Last Week in Estate Planning (August 28 to September 3, 2011)

September 6, 2011
2518472842 8975888ba7 m1 Last Week in Estate Planning (August 28 to September 3, 2011)

Now that all the earthquakes, hurricanes, and back-to-school preparations appear to be out of the way, we can get back to some good ol’ estate planning reading!

Much of last week’s best works seem to have come from traditional media resources.  Take a look:

Top Posts and Articles of the Week

Post of the Week

Contrived Probate Disputes Unlikely Topic in “Proper Estate Planning” Discussions, Estate of Denial.

  • I disagree with the tenor of this post.  It bashes people who challenge wills and also the legal system that enables them.  It’s admittedly jaded view colors the estate administration process as one that provides “lucrative revenue streams” for challengers, evidences the “self-interested, protectionist nature of the legal industry”, and victimizes even the most brilliant of estate planning experts. 
  • However, the main message is sound.  The post warns that “proper estate planning” is not a complete safeguard against will challenges.  It illustrates several well-known instances where “frivolous” lawsuits have cost the rightful beneficiaries a great deal of time and money. 
  • I select this as the “Post of the Week” because I can appreciate the fresh, contrarian viewpoint, and the topic is not debated often.  However, I do fully intend to write more about these issues in a future post.

Honorable Mentions

Advancements 101: Handling Unequal Lifetime Gifts to Children & Advancements 101: Memorializing the Advancement, Joel Schoenmeyer, Esq., Death & Taxes.

  • An advancement is a gift given to an eventual beneficiary of the estate prior to the decedent’s death.  Should these gifts count against the beneficiary’s eventual inheritance?
  • Mr. Schoenmeyer summarizes the law surrounding advancements and provides some good ways to handle these gifts while you are still around.

Inherited IRAs – The Ins And Outs, Kyle Krull, Esq., Kansas & Missouri Estate Planning – citing 7 Steps to Take When Inheriting a Retirement Account, Liz Davidson,

Lemons to Lemonade, Gregory D. Singer, Trusts & Estates.

  • A very useful article explaining several financial and estate planning strategies you should consider in this economy.

Recent Florida Probate Case Illustrates Problems with DIY Wills, Jeramie Fortenberry, Esq., The Probate e-lawyer.

Revoking The Irrevocable?, Kyle Krull, Esq., Kansas & Missouri Estate Planning.

  • It takes some doing, but irrevocable trusts can be revised or even revoked in certain circumstances.

Taking Care of Disabled Heirs, Kelly Greene, The Wall Street Journal.

Using an Inheritance to Teach Your Problem Child a Lesson, Paul Sullivan, The New York Times.

  • Discusses ways that trusts can be used to influence a child’s behavior after the parents’ deaths.
  • If this looks appealing to you, consider that courts will not uphold any instructions in a trust that are against public policy (such as encouraging crime, forbidding marriage to someone of another race, etc.).


Bankruptcy Courts Agree – Inherited IRAs Exempt, Greg Herman-Giddens, Esq., North Carolina Estate Planning Blog.

  • A survey of recent caselaw on this topic.

PLR 201134017 on Income, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Tax Consequences of Trust Asset Transfers, Brian Spring, Wealth Strategies Journal.

  • “[F]ive rulings regarding a proposed transfer of assets from a trust, which is exempt from the generation-skipping tax, to a substantially similar trust.”

Using Information Surrogates in Trust Administration, Prof. Gerry Beyer, Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog – citing Agents in Secrecy: The Use of Information Surrogates in Trust Administration, Lauren Z. Curry, 64 Vand. L. Rev. 925.

  • The Uniform Trust Code (UTC) was created in hopes of creating uniformity amongst the states in regards to trust law.
  • However, in regards to the level of disclosure required to be given trust beneficiaries, no state has passed the UTC’s recommended section verbatim.
  • This law review article discusses the differing rules amongst the states and their effects on irrevocable trusts.  The author advocates the appointment of a surrogate to receive the relevant, yet otherwise private, trust information on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Please feel free to nominate any top estate planning posts or articles in the Comments section below.  Have a great week!

 Last Week in Estate Planning (August 28 to September 3, 2011)
 Last Week in Estate Planning (August 28 to September 3, 2011)


Scott R. Zucker, Esq. is the owner of The Zucker Law Firm PLLC, located just outside the Capital Beltway in Annandale, within five miles of the City of Fairfax, the county seat of beautiful Fairfax County, Virginia. The firm focuses mainly on estate planning services for Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania clientele, and seeks to do so in an affordable and approachable way. People interested in learning more can contact Scott by phone or email.

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