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Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

Read Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning updates, articles, and legal commentary from leading lawyers and law firms:

Determining Whether There Has Been Undue Influence

The presumption of undue influence when the evidence demonstrates that a person in a confidential relationship with a grantor or testator of weakened intellect receives a substantial portion of the grantor/testator’s property...more

How John Steinbeck’s Estate Planning Missteps Led to Family Feud and $13 Million Jury Award

When celebrated author John Steinbeck died in the late 1960s, he left a considerable literary legacy that included the classic American novels The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and the novella Of Mice and Men. He also...more

Alan Thicke Estate Dispute Highlights Pre-litigation Threats

by LeClairRyan on

Actor Alan Thicke – best known for his role on the TV show Growing Pains – passed away at the end of 2016, leaving behind a dispute between two of his sons and his third wife. ...more

Texas Supreme Court Will Hear Oral Argument On Whether Texas Recognizes A Claim For Tortious Interference With Inheritance Rights

by Winstead PC on

On October 11, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Anderson v. Archer, No. 03-13-00790-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2165 (Tex. App.—Austin March 2, 2016, pet. filed). In Anderson, the trial court’s judgment...more

Anti-SLAPP Case Features Arm Wrestling Siblings and a Prep School

by Downey Brand LLP on

California’s anti-SLAPP statute has generated another published case for trust and estate lawyers to ponder. Last week, in Urick v. Urick (2017) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, the California Court of Appeal confirmed that anti-SLAPP...more

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

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

Court Affirms Judgment For Estate Representative Due To A Statute-Of-Limitations Tolling Statute

by Winstead PC on

In Kaptchinskie v. Estate of Kirchner, the purchasers of property sued an estate to establish that the estate’s claim under a note was extinguished by the statute of limitations. No. 14-15-01080-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7012...more

Chris Lazarini Examines Unconscionability Claims in Arbitration Clause

by Bass, Berry & Sims PLC on

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini examined a case in which a plaintiff filed a breach of fiduciary duty claim in federal court and opposed defendants' efforts to move the claims to arbitration. The plaintiff claimed...more

A not so special leave – Mercanti v Mercanti [2017] HCA 1

by Dentons on

The High Court has recently dismissed an application for special leave to appeal the Western Australian Court of Appeal’s decision in Mercanti v Mercanti [2016] WASCA 206, in respect of a case involving amendments to a family...more

Court Affirms Summary Judgment In Will Contest Where There Was No Evidence Of Undue Influence

by Winstead PC on

In Estate of Frye, parties filed an application to set aside an order probating a will due to an allegation of undue influence. No. 07-16-00398-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6992 (Tex. App.—Amarillo July 26, 2017, no pet....more

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Estate Dispute Opinion

by LeClairRyan on

Back in June of this year, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down a ruling in an estate dispute case that, while it didn’t particularly break new legal ground, provides a helpful overview of the current state of Virginia law...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - August 2017

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

In Passero v. Fitzsimmons et al., No. 16-P-1314, 2017 WL 3567496, (August 17, 2017), the Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s finding that the defendant trustees committed a breach of trust, as well as the lower court’s...more

Court Affirms Arbitration Decision Arising From Trust Dispute

by Winstead PC on

In Saks v. Rogers, a beneficiary of a trust challenged a trial court’s enforcement of an arbitration decision. No. 04-16-00286-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6923 (Tex. App.—San Antonio July 26, 2017, no pet. history)....more

Chris Lazarini Discusses Arbitration Clause's Application to Non-Signatory

by Bass, Berry & Sims PLC on

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini discussed a case involving a Plaintiff's suit against a broker-dealer involving his deceased mother's IRA account. Although Plaintiff was a non-signatory to the IRA account...more

Court Reverses Finding of Undue Influence

by Bryan Cave on

Undue influence occurs when a person’s free will is overpowered and replaced by the will of another. In Missouri, a finding of undue influence generally requires the person who exerted influence to have been in a position of...more

Court Held That Estate Representative Was Entitled To Discover Documents To Establish A Claim

by Winstead PC on

In In re Cokinos, Boisien & Young, a representative of an estate of a deceased attorney sought documents from a law firm related to an alleged agreement to share fees. No. 05-16-01331-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6911 (Tex....more

Citizenship of Aircraft Owner Trustee Establishes Federal Court Diversity Jurisdiction

by Holland & Knight LLP on

The Southern District of New York has confirmed that when the trustee of a non-citizen aircraft trust brings suit in its own name, the citizenship of that trustee may be used to establish diversity jurisdiction in federal...more

Definitions in Shareholder Agreements Matter When Transferring Family-Owned Business Stock

by Murtha Cullina on

Owners of family-owned corporations often enter into shareholder agreements that spell out whether and to whom corporate shares can be transferred. Frequently, these agreements provide for rights of first refusal by the other...more

Do You Have a Reasonable Expectation of Receiving Dividends if You Acquired Your Shares in a Family-Owned Corporation Through Gift...

by Murtha Cullina on

Corporate shareholders often expect to receive dividends in connection with their ownership of corporate shares. This is particularly true when owners invest capital in or provide other services to the company in exchange for...more

Trust Protectors, Trust Directors, and the Uniform Directed Trust Act

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

The Uniform Directed Trust Act (the “Act”), approved July 19, 2017 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, purports to govern irrevocable directed trusts. For purposes of the Act a directed trust is...more

Third Parties Aren’t Liable for POA Agent Misconduct - But Only Up to a Point

Litigation and legislation have shaped the extent to which third parties can be held liable when agents abuse their authority under Powers of Attorney (POAs). A landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling known as the Vine...more

Win One for the Fiduciary – The PA Supreme Court Clarifies the Interplay of UTA Provisions

As counsel to fiduciaries across our great Commonwealth, I was beginning to despair that changing one’s trustee was becoming as easy as changing the oil in one’s car. In the seminal case of Trust Under Agreement of Edward...more

Appellate Court Notes

by Pullman & Comley, LLC on

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19577 - Estate of Brooks v. Commissioner of Revenue Services - Husband died in Florida in 2000 and left a large amount of securities in two QTIP trusts for the benefit of his...more

Serial Suers and Vexatious Litigants: Can Courts Prevent Someone From Filing a Lawsuit?

by LeClairRyan on

The vexatious litigant is a problem that civil litigation attorneys very likely encounter at least once during their careers. It is a well-accepted precept that courts exist, in part, for citizens to seek redress for their...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- June 2017

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

In Roth v. Newpol et al., 91 Mass. App. Ct. 699 (May 31, 2017), the Appeals Court considered whether a residuary clause in a decedent’s last will and testament disposing of "any monies remaining in [her] estate" encompassed...more

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