaining property by false pretense, Monroe police said. The couple, who ran a company called Memorial Design Concepts, was accused of swindling 34 families out of $64,000 for the monuments, FOX46 Charlotte reported.”

By | 2018-04-16T10:54:14+00:00 April 19th, 2018|

How to Deal With Signs of Sundown Syndrome  “Sundown syndrome is a term that describes the onset of confusion and agitation that generally affects people with dementia or cognitive impairment and usually strikes around sunset. Many people, though, use the term to loosely describe increased agitation and confusion that can occur anytime but may be more noticeable in the late afternoon or early evening.”

By | 2018-04-16T09:51:33+00:00 April 18th, 2018|

‘Hero’ Humbolt Broncos player taken off life support, to donate organs

FOX News:  “The family of a Humbolt Broncos hockey player who was on a bus when it slammed into a semitrailer in western Canada– killing 15– said he was taken off life support and his organs will be donated, The Global News reported. Logan Boulet, 21, a defenseman, was put on life-support on Saturday and his family said his organs would be harvested and six matches have been found.”

By | 2018-04-16T09:44:43+00:00 April 17th, 2018|

A Woman in Life, but a Man After Death: Protecting the Postmortem Identities of Transgender Individuals

Westlaw:  “Contemplating death is not a pleasant experience for most people. However, for the transgender community, it is becoming increasingly more important to consider from an estate planning perspective. Throughout their lives, transgender people face numerous challenges regarding their identities. These challenges can continue after a transgender individual’s death if he or she is not buried according to their gender identity. Transgender individuals run the risk of having their surviving family members bury them in an undignified manner if the transgender individual passes away without specifically documenting instructions for their burial.”

By | 2018-04-16T09:36:30+00:00 April 16th, 2018|

Rudy Giuliani’s Third Wife Files for Divorce

TMZ: Rudy Giuliani and his wife, Judith, are heading for splitsville after 15 years of marriage … TMZ has confirmed. The former Mayor of NYC and his wife tied in the knot in 2003, but Judith filed paperwork to end the matrimony … and it appears she’s ready to battle over their assets because she reportedly filed a contested divorce proceeding in Manhattan Supreme Court.”

By | 2018-04-09T10:34:14+00:00 April 13th, 2018|

This Estate Has $2 Million Worth of Trees

Bloomberg Pursuits:  “Art dealer W. Graham Arader specializes in antique maps, books, and prints, and he has a side interest in antique houses. “I own the seventh-oldest house in San Francisco,” he says, “I own the only pristine beaux-arts mansion on Madison Avenue, and I own George Washington’s home in Virginia.” Also in his possession is a 19th century Victorian house in Nyack, N.Y. Arader bought the home, roughly a 40-minute drive from Manhattan, for about $6 million in 2005. “I bought it for the beauty of the house,” he says. “I’m an art dealer. I like things that are beautiful, plus I bought it for my seven children to use on the weekends.”

By | 2018-04-09T09:40:44+00:00 April 10th, 2018|

Is Spousal Support Available After Death?

JDSUPRA:  “Perhaps encouraged by the recent decision in Marasse Estate, we have another recent case from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench addressing an estate’s ability to claim spousal support and its liability to pay spousal support.  Stalzer v Stalzer, 2018 ABQB 191 is reassurance to estate planning and family law practitioners that a person’s obligation to pay spousal support to their deceased ex-spouse’s estate is not a general rule of law and was specific to the drafting of the various agreements in play in Marasse.”

By | 2018-04-09T09:43:44+00:00 April 9th, 2018|