March 2012 News: New York Estate Planning News

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March 2012 Archives

Setting Up a New York Disability Trust Not a Bad Idea

If you have a disabled child or family member who will need special care in the event of your passing away, you should consider setting up a special needs trust, as described by the researchers at FindLaw.

Special needs trusts are made specifically for the benefit of disabled or mentally ill beneficiaries. These beneficiaries lack the mental capacity to manage their own finances. The trust is created with the specific needs, lifestyle, and future of the beneficiary in mind. Often times these special needs trusts are used to ensure that the beneficiaries don’t lose government benefits they are receiving.

Zsa Zsa Gabor Conservatorship Fight Between Husband and Daughter

Zsa Zsa Gabor’s daughter is filing for an independent conservatorship of her mother to help with Zsa Zsa’s medical and financial needs, reports The Associated Press.

Constance Francesca Hilton’s argument is that 95-year-old Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband, Frederic von Anhalt, has been isolating Zsa Zsa. Constance Francesca Hilton is willing to be the conservator; or, she would accept an independent conservatorship.

Charitable Deduction: Harvard Gift Is Worth $30 Million Dollars

Big time Boston businessman Joseph J. O'Donnell and his wife Kathy, just donated $30 million dollars to Harvard University, reports The Boston Globe. The gift is totally unrestricted, so Harvard can do with whatever it wants.

Joseph J. O'Donnell went to undergrad at Harvard and later earned an MBA there. He is the founder of Boston Culinary Group Inc and Belmont Capital LLC.

Ten Million Dollar Degas Ballerina The Key To Huguette Clark Will?

The details of late heiress Huguette Clark's millions have been considerable fodder for New York estate planning attorneys, as well as those who just follow the news, as previously discussed by FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News Blog.

The story has been sensationalized partly because of how much Huguette Clark was worth (about $400 million) and partly because there are so many twists and turns to the story. But now it is looking like a painting might be the proof that leads a court to conclude that Clark really did mean to exclude her family from her will.

Information On New York Tangible Personal Property Memoranda

A New York tangible personal property memorandum or direction (abbreviated as TPPM) is a separate handwritten document that is incorporated into the will by reference, is dated, and contains lists of tangible personal property (e.g., jewelry, artwork, furniture) and the people you want the property to go to, explain the researchers at FindLaw.

In short, a TPPM it is a good way of specifically identifying, by name, who gets what.

However, there are some limits to TPPMs. For instance, you should be very careful about one thing. You should not use it to give money, real property, stocks and bonds, etc. Such items should pass through your will. This should answer the question of what can be given in a TPPM.

Australian Billionaire Says Kids Not Fit For Inheritance

Gina Rinehart, an Australian billionaire, has concluded that her children are not fit for an inheritance, reports The Wall Street Journal. And she's using the Australian legal system to make sure that they don't get anything. Obviously the children are fighting back.

Rinehart, who ironically inherited the fortune from her father, says that none of her children have held a real job and that the children are "manifestly unsuitable" to managing the money of the growing HPPL Group, which she owns.

So will her children be able to fight back successfully?

Disinheriting a Spouse? Try Not To Die Before Divorce is Final

When married to one another, husbands and wives usually make wills in which they leave everything to one another. But this can become tricky when you decide to get divorced, because now you have to essentially "disinherit" the person you are no longer married to.

Obviously, you would want to carry out this disinheriting of your ex-spouse as soon as possible, because what happens if you die and your now ex ends up controlling a large portion of your estate?

That could be especially annoying to your soul, not to mention your other beneficiaries.

Bob Marley's Billion Dollar Estate

Considered one of the greatest singers of the 20th century, Bob Marley, who sang about the oppressed and freedom, also left behind a lot for lawyers to discuss. Specifically, Bob Marley's billion dollar estate gave rise to a whole lot of litigation, family feuds, and estate planning problems, which became the subject of the work of legal scholar Christopher Ogolla from Texas Southern University School of Law.

Issues related to Bob Marley's estate also persist in the area of intellectual property rights and revenues, with the estate having sued a major music label over receipts, reports Hollywood Reporter. At issue was the underpayment of digital downloads.

Whitney Houston's Will Revealed: Bobbi Kristina Left Everything

The late Whitney's Houston's will is being reported on and it has been learned that Whitney left everything to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, reports The Associated Press.

At the current time no mention of assets has been made, but everything from furniture, to clothing, to jewelry and cars, will reportedly go to Bobbi Kristina, who is Whitney's only child.

It is also revealed that Whitney Houston's money will be put in a trust and Bobbi Kristina will get some of it when she turns 21, some of it at age 25, and the rest when she turns 30.

Will Mets Owe Money to Bernie Madoff Trustee

A trustee recovering money for Bernie Madoff's investors is trying to get $83 million from the New York Mets, reports The Associated Press. The trustee is actually looking to try and get $300 million.

The trustee, Irving Picard, is tasked with trying to get repayment for thousands of investors.

The reason that the New York Mets are actually on the hook to pay for Bernie Madoff's crimes is because it was ruled that the Mets owners "willfully blinded" themselves to Madoff's fraud to get more money. The judge on the case is the well-known Jed S. Rakoff.

The Mets owners, meanwhile, are planning on trying to fight Judge Rakoff's ruling.

The very rich billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, who are very involved with libertarian politics, are suing the influential libertarian think tank, Cato Institute, and it’s all about estate law, reports Washington Post.

It is not totally rare for big estates and politics (especially Republican politics) to overlap, as we learned with the Mitt Romney dynasty trust issue, reported on FindLaw’s New York Estate Planning Law Blog.

Requirements of a New York Lifetime Trust

A living trust, or "inter vivos" trust, is a trust that is created by the grantor during the grantor's lifetime, rather than upon the grantor's death.

Living trusts are designed to avoid probate proceedings. Probate simply refers to the court-administered process of paying debts and distributing property to heirs upon one's death. This is a very timely and costly process. Heirs can often expect to wait months before receiving anything, and by the time they do, the assets have been diminished significantly by court costs and attorney's fees.

Other common reasons to create a living (also called a lifetime) trust include reducing taxes, ensuring financial privacy, and regulating the use of assets (in case the owner becomes incapacitated).