Civil Procedure Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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T&E Litigation Newsletter- March 2017

This week has brought a much-anticipated decision by the Supreme Judicial Court regarding trust decanting, and the past month also brought the latest chapters in two cases that we reported on previously....more

Ferri v. Powell-Ferri

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

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

UPDATE: Can an Intended (and Disappointed) Beneficiary Still Sue a Will’s Drafter?: The General Assembly of Virginia Enacts a...

Back in the summer I wrote a post discussing the impacts of the Thorsen decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia. In Thorsen, a testator wanted to leave her estate to a charity if her daughter did not survive her. The...more

When Life Imitates Art

– Will Caveats or “The Family Feud” Part 2 –  The North Carolina Court of Appeals continues to publish opinions in Will Caveat cases that could easily serve as a storyline from a daytime television series. One example...more

Chris Lazarini Provides Insight on Compelling Non-Signatories to Arbitrate Disputes

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini provided insight on a case in which a widow and one-time named beneficiary of her husband's IRA account acquired the account assets after her husband's death, although she was not...more

Quick and Easy Tax Strategies Sometimes Backfire as New Jersey Estate Learns

From time to time, clients ask whether their estates will save on death taxes if they simply transfer title to their residence to family members while continuing to live in the residence until they die. We advise clients...more

Jury Trials in Surrogate’s Court Removal Proceedings

As parties prepare for trial before the Surrogate’s Court, a question that oftentimes arises is whether the parties have a right to a trial by jury. The right to a jury trial is anything but universal in Surrogate’s Court...more

Courts Hold That Multiple Probate Court Orders Were Not Appealable

In The Management Trust of Norsworthy, the court reviewed a trustee’s accountings and petition for approval to enter into an agreement with the beneficiary’s wife to make regular distributions to her for certain recurring...more

A Deceased Can't Always Will What They Want

There is a common misconception that the testator is free to leave their estate to anyone they choose. While this is largely true, certain family members who were left out or feel they were inadequately provided for under a...more

Please Release Me, Let Me Go: Court Affirms The Appointment Of A Receiver Over Ray Price’s Assets Pending A Contest

In In re Estate of Price, Ray Price, a renowned country music singer and songwriter, died in 2013 and was survived by his wife and his biological son. No. 06-16-00062-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1265 (Tex. App.—Texarkana...more

Court Holds That A One-Line Will Should Have Been Admitted To Probate

In In the Estate of Setser, the decedent signed a 1993 will naming his daughter as the sole beneficiary. No. 01-15-00855-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 937 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] February 2, 2017, no pet. history). Later,...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - February 2017

Several recent decisions serve as a good reminder that it is not only the Probate and Family Court that addresses important T&E issues in Massachusetts. In the consolidated matters of Hanna et al. v. Williams et al.,...more

“Any and All” Doesn’t Preserve Any and All Estate Claims Post-Confirmation

The Bankruptcy Code permits Chapter 11 plans to provide for the reservation of any claims or interests that that belong to the debtor or the estate, allowing the plans to be confirmed prior to the final resolution of any and...more

Be Sure to Mind your Manners in Estate Litigation

Miss Manners may just be worth listening to for those involved in wills and estate litigation. In fact, not doing so may be to your detriment given that poor conduct can cost you with the courts....more

Personal Liability of Executors for Tax Liabilities of the Estate Under the Federal Priority Statute, 31 U.S.C. 3713

This is an appeal of summary judgment by the personal representative (the “PR”) of an estate. The lower court found the PR to be personally liable under the federal priority statute, Section 3713, for tax liabilities due from...more

Wealth Management Update - February 2017

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

Statute of Limitations and Collections Process Against Executrix and Agent for Estate Tax Deficiency

United States v. Holmes - 2016 WL 4363398 (SD Tex. Aug. 16, 2016) Summary - Summary judgment was sought by both the taxpayers and the Government for an estate tax liability. The taxpayers contended that the...more

Will Caveats Or “The Family Feud”

The North Carolina Court of Appeals on December 20, 2016, issued an opinion in a case involving a Will Caveat that arose in Alamance County. The facts of this recent case illustrate very clearly the emotional and contentious...more

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

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