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Today’s class

Today’s class. Will substitutes and the subsidiary law of wills Pour-over wills Joint tenancies in realty as our final example of a nonprobate way to transfer property Spouses holding a joint tenancy in their home. Follow up.

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Today’s class

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  1. Today’s class Will substitutes and the subsidiary law of wills Pour-over wills Joint tenancies in realty as our final example of a nonprobate way to transfer property Spouses holding a joint tenancy in their home

  2. Follow up Earlier, we had a practice question involving standing to challenge a will, and we saw that heirs apparent under the rules of intestacy have standing Who else has standing? Interested persons—people who are beneficiaries under the will and people who were intended beneficiaries under a prior will and would receive less under the contested will What about a family member or friend who was victimized by the undue influence of a caretaker but doesn’t qualify as an heir apparent or beneficiary under a will? Tortious interference with an expectancy (pp. 215-220)

  3. Will substitutes and the subsidiary law of wills • While will substitutes are not governed by the rules for executing a will, many of the rules regarding freedom of testation or implementation are applied • Spousal forced share (Oct. 28 class) • Ademption (pp. 380-389) and abatement (pp. 391-392) • Slayer rules (pp. 145-152) • In today’s class, we will consider how other rules for wills apply to will substitutes • Do the rules for revoking a will apply to a trust? Can creditors of the settlor reach the trust’s assets? • Are designations of an ex-spouse as beneficiary of life insurance or retirement plans automatically revoked?

  4. Application of subsidiary law of wills to will substitutes, p.413 “Although a will substitute need not be executed in compliance with the statutory formalities required for a will, such an arrangement is, to the extent appropriate, subject to substantive restrictions on testation and to rules of construction and other rules applicable to testamentary dispositions.” Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers §7.2 (2003).

  5. In re Estate and Trust of Pilafas In re Estate and Trust of Pilafas,p. 414 Questions presented: • Is the will revoked? • Is the trust revoked?

  6. Pilafas • Did the trust agreement really limit revocation only to a writing to the trustee? • Does it make sense to have a different rule for revocation of trusts than for wills? Did Pilafas really intend to revoke his will but not his trust? • When you have a third-party trustee, the duty to revoke in writing can be justified in terms of protecting the trustee, who has a legal obligation to carry out the trust

  7. Problems, p.415 • Does a will revoking the trust count as a revocation? • What if Pilafas had ripped up his will and trust, and the pieces were found? • What if UTC 602(c) applies?

  8. State Street Bank and Trust Co. v. Reiser State Street Bank and Trust Co. v. Reiser p. 416 Sept. 1971 Nov. 1972 1973

  9. Reiser • If Dunnebier had not transferred his assets to the trust, the bank could have recovered against his probate estate for the loan • Can the bank recover against the trust assets?

  10. Trusts and the settlor’s creditors after the settlor’s death • Creditors can reach assets of revocable trust • But jointly-held property cannot be reached, and life insurance proceeds or retirements benefits generally are protected when they are paid to a spouse or child. • Unsettled issues • Must creditors exhaust probate assets first, or are the debts satisfied pro rata from probate and non-probate assets? • Do exemptions of probate property from creditors, designed to protect the spouse and dependent children, apply to nonprobate property?

  11. Trusts and the settlor’s creditors after the settlor’s death • Unsettled issues (continued) • Must creditors proceed against the executor of the estate, who recovers the nonprobate assets for them, or may the creditors proceed directly against the holder of the property? • If the latter, and an owner of one nonprobate asset is successfully sued by a creditor, may the owner recover from other recipients of nonprobate assets? • Statutes of limitation require filing of creditors’ claims against probate assets within a given period after the decedent’s death, usually a year. Do the same rules apply to beneficiaries of nonprobate assets?

  12. Effect of divorce on nonprobate assets • Recall that divorce nullifies will provisions in favor of a spouse • UPC § 2-804 (also nullifies provisions in favor of divorced spouse’s relatives) • Ind. Code § 29-1-5-8 • What about non-probate assets? • Cook and life insurance • Egelhoff and retirement benefits • Clymer and revocable trusts

  13. Cook v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y (1) Cook v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y p.420 Doris Margaret Douglas Why did an IN court recognize Cook’s holographic will? Daniel

  14. Cook v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y (2) Cook v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y Cook’s Will

  15. Cook and life insurance • Did the will revoke the beneficiary designation? If we were following Cook’s intent, what would we say? • What did the court say?

  16. Pension and Retirement Plans Defined Benefit Plan Defined Contribution Plan Individual Retirement Account • Employee typically receives an annuity • If benefit is annuitized, no remainder to pass at death • Uncommon today among private employers ($2.3 trillion (2012)) • Common today among public employers ($4.6 trillion (2012)) • Employee owns a specific account • Employee controls investment and distributions in retirement • Remainder passes outside of probate to designated beneficiaries • Favored by private employers ($4.7 trillion (2012)) • Similar to a defined contribution plan, but subject to contract between account holder and custodial institution • Remainder passes outside of probate to designated beneficiaries • IRAs are common ($5.1 trillion (2012)), may include “roll over” from DC plan

  17. Cook and retirement plan beneficiary designations • You can run into the Cook problem with beneficiary designations for retirement plans. Testators sometimes try to change retirement plan beneficiaries through their wills • Courts often reject the changes on the same grounds—the terms of the retirement plan contract specify a particular procedure for changing the beneficiary (p.415, problem 1) • Some states allow beneficiary redesignations by will, but only if the will is specific about the retirement plan (or insurance policy) that is being changed. (Nunnenman v. Estate of Grubbs, 374 S.W.2d 75 (Ark. App. 2010)) • Note the lawyer liability problem lurking—if the lawyer does not ask about non-probate asset beneficiaries, then the intended beneficiaries may be able to sue

  18. Egelhoff and retirement plans • What were the facts in this case?

  19. Egelhoff v. Egelhoff Egelhoff v. Egelhoffp. 426 Kate (first wife) David Donna (second wife) ??? ??? Life Insurance Pension Plan Samantha David

  20. Egelhoff and retirement plans • Why did the Court find preemption and bind David by his beneficiary designations?

  21. Egelhoff and retirement plans • As the dissent observed, the result is problematic • It is not consistent with the usual intent of decedents • It gives Donna windfall—she already had received her fair share of the couple’s assets when they divorced; she now receives a big chunk of his share of the assets • The Court’s logic applies to many other state law rules governing pension plans, like slayer rules • Lower courts have resisted Egelhoff by using federal common law to save the state law rules • But there is less clarity about that than about state law

  22. Pour-over wills and revocable trusts in modern estate planning • The combination of a pour-over will and trust allows people to avoid probate and to consolidate all of their property into one instrument. • Avoiding probate—can’t avoid taxes, but can reduce other costs • Privacy—both from strangers and disappointed heirs • Choice of law—can select which state’s law applies (which also is allowed under UPC § 2-703) • Reduce delay–bequests can be disbursed more quickly • Amending estate plan—just amend the trust provisions • Blended family—greater control over disposition of estate with surviving spouse and children from a prior marriage

  23. Pour-over wills and revocable trusts in modern estate planning • There are some disadvantages • Creditors may have a longer statute of limitations period for filing claims against a trust than against a probate estate • Legal fees for a pour-over will and trust may be greater than for just a will • Less certainty about the application of the subsidiary law of wills (but most of the issues can be addressed by a well-drafted trust)

  24. Pour-over wills, revocable trusts, and nonprobate transfers Donor Residuary Beneficiary: Trustee of T’s Revocable Trust Beneficiary: Trustee of T’s Revocable Trust Transfer of Assets Nonprobate Transfers Revocable Trust Pour-Over Will

  25. Model pour-over provision • I give my residuary estate to the then acting trustee under the trust agreement executed by me on _________ __, 20__, and known as the O 20__ revocable Trust, of which I am now trustee and X is named as successor trustee, to be added to the trust estate and held under that trust agreement as in effect at my death

  26. UPC §2-511:Testamentary additions to trusts, p.444 (a) A will may validly devise property to the trustee of a trust established or to be established … during the testator’s lifetime by the testator… or … at the testator’s death by the testator’s devise to the trustee, if the trust is identified in the testator’s will and its terms are set forth in a written instrument, other than a will, executed before, concurrently with, or after the execution of the testator’s will ... . The devise is not invalid because the trust is amendable or revocable, or because the trust was amended after the execution of the will or the testator’s death.

  27. What were the facts in Clymer v. Mayo?, p.445

  28. Clymer v. Mayo Clymer v. Mayop.445 Maria Joseph James Life Insurance Marianne Trust Niece and Nephews and Life Insurance Clara

  29. What result in Clymer?

  30. Clymer and retirement plans • Why did this case come out differently from Egelhoff, where ERISA prevented the revocation of the divorced spouse’s beneficiary status?

  31. Joint tenancies in land The joint tenants have equal interests; most important actions require the agreement of all tenants Not unilaterally revocable, so an imperfect will substitute (though Brousseau, p. 448, suggests some exceptions) Joint tenants cannot devise their shares in a will. Upon death, the decedent’s share vanishes and is taken by the other joint tenant(s). To pass by will, the joint tenants must sever the joint tenancy and convert it into a tenancy in common. Creditors can reach a joint tenant’s interest only during the tenant’s lifetime.

  32. Revocation of trusts The settlor may revoke or amend a revocable trust: • (1) by substantial compliance with a method provided in the terms of the trust; or • (2) if the terms of the trust do not provide a method or the method provided in the terms is not expressly made exclusive, by: • (A) a later will or codicil that expressly refers to the trust or specifically devises property that would otherwise have passed according to the terms of the trust; or • (B) any other method manifesting clear and convincing evidence of the settlor’s intent. • Uniform Trust Code §602(c) • Ind. Code § 30-4-3-1.5(c) [requires a writing for (2)(B)] • Restatement (Third) of Trusts § 63

  33. UPC § 2-804(b): Revocation upon divorce Except as provided by the express terms of a governing instrument, a Court Order, or a contract relating to the division of the marital estate made between the divorced individuals . . ., divorce . . . (1) revokes any revocable (i) disposition or appointment of property made by a divorced individual to his [or her] former spouse in a governing instrument and any disposition or appointment created by law or in a governing instrument to a relative of the divorced individual's former spouse . . .

  34. UPC § 1-201(18) : Governing instrument "Governing instrument" means a deed, will, trust, insurance or annuity policy, account with POD designation, security registered in beneficiary form (TOD), pension, profit-sharing, retirement, or similar benefit plan, instrument creating or exercising a power of appointment or a power of attorney, or a dispositive, appointive, or nominative instrument of any similar type.

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