November developments

After the turkey, get your fill of the November developments in elder law. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Britney is free. Plus, the threat to change the estate tax seems to have passed, and the holidays bring challenges and opportunities:

November Developments: Celeb Estates

Yes, as expected, the guardianship over Britney Spears was terminated. What’s next for the pop star? She has to abide by a care plan, her father may face additional scrutiny, and her attorney is collecting new clients. He’s now signed on to help artist Peter Max, who has been subject to a guardianship since 2016, but his daughter is now upset with how things are going. If you are just now wondering about how guardianships work, here’s an explainer.

In other celebrity estates:

  • The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien asserted its rights and shut down a Lord of the Rings-themed cryptocurrency called JRR Token; the matter was resolved via arbitration by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • The estate of former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is a mess. The tech mogul died a year ago, with no will and an estate with a value exceeding $840 million. His father, Richard, and brother Andrew are administering the estate. That includes more than $150 million in creditor claims. His long-time assistant is asking for more than $80 million. As the battles continue, those involved are sharing details about Hsieh’s substance abuse and odd behavior.

In other probate litigation news, a New York doorman is trying to claim a share of the estate of a long-time resident based on a promise. He says the elderly resident, whom he’s known for 28 years, promised him a third of the estate for all the help he provided. The will, however, leaves all the money to animal charities. We’re betting a promise is still just a promise.

New and Notable in Taxes and Planning

Yes, it appears that the estate tax exemption is not getting slashed for 2022; those plans and others that threatened to deep-six popular planning techniques have fallen out of the Democrats’ plans. For now. So the estate tax exemption is jumping to $12.06 million (double for married people, $24.12 million), thanks to inflation. The annual exclusion amount is going up, too. Starting in January, you can leave $16,000 (instead of $15,000) to as many people as you wish without using any of your exemption amount. Happy New Year. Those new figures are just two of the many adjustments for 2022.

With the year coming to a close, it’s a very good time to think about doing some planning. Here’s a review of the many recent changes and what to consider doing about them. If you were one of those who rushed in and made changes, just in case, or you are thinking about it, the Smaldino tax court case is worth a review. One big lesson: Understand the plan!

In other estate planning tips and developments:

We love surprises, and here’s one of those rare ones from an estate sale: A drawing bought for $30 may be worth $50 million.

November Developments in Getting Older

During the holiday season, consider talking talk with your parents about their care plans. Or with your kids if you think they might worry. November is National Family Caregivers month, and this article points out that it’s crucial to talk about care preferences as well as plans.


As the baby boomers’ age, though, there may be a care crisis on the horizon; our current systems are simply inadequate

Some are looking for solutions, and one is called CAPABLE, which aims to give aging adults skills and assistance to age in place

Meanwhile, get a good night’s sleep. It might improve your outlook as the years go by.

And if you are hoping to ward off dementia, have some coffee and tea. But maybe don’t bother with the aspirin.

Dementia and the Holidays

Do you have a loved one with dementia? If there will be gatherings over the holidays, it’s important to plan ahead. Here are four ways to help make the season more inclusive from dementia care expert Teepa Snow. Snow, by the way, has “gone viral” with her Tiktok videos.

Here’s a guide for what not to say to someone with dementia. Pass it on.

The holidays also are a good time to keep a keen eye out for financial elder abuse. What to look for and what to do if you suspect misfeasance.

That’s it for the November developments in elder law. May you and your loved ones avoid Omicron.


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