Sunday, December 27, 2009
For more information on using the valuable estate planning tool of gifts, contact an estate planning attorney.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
In a follow-up to a recent post I had on the Iowa Law Blog, Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register recently updated the situation concerning a young girl's application for social security benefits as a result of her father's death. A federal judge has overturned the rejection of benefits and thus permits her to receive benefits. The article continues to point out that legislators are examining long overdue updates to the Iowa statute to address these types of situations. The Social Security Administration has until January 11, 2010 to appeal.The complexities that are involved in cases like this are challenging. A recent Probate Section meeting of the Iowa State Bar began to examine some of the issues and an approach to take with this issue. The discussion revealed that there is a split in the probate section as a result of numerous questions and possible approaches. Beyond the basic philosophical question of is this "right", there other other related matters beyond social security benefits. Can the father's wishes restrict future usage of his genetic material? Does he need to sign a written consent to authorize the use after his death? Should that consent be notarized? How far in the future will this material be permitted to be utilized? How will this impact settlement of estates and determination of heirs? How does this issue impact review of real property titles in abstract examinations?
I look forward to how the Iowa legislature approaches this issue in the spring and hopefully they consider all of the interrelated issues.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The judge found that the family fraudulently transferred their assets (even I called this one) to various family members and entities to produce the perception of a "penniless" defendant in order to avoid payment of the wrongful death judgment. The judgment goes beyond just Rodney Heemstra, and also included certain damages against Heemstra's son, an irrevocable trust, his sister, a limited liability partnership and his mother.
Fraudulent transfer statutes can, obviously, produce some harsh sanctions and may even include those involved in the transaction, even if they don't personally benefit. Asset protection is not the same thing as fraudulent transfer. Properly completed, asset protection may protect one's assets from judgment.
Friday, October 09, 2009
After John died, John's widow and John's brother did not see eye-to-eye, with each wanting John's one-half interest in the farmland. The trial court found, and the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed, that even though the land was not titled in the name of the partnership, the facts and circumstances clearly found that the land was meant to be partnership property and permitted John to purchase the land from the estate.
What does this mean? As a result, John's brother will be able to keep the farm that he inherited and he is not forced to split the farm with his sister-in-law or forced into some business relationship with her. Message to others? Formalize your business arrangements by putting your affairs in writing and establishing what happens in the event of your death. The Liike brothers did some written planning, but a little more thorough planning may have avoided this costly lawsuit.
Aren't families grand?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Despite the same result, social security administration has ruled that being conceived after death is not the same as being conceived before death of the biological parent. As a result, the child, who has her father's DNA and is in fact the biological daughter of her father, will not be able to reap the benefits of her father's social security benefits, as other children would, that he contributed to during his life.
Due to a split in the circuit courts, expect to see either this case or a similar case before the US Supreme Court in the future. Until then, the legislature should examine the definitions in light of changes in medical science.
Friday, June 19, 2009
This decision deferral, called a "Power of Appointment", is an effective estate planning tool. You can also limit how much discretion the appointee (person with the power) has so that they can't distribute it to someone that you have no intention of providing funds.