Civil Procedure Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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Texas Supreme Court Accepts A Case Dealing With A No-Contest Clause

In Ard v. Hudson, a beneficiary sued testamentary trustees and executors for breach of fiduciary duty and also sought an accounting, temporary injunctive relief, and a receiver. No. 02-13-00198-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 8727...more

Forgiveness May Be Available For An Untimely Caveat

It’s a new year and with it comes many resolutions. Each year, a popular resolution is to be more forgiving or to forgive someone who wronged you. Apparently, trying to get a head start on its resolutions, on December 30, the...more

Court Affirms Denial Of Statutory Bill Of Review From A Trust Contest

In In re Estate of Kam, Kam sought to set aside an order probating her brother’s will via a statutory bill of review because he purportedly lacked the requisite testamentary capacity to execute the will or the will was the...more

Essay: The Inter Vivos Branch of the Worthier Title Doctrine

Change for good reason is most appropriate. Sometimes it is superb, but change for the sake of change is usually wrong. It is regrettable and unjustifiable that an old and beneficial principle of law has been challenged as no...more

Expert Testimony Necessary On Standard Of Care? Maybe Sometimes, But Not Always.

Whether a plaintiff needs an expert witness in a breach of fiduciary duty case to testify on the standard of care is a frequently debated topic. In Heisinger v. Cleary, the Supreme Court of Connecticut weighed in on one side...more

Indiana Court of Appeals Allows Negligent Hiring Claim Despite Admission that Employee Acted Within Scope of Employment

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently determined that a negligent hiring claim against Pizza Hut can continue to move through the trial court after finding that the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment in favor...more

Texas Supreme Court Will Determine Whether Texas Recognizes A Tortious Interference With Inheritance Claim

Today, the Texas Supreme Court granted a petition for review in Jackson Walker, LLPO v. Kinsel, No. 07-13-00130-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 3586 (Tex. App.—Amarillo April 10, 2015, pet. granted). The Court’s staff attorney...more

Family Law: Corporate and Trust Challenges to Service of Process and Jurisdiction

The president of a corporation, manager of a limited liability company, trustee of a family trust, or principal of another business entity receives a summons in a Florida divorce case. One spouse contends the other’s control,...more

Pro Bono Appeal: Navigating Inconsistencies in Posthumous DNA Testing Statutes

Family Court Act § 519 and Estates Powers and Trusts Law (“EPTL”) § 4-1.2 both address a child’s right to prove paternity after the putative father’s death. However, DNA testing may be considered under Family Court Act § 519...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - December 2016

The last several weeks have brought us two decisions in which issues of family law intersected with T&E issues. First, the decision in Heystek v. Duncan, Case No. 15-P-1201, 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1113 (Nov. 21,...more

Update Beneficiary Designations After Divorce or Annulment

On July 1, 2015, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal held, with a few exceptions, upon entry of a final judgment of dissolution or annulment, any provision of a will that “affects” a former spouse is void under...more

Court of Appeals Granted Mandamus Relief To Transfer Venue To County Where A Trust Was Administered

In In re Green, a beneficiary filed suit against a trustee for breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of corporate funds. No. 08-16-00233-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 12830 (Tex. App.—El Paso December 2, 2016, original...more

South Carolina Federal Court Makes Two Rulings On Motions To Dismiss In Dispute Involving Reinsurance Trust Agreements

This case was previously reported by us on our blog on January 5, 2016, June 28, 2016 and July 20, 2016. For the full procedural background, we refer to the recent November 3, 2016 and November 16, 2016 decisions. In sum,...more

How Far Can A Grantor Go In Eliminating The Duty To Account?

Trusts are often used to transfer wealth privately without the messiness of a public estate administration. That financial privacy can get blown, however, when trusts become the subjects of very public litigation. ...more

The Uniform Trust Decanting Act's conflicting commentary

The texts of the myriad trust-related uniform statutes could be better coordinated and synchronized. So also could the official commentaries that accompany the myriad sections of the individual uniform statute. Take, for...more

A Flood . . . in the Basement

Having examined countless witnesses in probate and other contested Surrogate’s Court proceedings, many of us have grown accustomed to learning that critical documents were destroyed by a “flood.” That flood, almost...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - November 2016

There has not been much case law of particular relevance in the T&E area since our last newsletter, but three recent federal court decisions—one from the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and two from the United States District...more

Federal Court Dismisses Beneficiary’s Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim For Lack of Jurisdiction

In Strouse v. Strouse, a beneficiary sued an executor of an estate for breach of fiduciary duty. No. 4:16cv707, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155630 (E.D. Tex. September 27, 2016). Federal district courts are courts of limited...more

The Georgia Superior Court/Probate Court Dance

No procedural or jurisdictional issues in Georgia fiduciary litigation can cause as much headache as the sometimes exclusive and sometimes concurrent jurisdiction of the superior and probate courts. The Georgia Court of...more

Parental Power of Attorney: The Legal Document Needed for Those Caring For Your Children

Whether the kids will be with Grandma and Grandpa for the holidays or a nanny when you go on a quick business trip, it is important to consider whether the person caring for your children has the legal tools necessary to care...more

A Trustee's Duty To Disclose In Texas

David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, presented his speech on a “Trustees’ Duty To Disclose In Texas” to the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Business and Estate Section’s membership lunch in...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19516 - Doe v. Boy Scouts of America Corp. SC19516 Concurrence - Doe v. Boy Scouts of America Corp. SC19516 Concurrence - Doe v. Boy Scouts of America...more

Executor Loses Out on Fees Due to Section 6166 Lien

A personal representative/executor for an estate granted a special estate tax lien under Code §6324A to the U.S. as part of a Section 6166 election to defer payment of federal estate tax. At the time, the executor had been...more

Beyer Beware: An Examination of a Family Limited Partnership Gone Wrong

The opinion issued on Sept. 29, 2016, in the case of Estate of Edward G. Beyer v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue was the culmination of an estate planning exercise that had an unfortunate ending for everyone involved (other...more

Transferee Liability: The [Unlikely] Situation that your Nonprofit Receives a Charitable Gift with Expensive Tax Strings Attached

The case of Salus Mundi Foundation et al v. Commissioner - On August 15, 2016, the Tax Court decided in Salus Mundi Foundation et al v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-154, that two foundations were liable as transferees...more

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