November Round Up: Stan Lee, Taxes, and More

At the end of the month, we like to survey the elder law arena and share what we’ve found. Here’s the November round up:

Elder Abuse and Stan Lee

The best read we’ve seen this month is an AARP piece on the last years and aftermath of the life of Stan Lee. Several in the Marvel comics genius’s circle have been accused of elder abuse. As the article says: “[T]he villain in this story is love. Abuse of the elderly routinely cloaks itself in love, which is, in many cases, returned by the victim. The perpetrators might even call love their motivation.”

In additional sobering but not surprising news regarding elder care, abuse is even harder to combat during Covid-19, and the pandemic is hurting the finances of family caregivers.

Taxing Times Ahead?

Each month in these roundups, we have shared articles about planning in the event of a Joe Biden victory. (Just a sampling: August, September, October) Now that it seems Biden will eventually be president, the chances the feds will be seeking more tax revenue are pretty dang good. It may be time to consider estate tax planning; if not now, stay alert so you can take action before new legislation takes effect. Top reads this month:

  • An excellent deep dive into tax developments and strategies specifically for 2020.
  • A couple of snapshots (here and here) of possible tax changes under Biden.
  • Plus: a smattering of strategies that financial advisers using to help the wealthy “strategically unload assets.”

November Round Up of Planning Tidbits

There are of course estate planning considerations that have nothing to do with taxes. Among those that surfaced this month:

  • Five disasters to avoid, and two more ways you can blow it. Not properly designating beneficiaries is always our favorite. But there’s also: Not going through the estate planning process. We agree!
  • Clients often wonder what they should tell their kids about their estate plans. The answer is always, “It depends.” There’s no getting around the fact that it’s an intensely personal decision. But this piece provides some useful guidance.
  • Here’s why planning is so important for non-traditional families.
  • Ever wondered what a contingent beneficiary is and why you need one? Now you know.
  • People with charitable intent are naming Donor Advised Funds (of DAFs) as beneficiaries of their individual retirement accounts. Here’s why.
  • Speaking of charitable intent, our own Robert B. Fleming conducted a webinar for the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona ( about Aging, Philanthropy and Estate Planning, which you can watch via our YouTube channel.
  • One thing Robert covers in the CFSA presentation is dementia. He notes that those tip-of-the tongue moments, when you can’t remember a word or name, are not dementia. A new study agrees: Elders are slower because our brains simply have more information to sort through.

Tricks and Tribulations of Estate Administration

Fleming & Curti often serves as executor or trustee and we represent professionals and family members who serve, too. This article about “how to avoid a war” over an estate, includes advice that can help — but there’s no guarantee.

In the category of the more you know about administering a trust or estate . . . How to handle social security when someone dies and understanding how trust distributions are taxed.

Celebrity Estates and Lawsuits

In other dead celebrity lawsuit news:

  • The family and estate of “Glee” actress Naya Rivera have filed a wrongful death lawsuit over her drowning back in July.
  • Famous architect Zaha Hadid’s estate has finally almost settled after four years and lots of drama. It’s a good example of why not to name a committee of executors. Hadid named four.
  • The battle between the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and producers of a take on Sherlock Holmes’ stories. Producers of Enola Holmes filed a motion to dismiss the estate’s copyright and trademark infringement complaint.
  • Another copyright dispute has erupted, this one over Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Paramount wants to develop projects, but the rights might belong to a trust formed at author Truman Capote’s death.

That’s it for the November round up. Mask up and stay safe.

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