Family Law Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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Why trustees need to know something about will residue clauses

The Anglo-American trust is an invention of the judiciary, specifically the English Court of Chancery. The will, a testamentary instrument, on the other hand, is a creature of statute. The testamentary trust is a product of...more

Life After Death: No Longer Inconceivable

Recent legislation provides a framework for inheritance rights of children conceived after the death of one or both parents in very specific circumstances....more

Remarriage & Estate Planning: Common Errors (Part 2)

This week on our blog we have been discussing remarriage and estate planning – including the questions you should ask yourself about estate planning after a second marriage and which documents you need to review and update...more

Estate Planning & Remarriage: Five Questions You Need to Ask

It is becoming more and more common for individuals to remarry during their lifetime, either because of the death of their spouse or a divorce. However, even though an increasing number of blended families exist in the United...more

Trust Law’s Material Purpose Doctrine, the Traditional Protector of Settlor-Intent is Under Attack: The TEDRA Factor

In recent years, reformers of trust law have been hard at work defanging the plain meaning rule, primarily by liberalizing the doctrines of reformation and deviation. The rule is discussed generally in §8.15.6 of Loring and...more

Same Sex Couples Now Have Options

Before yesterday, when I prepared estate planning documents for same-sex couples there was a quagmire of issues that had to be addressed, since the State of Florida did not recognize same-sex marriages. As of yesterday, all...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

Does the trustee who socially invests entrusted funds breach his/her/its fiduciary duty of undivided loyalty, absent express...

On February 8, 2015, The University of California Student Association [which purports to represent all 240,000 students enrolled in the UC system’s 10 campuses] passed [9-1-5] the following resolution, which, in part, calls...more

Does a Tenant Cohabitate?

Marital agreements and trust agreements often employ the term “cohabitate” or “cohabitation.” Typically, these agreements provide for the end of trust distributions, alimony, occupancy of property, or other benefits, when the...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

The Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code: Context, Content, and Critique

The law review article "The Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code: Context, Content and Critique," 96 Mass. L. Rev. 27 (2014), co-authored by Courtney J. Maloney and Charles E. Rounds, Jr., contains a detailed discussion of the...more

Titling Property & Same-Sex Couples in Kentucky

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to hear the case that could decide the fate of same-sex marriage bans once and for all, legal ground in that area is now uncertain territory. Currently, however, Kentucky does not recognize...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

Redo Your Estate Plan When You Remarry

If you are getting remarried, you obviously want to celebrate, but it is also important to focus on less exciting matters like redoing your estate plan. You may have created an estate plan during your first marriage, but this...more

Florida Becomes the 36th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

On August 21st, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge, Robert L. Hinkle, in the case of Brenner v. Scott, ruled that Florida’s constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Same-sex couples were...more

How to Answer the Top Five Legal Questions You Will Get from Family Members at Holiday Gatherings

1. Should Mom and Dad give us the house as a gift now so that they don’t have to “give it to the government” later? This is a common question that involves technical medical assistance rules. Generally, the best way to...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

Talking to Relatives About Guardianship of a Child with Special Needs

In a recent Washington Post advice column, a reader asked columnist Carolyn Hax whether the reader should explain her decision to name one set of relatives as the guardians of her children to the relatives that she did not...more

Guarding against a Trust's Destruction by Merger

A trust is not a trust if the “trustee” alone holds legal title to the subject property and alone possesses the entire beneficial/equitable interest. Instead, he owns the subject property outright and free of trust, all...more

Who Can Benefit From International Estate Planning?

There are a number of common misconceptions regarding international estate planning and international tax law – and each year these misconceptions lead to families finding themselves facing tax problems, financial losses,...more

Avoiding the Pitfalls from Separation to Divorce and Beyond

Going through a legal separation or divorce is a very stressful, emotional and financially taxing period in anyone’s life. There are many pressing issues that take center stage in a divorce, especially if you have minor...more

Report From Counsel: Insights and Developments in the Law - Fall 2014

In this Report: - Homeowners’ Insurance: The Devil Resides in the Details - “Cybersmear” Lawsuits - Age Discrimination in Employment - The Marital Deduction: A Valuable Estate Planning...more

California Guardianship Law: The Best Interests of the Child

Many parents in California believe that if they name a guardian in their will, that person is without a doubt the one who will raise their children in the event of your untimely death or sudden accident. However, under...more

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