Estate Planning Blog

Drinking Too Much—or Not at All—May Be Linked to Dementia

Psychology Today: Both drinking excessively in midlife and abstaining from alcohol entirely were associated with an increased risk of later dementia in a long-term study of more than 9,000 adults. The study is an important step for better understanding risk factors for dementia, experts say, but they caution that it may be too early to make sweeping statements about alcohol’s effect on the agingbrain.”

By |2018-08-13T11:21:32+00:00August 17th, 2018|

Man accused of killing family wants his trust fund

The Washington Post:  “A Vermont man accused by relatives of killing his millionaire grandfather and his mother to collect inheritance money asked a Connecticut probate judge Tuesday to allow him immediate access to $150,000 in a family trust so he can pay for legal expenses. Nathan Carman also requested that his aunt, Valerie Santilli, be removed as trustee of the Nathan Carman Family Trust, a fund that was set up for him by his grandfather in 2011 and is worth about $270,000 today, according to court documents. Judge Owen Eagan set a full hearing date of Sept. 6 and gave Carman, who is representing himself, and Santilli’s lawyers time to question witnesses and exchange documents.”

By |2018-08-13T11:18:28+00:00August 16th, 2018|

You May Have Signed a Living Will, but Scary Mistakes can Happen at the ER

The Washington Post: Don’t resuscitate this patient; he has a living will,” the nurse told the doctor, Monica Williams-Murphy, handing her a document. Williams-Murphy looked at the sheet bearing the signature of the unconscious 78-year-old man, who had been rushed from a nursing home to the emergency room. “Do everything possible,” it read, with a check approving cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The nurse’s mistake was based on a misguided belief that living wills automatically include “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders. Working quickly, Williams-Murphy revived the patient, who had a urinary tract infection and recovered after a few days in the hospital. Unfortunately, misunderstandings involving documents meant to guide end-of-life decision-making are “surprisingly common,” said Williams-Murphy, medical director of advance-care planning and end-of-life education for Huntsville Hospital Health System in Alabama.”

By |2018-08-13T11:15:24+00:00August 15th, 2018|

Gray Divorce Boom: A Retirement Train Wreck

Financial Advisor:  “It’s happening more and more among baby boomer couples. While divorce rates overall have leveled off, and have even begun to decline among some demographics, they’ve risen among Americans over 50 years of age, with approximately 25% of the divorces today occurring among couples who are 50 and older. According to a 2015 New York Times story, the chances of an adult over 50 divorcing doubled between 1990 and 2014, and the jump was even higher for those over 65. When couples divorce in their 50s, 60s and 70s, there is less time to recover from the experience—not only emotionally, but financially. The marriage may be decades old, or it may be a second or even third marriage of shorter length.”

By |2018-08-13T10:58:55+00:00August 14th, 2018|

Want to ‘age in place’? Make Sure Your Home has These 6 Things.

The Washington Post:  Planning to stay in your home well into your golden years? Doing some renovations before you retire can help make your house more accessible and safe for your life ahead. Nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures with AARP Public Policy Institute. However, many people make the mistake of waiting too long to make renovations that facilitate aging, says Marianne Cusato, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture. “You don’t wait until you have mobility issues to make changes to your house,” she says.

By |2018-08-13T10:31:59+00:00August 13th, 2018|

Vinnie Paul Leaves Most Of His Estate To His Best Friend And His Longtime Girlfriend  “According to TMZ, Vinnie Paul Abbott left the bulk of his estate to to his best friend and longtime girlfriend. TMZ obtained the document which outlines exactly how his estate should be divided following his sudden death last month, and Vinnie’s friend Charles Jones will get 38% while the drummer’s girlfriend, Chelsey Yeager, will walk away with 37%. The rest is split between Vinnie’s tour manager (10%), drum tech (5%), producer (5%) and friend (5%). In addition, Vinnie is giving his interest in his brother and PANTERA co-founder “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott’s estate to Dimebag’s longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney. The PANTERA and HELLYEAH drummer was buried on June 30 next to his brother and their mother, Carolyn, at Moore Memorial Gardens cemetery in Arlington, Texas.”

By |2018-08-06T16:32:09+00:00August 10th, 2018|

Family Affair: Potential Problems with Family-Owned Businesses

Ward and Smith:  “Some of the most heartbreaking situations we see in our closely-held business and estate practices are families torn apart over differences in dealing with family-owned businesses. When there are problems with family-owned businesses, people tend to think with their hearts, rather than their brains, and often take unreasonable positions that are counterproductive to reaching a satisfactory resolution.  Often, the personal relationships among the family members continue to suffer until the business issues have been resolved, and even for a long time afterwards.”

By |2018-08-06T16:26:39+00:00August 9th, 2018|

‘You’re getting nothing’: Steve Jobs’ daughter pens sad memoir about their often brutal relationship

SFGate:  “Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, has published an excerpt from her upcoming memoir “Small Fry” — and it contains heartbreaking details about her difficult relationship with her father. This is the first time Brennan-Jobs has written in depth about her father, who initially denied paternity and refused to pay child support payments to her mother Chrisann Brennan. Jobs died in 2011 aged 56 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”


By |2018-08-06T15:41:48+00:00August 8th, 2018|

Prince’s Estate Files Lawsuit Over Cybersquatting of

ABA Journal:  “The estate of the late recording artist and actor Prince is suing an Englewood, New Jersey-based domain broker for cybersquatting the website. Filed last Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the suit alleges that Domain Capital is infringing on the estate’s “PRINCE” trademark by owning the domain.”

By |2018-08-06T14:55:20+00:00August 7th, 2018|

Your Money: How to deal With the Paperwork Scramble After a Spouse Dies

Reuters:  “When you are grieving a departed spouse, the last thing you want to think about is changing the title to your car. Same goes for your house, your bank accounts, the retirement account you are inheriting and anything else of value that now belongs solely to you. Married couples have a certain ease when it comes to inheritance rules, often leaving everything to each other in a mostly unfettered manner. Many people have what estate lawyers call “sweetheart” or “I love you” wills, which means that spouses leave all of their worldly possessions to each other. That is all good when one’s spouse passes away. The survivor, however, is left with a mess of details to sort through, because there is now only one name on all of those joint accounts, and that can cause problems for heirs down the road.

By |2018-08-06T14:24:36+00:00August 6th, 2018|

Having a Baby Changes Everything: Guardianship Considerations for Parents Creating Wills

SmithAmundsen:  “Once couples have children, they are eager to get a plan in place for who will take guardianship of their children. Having children and not having a will or a selected guardian means parents are left to worry about what would happen in the event of their untimely death. For example, if both parents die, leaving no will, and minor children, any money the parents had will pass to the children. For children under the age of 18, the court would then need to supervise any money the children inherit in a conservatorship. “

By |2018-07-30T14:34:37+00:00August 3rd, 2018|

Son claims his wealthy, reclusive and ill elderly father was pressured into leaving millions to a boarding school prior to freezing to death in his $10M New York City townhouse

Daily Mail:  “A court battle is underway over a wealthy and reclusive man’s estate after it was revealed that he left the bulk of his millions to the boarding school he went to as a teen. Peter Knoll, 75, was found dead in his multimillion-dollar Upper East Side, New York City townhouse on January 8, after having died several days prior. A medical examiner declared that he had frozen to death and it was later revealed that he had been living without gas hooked up in his home since 2014. According to the executor of his estate, Peter’s 2017 will declared that each of his three children would receive just $50,000, while his grandchildren were allotted $100,000. Select friends and acquaintances were to receive anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000. “

By |2018-07-30T14:09:16+00:00August 2nd, 2018|

Five Estate Planning Tips that Remain Relevant Regardless of Shifting Political Winds

Wealth  “There are important estate planning techniques that aren’t directly affected by legislation and changes in tax law, but that can still make a big impact on wealth preservation. From regularly updating a will to consistently moving assets off a balance sheet, here are five estate planning items that should be added to your client’s to-do list. Schedule Routine (Estate Planning) Checkups Make sure clients regularly update their health care documents and wills. Ask clients to consider whether the individuals named in their documents are still appropriate.”

By |2018-07-30T13:04:16+00:00August 1st, 2018|

Millennials Marry When Both Partners Are Financially Secure

Financial Advisor:  “Although millennials are marrying at lower rates than young people have in the past, they are still taking economic factors into account when choosing mates, according to a U.S. Census Bureau paper. The report also suggests that with today’s hardships on millennials, a woman’s earning power is as much of an attractive feature as a man’s when young people decide to get married. “Although most people claim to marry for love and not economic reasons, research nonetheless shows that economic security is considered a ‘prerequisite’ for marriage in modern times,” said Dr. Benjamin Gurrentz, writing for the bureau’s Social, Economic And Housing Statistics Division.”

By |2018-07-30T12:58:05+00:00July 31st, 2018|

Glen Campbell’s Children Have Right to Contest Wills That Cut Them Off Inheritance

Tennessean:  “A Nashville judge has ruled that three children of the late Glen Campbell have a right to contest the validity of two wills that cut them off from any inheritance from the late singer. In a three-page ruling issued this week, Davidson Probate Judge David Randy Kennedy concluded that the three children have standing to contest wills dated Sept. 1, 2006 and Jan. 7, 2001. Travis, Kelli and Wesley Campbell had petitioned the court to certify that a will contest existed. The three were left out of both wills.”

By |2018-07-30T11:38:03+00:00July 30th, 2018|

Executors Can Count On Long, Arduous Estate Settlements

Financial Advisor:  “If your client is the executor of a family estate, you can warn him or her it will take an average of 800 hours—that’s 20 full workweeks—to settle most estates. That is, if it doesn’t get bogged down in a battle over an amethyst ring or Green Bay Packers tickets, said EstateExec, a company based in the San Francisco area that creates software for estate executors. It takes an average of 16 months to settle an estate, no matter the size, according to an EstateExec survey of 1,200 people involved in estate settlements. For 80 percent of estates, it takes 800 hours of work by the executor to settle, the survey said, and nearly half, 44 percent, of those surveyed were part of, or were at least aware of, family conflicts that erupted in the settlement process.”

By |2018-07-16T13:35:24+00:00July 20th, 2018|

Aligning Client Lifestyle, Dreams And Legacy Goals With Wealth Objectives

Private Wealth:  “Wealth management firms typically emphasize applying a personal touch in how they serve clients, driven by a sincere concern for their well-being, and a desire to build long-term relationships. And to a significant extent, the industry has delivered solutions that work for both clients in the mass market, generally defined as individuals and households with below $1 million in net worth, and to the upper echelons of the high net worth, broadly defined as those who have more than $20 million in net worth. The former is usually supported by a spectrum of small, independent financial advisor businesses, while the latter continues to be dominated by an assortment of white shoe family offices and Wall Street institutions. But this also means there is an “overlooked millionaire” segment of the wealth management market, comprised of individuals and families with between $2 million to $20 million in net worth, who have more complex needs than the mass market, but simply aren’t worth the time and attention of the top players in the industry.

By |2018-07-16T12:49:01+00:00July 19th, 2018|

Are Your Kids Heading off to College? Consider Setting Up A Power of Attorney

SmithAmundsen:  “The summer before I went off to college, my dad made me sign a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.  My dad was a lawyer and I was his third child, so he knew that in order to talk to the university and find out my grades, he needed a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.  My mom also insisted upon me signing a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, so that in the event of a medical emergency she and my dad would be able to talk to the doctor and hospitals and make medical decisions for me. I did not realize then that when an individual turns 18, they are an adult and presumed to be capable of making their own financial and health care decisions. Although I was a responsible 18 year old, as a college Freshman I was not prepared to make many financial decisions or even understand what doctors were telling me, so I really appreciated my parent’s help. The powers of attorney came in handy when I spent my junior year abroad.  My parents were able to help me when I had some issues with my scholarship in the United States, and were able to talk to airlines about my flights and to the credit card company about suspicious charges.”

By |2018-07-16T12:38:53+00:00July 18th, 2018|

Protecting Your Pets: How to Make Financial Provisions in a Will or Trust

Fiduciary Trust International:  “For many people, pets aren’t property—they are members of the family in every sense of the word; providing emotional support, protection and comfort in good times and bad. In return, we give them shelter, affection and a significant amount of financial support. According to a Harris Poll survey, Americans spend an average of nearly $1,500 on essentials such as food, grooming, boarding and trips to the veterinarian’s office for their pets each year. Horses are the most expensive at roughly $13,000 a year. But making financial provisions for a pet who outlives you hasn’t always been possible, at least not formally. Trusts were designed originally to benefit humans or charity, not animals.”

By |2018-07-16T12:24:01+00:00July 17th, 2018|

Two Men Claiming to be Charles Manson’s Sons Eliminated From Fight Over Estate

Daily Mail:  “A Los Angeles judge has eliminated two purported sons of Charles Manson from the battle over his estate. Matthew Lentz, a musician who claims Manson conceived him at an orgy in 1967, and Michael Brunner, whose mother was a member of the family, were two of four people fighting over the cult leader’s estate. On Friday, Judge Clifford Klein eliminated them on lack of proof that they were the rightful heirs to all memorabilia or, crucially, his image and publishing rights.”

By |2018-07-16T12:13:05+00:00July 16th, 2018|

Having a Baby Changes Everything: Guardianship Considerations For Parents Creating Wills

JDSupra:  “Once couples have children, they are eager to get a plan in place for who will take guardianship of their children. Having children and not having a will or a selected guardian means parents are left to worry about what would happen in the event of their untimely death. For example, if both parents die, leaving no will, and minor children, any money the parents had will pass to the children. For children under the age of 18, the court would then need to supervise any money the children inherit in a conservatorship. This involves an attorney filing to have someone be appointed a conservator, and the conservator having to work with the court to manage the money, including the court having to approve any expenditures for the child.

By |2018-07-09T12:40:26+00:00July 12th, 2018|

Businesses Require Proper Estate Planning

Brooklyn Trust and WIll:  “While many people associate the process of estate planning with retirement and owning significant value in assets, the fact of the matter is that quite the contrary is actually true. Estate planning by definition is the process of preparing for the transfer of wealth after death, so if you own anything of value, estate planning becomes necessary if you wish to pass on your assets to any beneficiaries. Further, estate planning becomes particularly necessary if you own a business, as the law may not always coincide with your intentions regarding passing on ownership of the business after your passing.”

By |2018-07-09T12:05:07+00:00July 11th, 2018|

How Anthony Bourdain’s Estate Plan Reflected The Two Most Important Parts Of His Life

Forbes:  “Ever since his untimely death, the press and the public hasn’t been able to get enough of Anthony Bourdain. His name caused another commotion this week when his will was probated in New York. The New York Post’s Page Six headline read “Anthony Bourdain Worth Only $1.21M at the Time of His Death.” Social media responded immediately as the actual dollar amount just didn’t seem right.  How could Bourdain’s net worth be so much less than the public previously speculated? While a man’s worth is quite subjective, Bourdain, by all accounts, was an American success story. Though he often admitted that he’d lived paycheck to paycheck well into his 40s, by having an estate valued in excess of $1 million, Bourdain could be considered in the top 3% of all Americans in terms of wealth. In his case, the estate plan reflected two interesting aspects of the man and what he truly valued.

By |2018-07-09T11:16:20+00:00July 10th, 2018|

What Happens to Your Points and Miles After You Die?

The Points Guy:  “On Friday, it was revealed that celebrated chef and traveler Anthony Bourdain left his “accumulated frequent flyer miles” to his wife Ottavia Busia. They separated in 2016, but the divorce was not yet finalized upon Bourdain’s death, meaning she will still serve as executor of the estate. Bourdain’s estate was valued at $1.2 million, considerably smaller than you might anticipate given his appearances across current pop culture, though apparently he had additional assets in trust. But his will brings up the question of whether you’re allowed to gift property that technically isn’t yours, which is what airline points and miles are according the vast majority of loyalty program terms and conditions.”

By |2018-07-09T11:00:12+00:00July 9th, 2018|

Lisa Marie Presley Sues Money Manager, Claims MisManagement of $100 Million Trust Fund

Daily Mail:  “Lisa Marie Presley’s ex-money manager paid himself an annual salary of more than $700,000 – while he was losing her $100 million fortune, Elvis’s daughter claims. Barry Siegel ‘enriched himself with exorbitant fees’, blasts 50-year-old Presley in new court documents filed at Los Angeles Superior Court in her lawsuit against Siegel and his company, Provident Financial Management. She is accusing Siegel and his firm of running the $100 million trust fund her father set up for her ‘into the ground’ to just $14,000 by ‘reckless and negligent’ investments – the largest investment being in American Idol’s holding company which ended up going bankrupt.”

By |2018-06-25T16:40:40+00:00June 27th, 2018|

Heather Mack settles claims for mother’s estate four years after killing her with her boyfriend – and all the money left will go to her daughter Stella, 3

Daily Mail:  “‘Body In A Suitcase’ murderer Heather Mack has given up her claim on her mother’s million dollar estate – which will now go to her three-year-old daughter Stella. Mack is serving a ten year sentence in one of the world’s most notorious prisons in Bali for murdering her mom Sheila von Wiese-Mack with her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer in 2014 in a plot to take her inheritance.”

By |2018-06-25T16:04:54+00:00June 26th, 2018|

The Rich Are Betting On Living to 100

Bloomberg:  Money might not buy love, but it can buy better health. And, to live as long as possible, the world’s wealthy are willing to pay up. Over the past few decades, the average person’s lifespan has risen almost everywhere in the world. In China, the U.S. and most of Eastern Europe, the average life expectancy at birth has reached the late 70s, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. People in Western Europe and Japan, meanwhile, can expect to live into their early 80s. Most rich people, however, are counting on living even longer—a lot longer, as in two decades more than average. In a new UBS Financial Services survey, 53 percent of wealthy investors said they expected to live to 100.

By |2018-06-25T15:08:11+00:00June 25th, 2018|

Thirteen Estate Planning Tips for Beneficiaries with Special Needs  “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, individuals 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.

Planning for Beneficiaries with Special Needs

While the development of an estate plan can be difficult for any family, for a family of an individual with a disability, the planning, as with all things, has added complexity. Primary caretakers of a loved one with a disability routinely wonder who’ll care for, love and financially support their family member when they’re gone.”

By |2018-06-18T13:53:28+00:00June 22nd, 2018|

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain And Estate Planning When You Are Separated

Forbes:  “The recent tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had more in common than how they died. They were both separated from their spouses at the time of their deaths.  While by all accounts these separations were amicable, the fact that they were not legally divorced can lead to a host of estate planning issues. When spouses decide to divorce, the usual framework is a process involving attorneys and the court system. But as modern family life is complex, it is becoming more common for spouses to remain permanently separated yet not divorced.  It’s a state of gray that many feel comfortable in. Unfortunately for both family law and estate law, it’s a hard place to be. Just how many couples in the U.S. permanently separate versus divorce is not clear. Most researchers find the U.S. divorce rate hovers somewhere between 42% to 45%. However, when permanent separations are factored in, it is estimated that the rate is really 50%.”

By |2018-06-18T13:11:23+00:00June 21st, 2018|