Your supervising attorney’s client, Samuel Spendthrift, is referred to your law firm by his daughter, Wilma Workaholic, an attorney at the local Megalaw firm. Samuel Spendthrift, seventy years old, is a retired stockbroker. Samuel has another daughter in Colorado and owns a restaurant in Parker, Colorado.
Samuel lives in Heavenly Valley, California. There he spends time with his “godson” developing homes. His godson and he have an “oral partnership” in which some of the land, partially constructed homes, and loans are in the client’s name and some are in the godson’s name. He maintains a mailing address in Sparks, Nevada, to “avoid California income taxes.” Meanwhile, he maintains a driver’s license and automobile registration in Oregon but does not live there.
Samuel also has three sons who currently live in California with their spouses and children. Samuel tells you in the initial interview that he may also have several illegitimate children. The client tells you that his sons do not deserve any inheritance and so he wishes to disinherit them.
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Samuel brings you a Will which he has drafted using some forms from a book he purchased titled “Wills for Dummies.” He tells you that he called your law firm because his daughter insisted that he have someone experienced review the Will he drafted.
After interviewing the client, you discover that he owns quite a bit of property. His assets are as follows:
1. Ranch in Wyoming (Value $350,000) originally owned by him but transferred by deed to him and daughter, Wilma, in joint tenancy
2. Two Condos in Hawaii (Value $325,000)
3. Two brokerage accounts in his name Value $650,000)
4. $10,000 cash kept in the trailer he lives in during the summer in Arizona
5. California Real Estate owned in the “oral partnership” (Value $700,000)
6. Oil and Gas Interests in Oklahoma which he inherited from his father (Value Unknown)
7. Yacht named “Tax Evader” (Value $125,000)
Samuel brings you a copy of the Will he drafted. You find it to be “grossly inadequate.”
Discuss the following:
1. What are the legal issues?
2. What are possible estate planning solutions?