Family Law Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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For Love or Money: Considering Prenuptial Agreements

The question of prenuptial agreements comes up often in multi-generational family- owned businesses. The question is typically raised by mom or dad, or maybe grandmother or grandfather, and goes something like: “We’re all...more

Court Holds That Trust No Longer Owned Vehicle Because It Allowed Beneficiary’s Wife To Drive It

In In the Interest of H.D.V., a husband appealed from a bench trial in a divorce proceeding. No. 05-15-00421-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 9520 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 26, 2016, no pet. history). His mother had set up a trust for...more

Wealth Management Update - September 2016

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

Holding Assets in Trust for the Next Generation

Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of clients interested in holding assets in trust for their children. This is a trend we are noticing across the board, regardless of the size of the...more

Estate Planning During and After Divorce

At a minimum, we recommend that our clients review their existing estate planning documents every few years, and also when big life changes are happening. Going through a divorce is one of those times. ...more

What Can Your Spouse Reach In A Divorce?

In the recent decision, Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, the Massachusetts Judicial Supreme Court overruled the appeals court decision and concluded that assets held in a discretionary trust created by a third party, where the...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- August 2016

On August 4, 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court issued its highly anticipated decision in Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, 2016 Mass. LEXIS 591, reversing an Appeals Court decision that had been a hot topic of discussion among...more

Military Pensions Could See Significant Changes

Pending Federal legislation could have a huge impact on how judges will divide military pensions during a divorce. In a previous post, I discussed at length how military pension plans currently could be divided in the context...more

Spouse’s Trust Interest Shielded from Division in Divorce

Hi there, I continue to be amazed by the distinguished group of divorce and probate lawyers I have the privilege to work with at Burns & Levinson. Today’s decision on Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, a case which will...more

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

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

Why Every Parent in Alberta Should Have a Will

As a young, healthy parent, you may believe that having a Will is the last thing on a long priority list. However, while a Will is vital for everyone, those with children should be particularly mindful of the primary...more

Another rejection of the intent-defeating, sole-benefit-of-the-beneficiaries principle, the policy centerpiece of the Uniform...

In §6.1.2 of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook (2016), the authors report on the ongoing academic debate between Prof. John H. Langbein and Prof. Jeffrey A. Cooper over the merits of the sole-benefit-of...more

Wealth Management Update - July 2016

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

Court Affirms Finding Of Informal Fiduciary Relationship Between Step-Mother and Step-Son Based On Decision To Not Resuscitate...

In Shearer v. Shearer, Corrine and John were married from 1990 until 2008. No. 12-14-00302-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 5685 (Tex. App.—Tyler May 27, 2016, no pet. history). John became ill in 2009 and was admitted to a hospital...more

Sole interest or best interest: Equity's traditional default loyalty principle is under attack

Some in academia have been advocating that trustees generally be held to a best-interest-of-beneficiary default standard rather than the traditional and more rigorous sole-interest-of-beneficiary default standard. See Loring...more

Appellate Court Notes

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

Trust Planning for Your Lake Home

Part of your family legacy takes place on the lake. Lake homes are significant investments. You have memories of family trips, of children, and maybe even grandchildren, growing up at the home. Preserving the lake home and...more

How to Protect Your Personal Treasure in a Legal Lockbox

When you are in a high-profile profession—doctor, attorney, business owner—you have a lot to lose. Being in your position, you are a high liability target for lawsuits and claims. No one wants to lose their...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

May a trustee with discretionary authority to make principal distributions ever decant for the sole purpose of increasing...

The Uniform Trust Code requires that the trustee notify the qualified beneficiaries, usually the current beneficiaries and presumptive remaindermen, in advance of any change in the method or rate of the trustee’s...more

Annual Estate Planning Newsletter: Part Four

Action Item: This is the fourth installment of our Annual Estate Planning Newsletter, and focuses on matters of interest to married couples. We urge you to review this installment to ensure that your 2016 estate and tax...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

Employing the term "family" in trust instruments and trust-related legislation is asking for trouble

Employing the term “family” in trust instruments and trust-related legislation is asking for trouble. In §8.15.6 of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook (2016) the authors explain why the meaning of the term in a given...more

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