February review

Toward the end of each month, we like to share elder law law developments we’ve noticed over the previous couple of weeks. The February review is star-studded, which doesn’t happen very often. We also have some celeb-free tidbits for tax and estate planning and just plain getting old:

The February Review of Celeb Estates

Larry King: The secret, handwritten will of the legendary broadcaster surfaced in a court proceeding. His son Larry Jr. is seeking to be appointed administrator of the estate. Not so fast, said Larry Sr.’s widow, Shawn. She’s contesting the appointment. There’s likely to be more drama ahead.

Britney Spears: There was another hearing on the pop star’s conservatorship. This time, dad Jamie was seeking a larger role in managing her affairs. He lost. He and corporate fiduciary Bessemer Trust (Britney’s choice) will keep sharing that responsibility as co-conservators. But Jamie is apparently getting tired being pummeled by Spears fans; his attorney showed up on Good Morning America to say Jamie-haters “have it so wrong.”

Buck Rogers: George Clooney is planning a re-boot of the character, created by Philip Francis Nowlan. But the Nowlan Family Trust says it owns the rights to the character and Clooney’s team doesn’t.

Bob Vitkus: He’s not a celebrity, but he should be. The Fayetteville, New York, oral surgeon died in June at age 67. A nature-lover, he left $10 million to be used to protect parks and waterways in his community.

‘I Care A Lot’: The hit Netflix horror movie is getting a lot of attention. It centers on a ruthless guardian who exploits an elderly woman, and it might scare a lot of senior citizens. We’ve seen it, and as a movie, it’s not great. (This review is spot-on.) As a commentary on guardianship abuse, it’s even worse. We’ll talk about that more next week, to give you a chance to catch the movie before we spoil the story.

Stuff of the Rich and Famous

The art collection of Texas heiress and rancher Anne Marion, who died last February, is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s starting in May. Expected take of the collection, which includes names like Warhol and Lichtenstein? $150 million.

Another recent auction featured collectibles from another famous oil heiress, Roberta McCain, late Sen. John McCain’s mom. Over her 108 years, she collected all kinds of things, often from her many travels; the 107 lots brought in more than $97,000, and another sale is planned.

Christie’s will auction items from the estate of Kathleen DuRoss Ford, widow of Henry Ford II, in New York and London. Ford’s third wife, DuRoss Ford died last May. Many auction items belonged to her husband. Highlights include “impressionist artworks by Edouard Vuillard and Kees van Dongen, handbags by Chanel and Hermès, engraved silver from Henry Ford II’s yacht Santa Maria, a rare George III ormolu-mounted white marble and biscuit-porcelain clock by Benjamin Vulliamy” and more.

Tax and Estate Planning

Not many states retain an estate tax, just 12 plus the District of Columbia, and only six have an inheritance tax. Which ones? Take a look, and you’ll see Arizona isn’t one of them.

Acronyms abound in tax and estate planning. For instance, what’ is an ILIT and do you need one? How about a SLAT?

Should you tell your kids about your estate plan? We tell clients that’s up to them. Here are a couple of good reasons to consider it. Here’s one circumstance when communicating can be crucial: When the division among beneficiaries, especially children, is not equal.

This piece purports to give you advice on a DIY estate plan. It really just talks about beneficiary designations, which, in some cases, can dispose of most of a person’s assets. But most people want their estate plan to do more. (Like plan for incapacity.)

A few weeks back, we wrote about using trusts to ensure inheritances are used for intended purposes. Here’s a dad who is embracing their children’s desire NOT to inherit and to try to do good instead.

The February Review of Aging Issues

Artificial intelligence devices are poised to make aging a whole lot easier – if we are willing to embrace the technology.

Scammers are targeting the elderly with Covid-19 pitches; be aware.

A recent study indicates how well you age has a lot to do with your attitude toward aging. As the study’s co-author says: “People need to realize that some of the negative health consequences in later life might not be biologically driven. The mind and the body are all interwoven. If you believe these bad things are going to happen, over time that can erode people’s willingness or maybe even eventually their ability to engage in those health behaviors that are going to keep them as healthy as they can be.”

Dementia developments:

That’s it for the February review.

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