Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Insurance

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Fourth Circuit Rejects Widow’s Claim for Equitable Relief

The Fourth Circuit recently rejected fiduciary breach and equitable estoppel claims for life insurance coverage by Leslie Moon, the widow of a deceased employee, who claimed that the employer’s actions resulted in Mr. Moon’s...more

How to Fight a STOLI Scheme: Court Rulings Offer Clues

Two recent court decisions provide potential road maps for insurers in the fight against Stranger-Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) schemes. Ohio Nat’l Life Assurance Corp. v. Davis involved a STOLI scheme so obvious that...more

Idaho Unclaimed Property Rule: Insurers Must Confirm Whether Insureds Have Died

In a recently issued notice of rulemaking, the Idaho State Treasurer’s Office has proposed a temporary rule that, if permanently adopted, would alter two key definitional provisions in the state’s unclaimed property laws...more

"The Estate Planner" – July/August 2014

In this issue: - Net Gain For Taxpayers – Tax Court Approves Net Gift Strategy - Estate Planning For The Young And Affluent – How To Hedge Your Bets - Wealth Preserver – Use An ILIT To Shield Life...more

Life Insurance Unclaimed Property Litigation in 2014: Will Regulator Positions Withstand Judicial Scrutiny

Amidst ongoing multistate unclaimed property audits of many life insurers, and despite many regulatory settlements, the insurance industry and state regulators continue to disagree over the application of unclaimed property...more

Eighth Circuit Decisions Reminds Employers Of Importance Of Granting ERISA Plan Administrators Discretion To Interpret Plan Terms

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released an opinion which highlights the importance of ensuring ERISA plan documents grant plan administrators the discretion to construe and interpret the...more

ERISA 8th Circuit: Deciding Who Is The Beneficiary — The Abuse Of Discretion Standard Trumps The Substantial Compliance Doctrine

Sometimes determining the correct beneficiary for ERISA-governed life insurance benefits can present real challenges. Can the deceased’s will prove the deceased’s intent designating the correct beneficiary? It...more

Eighth Circuit: ERISA Plan Beneficiary Designation Trumps Will

The Eighth Circuit held that the named beneficiary of an ERISA governed life insurance policy was entitled to the proceeds even though the decedent’s will named a different beneficiary. Hall v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 2014 U.S....more

Is a quiet (silent) trust illusory?

Is a quiet or silent trust illusory? The question is intentionally ambiguous. Is the question whether the trust itself is illusory, or just its quietness? A quiet or silent trust has been defined as “an irrevocable trust...more

Ohio Court of Appeals Upholds Constructive Trust in Favor of Unnamed Beneficiaries

The Ohio Court of Appeals imposed a constructive trust over the proceeds of an ERISA governed life insurance policy for the benefit of the decedent’s children even though the children were not named beneficiaries of the...more

Interaction fo Trustee Indemnities and Liability Insurance

When a trustee is sued for breach of trust and claims against his professional indemnity insurers, questions often arise as to the extent to which the trustee must first pursue any other rights of indemnity (for example...more

Quebec Releases Draft Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan Regulations

On March 12, 2014, the Quebec government released draft regulations (pdf) that are required to complete the new legal framework for the establishment of voluntary retirement savings plans (VRSPs) in Quebec effective July 1,...more

Tennessee Insurance Legal News - January 2014 • Volume 3, Number 1

In This Issue: - ARBITRATION PROVISION WITHIN TENNESSEE’S UNINSURED MOTORIST STATUTE HELD NOT APPLICABLE TO INSURANCE POLICIES ISSUED AND DELIVERED OUTSIDE TENNESSEE: The Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed the...more

Wealth Management Update - January 2014

January Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The January § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

Plan sponsors should take stock of all plan amendments

I didn’t have such a wonderful time at law school because I felt the administration and much of the faculty weren’t honest when it came to the study of law and more importantly, our job opportunities. There was one law...more

Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans: Amendments and Other Year-End Action Items - 11/21/2013

Plan sponsors should consider whether they need to make certain plan amendments or provide certain plan notices prior to the end of the year. The end of the year marks the deadline by which sponsors of qualified...more

Staying Eligible for Medicaid after the Death of a Spouse

When one member of a couple moves to a nursing home, we expect that spouse will be the first to die, but this isn’t always the case. What happens if a Medicaid recipient's spouse dies first? If planning steps aren't taken,...more

Recent Court Decisions Concerning Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Can Assist Insurers in Defending Regulatory Audits and Future...

Perhaps the most significant litigation, regulatory and compliance issues facing life insurance companies can be found in the unclaimed property audits, multi-state regulatory settlements and class action lawsuits surrounding...more

Wealth Management Update - October 2013

The October § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs and GRATs is 2.4%. This is up from September's 2.0% rate. The applicable federal rate ("AFR") for use with a sale to a defective...more

The Power of Insurance Trusts to Maintain Family Business Assets and Sanity

Life insurance and irrevocable trusts are great tools to ease family business succession issues and mitigate exposure to shareholder oppression and disputes. Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILIT), in particular, play an...more

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Holds Structured Settlement Annuity Is Transfer for Less Than Fair Market Value Under the Deficit...

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s recent decision in the matter of Sams v. Department of Public Welfare may significantly affect the structured settlement industry, and the settlement of lawsuits on behalf of certain...more

Life Insurance Company that Filed Interpleader Action to Determine How to Proceed With Benefits Resulting From a Homicide is...

In Farmers New World Life Insurance Company v. Rees (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, Cal.App. 2 Dist., August 30, 2013), a California court of appeal considered whether a life insurance company that delayed paying benefits to the...more

Life Insurance Beneficiary Who Murdered Policyholder Is Not Entitled To Benefits

Applying the common law “slayer rule,” a federal district court in New York held that a beneficiary of an ERISA-governed life insurance plan forfeit his claim to insurance proceeds after he pled guilty to murdering the...more

Life Insurance After Divorce

During marriage, a very typical scenario is for spouses to name each other as the beneficiary to each person’s individual life insurance policy. Once a divorce is commenced, a beneficiary designation cannot be changed until...more

Courts Do Not Always Agree

I blogged recently about a decision from a federal district court in Virginia (Eastern District) involving a widow who sought to recover life insurance benefits from her late husband’s employer-sponsored group term life...more

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