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Family Law Civil Procedure Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

Read Family Law updates, news, and legal commentary from leading lawyers and law firms:

Court Holds That Family Member Did Not Owe Fiduciary Duties To Other Family Member

by Winstead PC on

In Walker v. Walker, a son sued his father and brother regarding the ownership of a beach house. No. 14-16-00357-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2742 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] March 30, 2017, no pet. history). ...more

If You Expect to Work in the Family-Owned Business for Life, Be Sure to Get It in Writing

by Murtha Cullina on

Family-owned businesses often employ multiple family members. Even if there is an expectation that employment will continue indefinitely, the company and the family member employees both usually reserve the right, explicitly...more

Allowing in parol evidence as to a trust-settlor's intent: Construing trust terms versus reforming them

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

In the Missouri case of Mense v. Rennick, 491 S.W.3d 661 (Mo. App. 2016), the testimony of the settlor-beneficiary of an irrevocable trust as to what she had intended was not allowed in, the court having determined that the...more

Court Affirms Sanctions Order Against Fiduciary Due To Discovery Abuses

by Winstead PC on

In Eng v. Kolbe, a mother sued her daughter for abusing a power of attorney document. No. 03-15-00409-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2680 (Tex. App.—Austin March 30, 2017). The daughter was assisting her aging parents with their...more

Ferri v. Powell-Ferri

Ferri v. Powell-Ferri: A trust decanting decision that is less than meets the eye

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

The Supreme Court of Connecticut (SCC) certified three trust-decanting questions of law to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) incident to a divorce proceeding. On March 20, 2017, the SJC rendered its answers to...more

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

by Carlton Fields on

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

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

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

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

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

by Carlton Fields on

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

The Uniform Trust Decanting Act's conflicting commentary

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

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

Wealth Management Update - September 2016

by Proskauer Rose LLP on

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

May the donee of a limited testamentary power of appointment irrevocably and immediately exercise it inter vivos by contract?

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

The Delaware Chancery Court [In re Estate of Tigani, C.A No. 7339-ML (Del. Ch. Ct. Feb. 12, 2016)] has confirmed that the donee of a limited testamentary power of appointment may not irrevocably, immediately, and effectively...more

Appellate Court Notes

by Pullman & Comley, LLC on

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: AC36842 - Antonucci v. Antonucci - In this divorce action, the parties had been married for twenty-five years and had two adult children, and had comparable incomes of about...more

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

by Pullman & Comley, LLC on

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

by Burns & Levinson LLP on

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

by McGuireWoods LLP on

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

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

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

by Proskauer Rose LLP on

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...

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

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

by Cole Schotz on

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

by Collins & Lacy, P.C. on

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)

by Carlton Fields on

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

by Williams Mullen on

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

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