Friday, February 26, 2010

Jeffrey Burr Happenings

Attorney Jason Walker has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Association of Nevada. The FPA is the premier association for financial planning professionals. They provide a forum in which financial planning professionals can share ideas and resources and develop professionally.

As of January 2010, Attorney David Grant is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nevada State College Foundation.

Probate Legal Assistant Eliza Parry has created a team to raise funds and participate in the “Race for the Cure” to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its efforts to end breast cancer. If anyone is interested in joining Eliza’s team “Fired Up” and participating in the 5k walk/run on Saturday, May 1st, click here and choose “Join the Team.” If you are unable to participate but are interested in donating, click here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This week at Jeffrey Burr (2/22 - 2/26/10)

Wednesday, 2/24: Attorneys Jason Walker, David Grant, and Jeremy Cooper will be attending the Southern Nevada Estate Planning Council (SNEPC) meeting held at the Las Vegas Country Club. Lawrence Brody of Bryan Cave will be presenting on "What's Hot and What's Not in Sophisticated Insurance Planning-A Survey."

Thursday, 2/25: Attorney Jeremy Cooper is attending the Moskow Distinguished Speaker Series Breakfast at the UNLV Student Union-Room 208A.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More on the Handling of One's Remains

Often times with the passing of a loved one, handling the burial and final disposition of the loved one’s remains can become a point of contention if there has not previously been clear direction provided on how this is to be handled. In the absence of specific instruction, funeral homes may require a court order authorizing the disposition of the remains of a decedent. Also in the absence of clear instruction, parties may be at odds with how the remains are to be handled, thus, requiring court intervention and added expense and delay.

In light of these potential issues, it is important to note that Nevada state law allows an adult, while living, to execute an affidavit authorizing the burial of his or her remains at death. Specifically, NRS 451.024 provides a priority of individuals authorized to handle the burial of a decedent’s remains. Pursuant to NRS 451.024, the individual designated in the aforementioned affidavit has priority in handling the remains of the deceased loved one. Thereafter the statute specifies priority based on relationship to the decedent, e.g. spouse, adult son or daughter, parent, adult brother or sister, and so on and so forth. To avoid potential issues regarding the handling of a loved one’s remains, care should be taken ahead of time to include these arrangements as part of one’s estate plan so that this matter can be dealt with during life.

-Attorney Bob Morris

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cremation: Serious & Entertaining – “Wildcat Scattering”

My general and limited observation is that more and more people are selecting cremation for their end-of-life plans. As one might imagine, estate planning attorneys hear some interesting requests regarding cremation and the ultimate disposal of one’s ashes. Our office is no exception. Most requests are dignified and tasteful. Some are also very entertaining.

On a serious note: Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 451.655) provide that a person may order his or her own cremation and instructions for disposition by signing an order and having it signed by two additional witnesses. One can avoid delay by providing this order directly to a funeral home that is to provide the mortuary services. Our office incorporates this statutory requirement directly into the Last Will, but we have also provided, on occasion, a separate order for the funeral home in coordination with the statute referenced above.

In an effort to be tastefully entertaining, and divert my attention from the 2010 Federal estate tax repeal which recently is a frequent topic on our blog, I thought I would share some cremation myth and lore. Several years ago I remember reading on a blog that Disneyland was having frequent issue with people disposing of cremated loved ones on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride. (Keep your hands inside the ride at all times). Clients have instructed that we write up many specific instructions regarding scattering: mountain tops; beaches; rainforests; backyards; oceans; you name it, we have probably written it up in a Will. One particular client that I can recall instructed that his ashes be inserted into a number of helium balloons and that the balloons should be released into the wind. We usually make it clear that public scattering might technically be illegal and that permission should be obtained.

Just this week I read a Wall Street Journal article and discovered that the scattering of ashes without pre-permission has a name. It is known in the funeral industry as a “wildcat scattering.” I found the above article interesting and it had some good stories regarding some verified wildcat scatterings. Feel free to comment and share any stories or wishes you might have reagrding the distribution of your cremains.

-Attorney Jason Walker

This Week at Jeffrey Burr (2/16/10 - 2/10/10)

Wednesday, 2/17: Attorneys Jeremy Cooper and Jason Walker will be attending the Mormon Business Association Luncheon at the American Heritage Academy.

Wednesday, 2/17: Attorney David Grant will be Co-Hosting the Entrepreneur Life Radio Show from 1-2pm on AM 970. Click here to listen.

Thursday, 2/18: Attorney Jeremy Cooper will be attending the Nevada Society of CPAs Las Vegas Chapter Meeting at Lawrys. The topic is "Southern Nevada's Economic Outlook: The Challenges & Opportunities That Lie Ahead" presented by Kara Kelley, President & CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, 2/18: Attorneys Jeffrey L. Burr, David Grant, and Jeremy Cooper will be attending an open house sponsored by LL Bradford and Stable Development. The open house is celebrating the opening of their new office buildings which are located at the Corporate Center at the Curve (just inside the SW curve of I-215.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is Estate Tax Legislation Upon Us?

It appears as though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are in talks to negotiate a deal in which a bipartisan jobs bill and an estate tax bill would make their way through the Senate without much pushback from either side.

Word on the street is that Senator Reid's legislation would hit the floor just after the President's Day recess. While it's not entirely clear what type of compromise both sides will agree to, House Bill (HR 4154), which we reviewed last December when it was passed, is an option. Either way, it's reasonable to believe that the 2009 laws may be made permanent, but don't be surprised to see an indexed for inflation provision and possible portability at some point. Stay tuned.

-Attorney Jeremy Cooper

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Asset Protection in Nevada: a Diversion from the Current State of Estate Tax

In Nevada’s most recent legislative session, significant changes were made to NRS 166,Nevada’s statute governing asset protection trusts. We believe these changes, which became effective on October 1, 2009, further validate Nevada’s asset protection trusts, or Nevada On-shore Trusts (NOSTs), as legitimate and effective asset protection and wealth preservation tools.

Some highlights of the recent changes to the statute are as follows:

1. Confirmation that a settlor of a Asset Protection Trust has the right to serve as a trustee of the Asset Protection Trust. NRS 166.040(3)

2. Settlors of Asset Protection Trusts can remove trustees, direct investments and execute other management powers. NRS 166.040(3)

3. The two year statutory waiting period does not restart if property is transferred from the Asset Protection Trust to be refinanced and then re-conveyed back into it. NRS 16.170 (4)

4. Advisers (accountants, attorneys, or investment advisers) to the settlor or trustee of a Asset Protection Trust are protected from third party claims under certain guidelines. NRS 16.170 (5)

As a reminder, Nevada’s asset protection trust statute has been in place for nearly ten years. Nevada is commonly recognized as not only a pioneer in the area of asset protection, but one of the most favorable asset protection jurisdictions in the country. Other states are now joining Nevada and a handful of other jurisdictions to provide the same asset protection techniques Nevada offers to its residents. Fortunately, as a frontrunner in the industry, Nevada is a seasoned veteran in the field of asset protection and wealth preservation. Consequently, those who formed Asset Protection Trusts early on are now reaping the benefits of increased protection. We remain confident that Nevada’s Asset Protection Trusts are one of the most effective asset protection tools available.

-Attorney Jeremy Cooper

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Undue Influence on the Elderly

As part of our trust and estate litigation section we have encountered an increasing number of elder exploitation cases wherein a person in a confidential relationship (son, daughter, caregiver, close friend) uses this relationship of trust to influence an elderly individual to execute dispositive instruments leaving the bulk of the elderly individual’s estate to the “trusted confidant.”

The preemptive solution that the law provides is a guardianship over the elderly individual. Oftentimes this is more restrictive than necessary. Upon the elderly individual’s passing the heirs can always bring suit to challenge the validity of the dispositive documents based on theories of undue influence, fraud, lack of capacity, etc. However this is not an ideal remedy as it will take a determination of the issues through trial or an evidentiary hearing and the alleged undue influencer may have already made off with the elderly person’s estate.

California has adopted a statute as part of its probate code that nullifies donative transfers to specified individuals (i.e. the person who drafted the dispositive instrument or persons related to the drafter, any person who is in a fiduciary position over the donor or related to the fiduciary, and a care custodian of the donor or any related person). There is an exception allowed where the elderly donor consults with an independent attorney and that attorney attaches a certificate to the dispositive instrument or a court of competent jurisdiction may also entertain evidence regarding the nature of the transfer and may find that the transfer was not the product of undue influence, fraud, or that the donor lacked capacity. Although this approach is not perfect, it is effective in shifting the burden to prove the validity of questionable transfers to the donee/alleged undue influencer.

-Attorney Bob Morris

Monday, February 8, 2010

This week at Jeffrey Burr (2/8/10 - 2/12/10)

Wednesday, 2/10: Attorney Jeffrey L. Burr will be attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada annual meeting and awards breakfast at the M Resort.

Wednesday, 2/10: Attorney David Grant will be co-hosting the Entrepreneur Life Radio Show from 1-2 pm PST on KNUU, The Business Talk Radio Network, AM 970 in Las Vegas. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, 2/10: Attorney Jeremy Cooper will be attending a presentation on Industry Capital and Finance in 2010 presented by Bill Lerner, Founder, Union Gaming Group-formerly the Managing Director and Senior Gaming & lodging analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities.

Friday, 2/12: Attorneys Mark Dodds and Jeremy Cooper will be attending the BYU Management Society luncheon. The featured speaker is Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D of Motivational Management Service Institute, Inc.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Prognosticating Estate Tax in the Short Term

The Obama administration has just released its forecast for this year’s budget deficit: a record-breaking $1.56 trillion. Who knows where it all ends and how it gets paid for. I suspect the only way will be through debasement of the currency, but who knows. In any event, the repeal of the estate tax is probably short-lived and will die a natural death no later than December 31, 2010, just about eleven months from now.

One can’t help but believe the current administration may be satisfied to let the clock run out on estate tax repeal this coming New Year’s Eve, with an estate tax reset to the year 2001 when the estate tax exemption was $1 million (compared with $3.5 million for last year) and a top estate tax rate of 55%. So much for longing for the good old days.

There are some great planning opportunities to take advantage of before the clock runs out on 2010. If you have an estate greater than $1 million and you are single or if your estate is greater than $2 million and you are married, you may want to consider some planning this year which will take advantage of the current favorable tax structure, including the very low 35% gift tax rate (which translates into a 25% estate tax rate due to the way gift taxes are excluded from the estate in most cases whereas estate taxes are not deducted from the estate), the continued viability of valuation discounts for gifts of non-marketable family LLC’s and partnerships, and the fact that your assets are at historically low valuations right now.

-Attorney Mark Dodds

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Not even the best and brightest at Heckerling know status of Estate Tax in 2010

The University of Miami Law School sponsors the Heckerling Estate Planning Institute every January. This annual event is seen by many planners as the most important meeting of its kind, even the “Mecca” of estate planning.

Last Tuesday (1/26/10), three of the profession’s most politically-well-connected individuals, Steve Akers, Ron Aucutt, and Carlyn McCaffrey, spoke at the Institute. Noteworthy, was their joint admission that no one knows (1) what the estate tax law will be, (2) what the estate tax law is, or even (3) what the estate tax law was (since future legislation might be passed retroactively).

This is an unprecedented time when even the industry’s leading experts can’t tell us how clients should plan for the estate tax. Akers, Aucutt, and McCaffrey also acknowledged that they were in doubt as to whether Congress would even act this year. With the uncertainty of the current estate tax law, significant elections occurring in November, and tax cuts set to expire at end of 2010, one thing is sure, the wealthy should keep their friends close and their estate planning attorney even closer.

-Attorney David M. Grant

Legality of a New Year's Resolution

** Borrowed from Glick, Utah Bar Journal, Volume 23 N. 1 Jan/Feb 2010, pg.25.

Monday, February 1, 2010

This week at Jeffrey Burr (2/1/10 - 2/6/10)

Tuesday, 2/2: Attorney Jeffrey Burr will be speaking at the Society of Financial Service Professioals Chapter meeting at Lawrys Restaurant. Mr. Burr will be giving an Estate Tax Legislative Update.

Wednesday, 2/3: Attorney Jeremy Cooper will be attending a seminar at Aria Resort sponsored by Bank of Nevada at which Dale Gibbons (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Western Alliance Bancoporation) will be speaking on Banking 2010.

Wednesday, 2/3: Attorney David Grant will be co-hosting his weekly radio show the Entrepreneur Life on AM 970 at 1:00 PM, PST. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, 2/3: Jeffrey Burr, Ltd. will be co-hosting an open house with the accounting firm Stewart Archibald Barney at the Acuity Financial Center. Attorney Jeffrey Burr will be addressing the topic of Estate Planning in Uncertain Times.