Wills

News & Analysis as of

Who Would Inherit Darth Vader’s Estate?

Who would be the beneficiary of the estate of Darth Vader? The answer is more than just an exercise in Star Wars fiction; in fact, the answer can teach us important lessons about estate disputes in our real world....more

Wealth Management Update - September 2016

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

Is Your Will Up to Date? - Trusts and Estates Update Volume 2016, Issue 1

Once again, a celebrity dies, and people are shocked that he died without a will. Just this past April, after the death of the well-known artist Prince, we learned that he did not have a will, and controversy is swirling...more

Court Affirms Dismissal Of Will Contest Based On Public Policy Arguments Arising From Sexual Abuse Allegations

In Merrick v. Helter, a daughter who accused her father of sexual abuse attempted to void her father’s will based on public policy grounds. No. 03-14-00708-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8966 (Tex. App.—Austin August 18, 2016, no...more

Court Interprets Will’s Residuary Clause To Create A Determinable Fee Simple Estate

In In re Estate of Morgenroth, a mother died testate with a will that gave specific devises to her two children, a son and daughter. No. 05-15-00777-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 7857 (Tex. App.—Dallas July 25, 2016, no pet....more

Court Grants Mandamus Relief To Void Order Naming An Executor More Than Three Years After Admitting Will To Probate As A Muniment...

In In re Squyres, in 2012, Baker filed with the probate court an application to probate a will as a muniment of title. No. 01-16-00236-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8509 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] August 9, 2016, no pet....more

Still Haven’t Prepared a Will? You Could be Leaving A Mess for your Spouse/Partner

Statistics show that more than 50% of Americans die without having a Last Will and Testament. People tend to put off this important planning because they are either procrastinators (“I’ll worry about it later!”) or...more

The write stuff: A letter of instructions

When drafting an estate plan, the centerpiece is a will or living trust. Such a document determines who gets what, where, when and how, as well as tying up the loose ends of an estate. A valid will or living trust can be...more

Insight on Estate Planning - August/September 2016

In This Issue: - Alternate valuation date: Flexible postmortem planning a plus when markets are volatile - The write stuff: A letter of instructions - Making the most of your GST tax exemption - Estate...more

Why Every Parent in Alberta Should Have a Will

As a young, healthy parent, you may believe that having a Will is the last thing on a long priority list. However, while a Will is vital for everyone, those with children should be particularly mindful of the primary...more

Court Voided Judgment Based On Family Settlement Agreement Where Party Revoked Consent

In In re Estate of Spiller, a party appealed an order admitting a will to probate and ordering the independent administrator to distribute the estate in accordance with a family settlement agreement. No. 04-15-00449-CV, 2016...more

Napkin Theory Saves the Day [Florida]

Renee established and funded a revocable trust, with charitable residuary beneficiaries at her death. The trust was revocable, but it did not provide a method for revocation. Four years later, Renee prepared a will that...more

Court Affirms A Rule 202 Pre-Suit Deposition Order In A Will Contest And Discusses The Acceptance-Of-The-Benefits Doctrine

In In re Meeker, individuals sought a mandamus to reverse a trial court’s order granting a Rule 202 pre-suit deposition order. No. 02-16-00103-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 6883 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth June 29, 2016, original...more

Unfulfilled Expectations: May an Intended (and Disappointed) Beneficiary Sue a Will’s Drafter?

Imagine the following scenario.  Your elderly mother, your only surviving parent, wants to have a discussion with you about her estate plan.  She shows you her will and explains her intentions.  You look at the will and it...more

Court Reverses A Probate Order Requiring An Executor To Distribute Real Property Free Of Any Liens

In In re Estate of Heider, a probate court ordered that an executor should distribute real property to a beneficiary free of liens. No. 05-14-00436-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 5978 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 6, 2016, no pet....more

The Unintended Consequences of Not Having an Estate Plan

Nobody likes to think about death, but failing to plan for it can cause unintended consequences for loved ones. Prompted by the death of Prince, a client recently came to see me. He had read in the news that heirs to...more

McNees Insights – Estate Planning - June Newsletter

Education Tax Credits - There are two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education: the American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit. Tax credits are more favorable than...more

How Non-Probate Assets Can Affect Your Estate Plan: A Few Cautionary Tales

When you think about the control of your possessions and assets after your death, you probably think of a Will and probate. A Will is a written, legally enforceable declaration that states how you wish your assets to be...more

Tax Law Blog: More Issues for Prince's Lack of Estate Planning

I’m not typically one to follow pop culture, but in the case of Prince’s lack of an estate plan, I’m following closely how this can serve as an example of how not to do your estate plan. An earlier post discussed the...more

Trial & Heirs: 5 Estate Planning Stumbling Blocks

Last month, Prince died at the ripe young age of 57. He had no will, as reported by his only full sibling (a sister). She filed for probate of his estate in Minnesota, where he owned a home in Paisley Park. Under Minnesota...more

Are You Still Partying Like It’s 1999?

Most of us prefer to do those things that are fun and tend to procrastinate as to things that are the more mundane and that are not so interesting or exciting. Does that describe you?...more

Planning for the $5-$10 Million Couple: Portability or Credit Shelter?

In 2009, each individual had a $3.5 million estate tax exemption. If a married individual had assets over $3.5 million, without careful planning, those assets in excess of $3.5 million would fall subject to a 45% estate tax....more

Four Lessons Learned from Prince’s Estate (So Far)

Several of the events surrounding the initial administration of Prince’s estate provide lessons applicable to all estate plans, not just celebrity estate plans. If You Don’t Have an Estate Plan, the State Will Write...more

Recent Changes in Testamentary Capacity Rules

Estate planners and litigators face new challenges in light of recent developments in case law and statutory changes affecting the law of testamentary capacity. Gone are the simple rules that estate planners have used for...more

Estate Planning Litigation Attorney | When a Will May Not be the Way

We read in the Bible the parable of a rich man who had the problem of figuring out what to do with all of the goods he had accumulated. He determined to build larger barns to store all that he had. However, God told the man...more

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