Family Law Civil Procedure Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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Court Increases Father’s Child Support Payment Due to Inheritance

In the 2015 Pennsylvania Superior Court Opinion E.R.L. v. C.K.L., the Court found that Father’s significant inheritance was a sufficient reason to increase his child support payment for the parties’ three children....more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19384 - State v. Carter - SC19282 - State v. Peeler - Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: AC37262 - Dumbauld v. Dumbauld - AC37262 Concurrence -...more

Massachusetts High Court to Determine Whether a Spouse’s Trust Interest Can Be Reached in Divorce

On April 5, 2016, the collective eyes of Massachusetts divorce attorneys and estate planners were fixed on the Supreme Judicial Court, where the highly-anticipated oral arguments on “further appellate review” of Pfannenstiehl...more

Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries

Berlinger v. Wells Fargo, N.A., Case No. 2:11-cv-459-FtM-29CM, 2015 WL 6125529 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 16, 2015) - Discretionary distributions to beneficiary which were used in part to satisfy alimony obligations were not...more

The challenge of maintaining the privacy of a non-testamentary discretionary trust with multiple permissible beneficiaries

Assume X is an innocent discretionary beneficiary of an irrevocable non-testamentary trust with multiple permissible beneficiaries (the “trust”). Y is a not-so-innocent co-beneficiary, that is to say he has not been paying...more

Before Signing Anything on Behalf of Someone Else, Talk to Your Special Needs Planner

People lack the ability to sign documents for various reasons. In some cases, a person has suffered from a disability since birth and has never had the mental capacity to make decisions for himself. In other cases, an injury...more

Wealth Management Update - November 2015

November Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The November § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

A permissible beneficiary's equitable property interest under an irrevocable discretionary trust is contingent, not vested, the...

A permissible beneficiary’s equitable property interest under a discretionary trust is contingent, not vested. The critical condition precedent that renders the interest contingent is that the trustee must exercise his...more

Court Finds That Plan Administrator Should Comply With Qualified Domestic Relations Order Issued After Retirement Plan...

A recent opinion from the Second Circuit puts retirement plan administrators on notice that adjustments to benefits may be necessary to account for retroactively effective qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs). In...more

Court Warns That Marriage Does Not Render A Spouse Automatically Entitled To Preexisting Life Insurance Policies

In a recent unpublished decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division has again stressed the importance of complying with the beneficiary designation requirements contained in life insurance policies. See Fox v. Lincoln...more

Bus Driver’s Aneurysm Found Compensable

The South Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion on February 18, 2015, wherein it found a bus driver’s death due to an aneurysm compensable and the driver’s common-law wife entitled to benefits. ...more

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

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

Ex-Husband Fails in Attempt to Use Texas Law to Impose Constructive Trust on Former Spouse’s Survivor Annuity

A former husband’s attempt to use Texas law to deprive his first wife of a survivor annuity under his pension plan has been firmly rejected by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Vanderkam v. Vanderkam,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Regarding the Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, respectively, regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans by the states. ...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Scope of Accountant-Client Privilege in Will Contests

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Brunton v. Kruger.  Brunton involves the scope of the accountant-client privilege – specifically, what happens to that privilege after the client dies, and how the...more

The liability of a trustee who honors a fraudulent exercise of a power of appointment

A trustee who transfers trust property to a permissible appointee for the benefit of an impermissible appointee such that the fraud on a special power doctrine is implicated incurs no liability as a consequence, unless the...more

Appellate Court Notes

?AC35507 - State v. Wright - ?AC35289, AC36395 - Southport Congregational Church-United Church of Christ v. Hadley - The doctrine of equitable conversion did not apply when the decedent contracted to sell real...more

Designating Your Same-Sex Spouse as the Sole Beneficiary in Your Will

Estate planning can be a very stressful time for all married couples, especially when children and other relatives need to be considered. However, under normal circumstances, one need not be overly concerned with the...more

Does the settlor of a trust have standing to seek its enforcement in the courts?

As a general rule, any beneficiary of a trust would have standing to seek its enforcement in the courts. The Restatement (Third) of Trusts is sending mixed signals as to whether the settlor of a trust, qua settlor, would have...more

Could it be that the Uniform Trust Code would effectively immunize the trustee of a revocable inter vivos trust from liability for...

Section 603 of the Uniform Trust Code provides that while a trust is revocable and the settlor has capacity to revoke the trust, rights of the beneficiaries, such as the equitable remaindermen, are subject to the control of,...more

Spendthrift & Discretionary Trusts in Florida: Further Analysis of Berlinger v. Casselberry

In Berlinger v. Casselberry, Case No. 2D12-6470, 6 (Fla. 2d DCA Nov. 27, 2013), the Florida Second District Court of Appeal upheld a writ of garnishment issued by a trial court against the trustee of a discretionary trust...more

Celebrity Trusts & Estates: Paul Walker Leaves His $25 Million Estate to His Teenage Daughter

It was recently revealed that the late Paul Walker left his entire estate—valued at approximately $25 million—to his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow....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...more

Federal Tax Treatment of Married Same-Sex Couples

On August 29, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that married same-sex couples will be treated the same as married heterosexual couples for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. Revenue...more

Same-Sex Spouse Is Entitled To Death Benefits Under ERISA-Qualified Plan

Following on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, a federal district court in Pennsylvania recently held that the same-sex spouse of a deceased employee is entitled to receive death benefits under the...more

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