Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

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Prince: Is His Legacy Really Untold?

As we’ve all seen in the news, musician Prince passed away on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. According to news sources, on April 26, just five days later, one of Prince’s six siblings, his sister Tyka Nelson, filed...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 4/27/16

On March 25, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a breach of fiduciary duty case that turns, in part, on an analysis of the Supreme Judicial Court’s 2014 decision on damages in the widely-discussed matter of...more

Court Affirms Holding That A Trust Owns Stock That Was Issued To The Trustee In His Individual Capacity

In Dutcher v. Dutcher-Phipps Crane & Rigging, Inc., a trust owned twenty percent of a family limited partnership that in turn owned a family business. No. 08-15-00202-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 3809 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2016, no...more

Estate of Clara M. Morrissette Secures Victory in Groundbreaking Estate Tax Case

In a case of first impression, the United States Tax Court ruled in favor of a taxpayer whose estate planning focused on the preservation and succession of a 70-year-old family-owned business. In Estate of Clara M....more

Court Holds That Order Allowing A Successor Trustee And Reinstating A Prior Trustee Is Appealable

In In re Tipps, an elderly woman’s son became trustee of a trust due to her incompetency, and the son and his brother went to a mediation concerning a guardianship proceeding and other issues. No. 05-14-01495-CV, 2016 Tex....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

New York Supreme Court Dismisses ACE Action Re-Asserting Repurchase Claims against DB Structured Products

On March 29, 2016, Justice Marcy Friedman of the New York Supreme Court rejected the trustee’s attempt to renew previously dismissed claims in ACE Securities v. DB Structured Products, Inc. As we previously reported, the...more

TN COA: Trustee Lacked Authority To Enter Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently held that a trustee’s signature of brokerage account agreement containing a pre-dispute arbitration clause did not bind the trust’s minor beneficiary. The Court held that an “all...more

Detecting and Defending Financial Elder Abuse

It is estimated that six million seniors are subject to financial elder abuse each year. Financial elder abuse can take many forms: deceptive advertising for products with hidden charges or that simply do not work as...more

Florida Court Says it’s Not Fraud When Misrepresentations are Made During Settlement Negotiations

When settling a case, litigators are naturally focused on avoiding “Round 2” of the litigation for their clients. Toward this goal, lawyers avoid drafting settlement agreements that include any sort of representations or...more

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds the "Strict Privity Rule" When Interpreting Attorney-Client Relationship

Baker v. Wood, Ris & Hames, Professional Corporation, 364 P. 3d 872 (January 16, 2016) - Brief Summary - Colorado Supreme Court, en banc, analyzed whether dissatisfied beneficiaries of a testator-client's estate...more

New SSA Policy Makes It Easier to Understand Why Your Special Needs Trust Was Rejected

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently issued an Emergency Message to all personnel requiring workers to specifically inform Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants or beneficiaries of the reasons a special...more

Court Holds That Will Did Not Revoke Inter Vivos Trust

In Gordon v. Gordon, a man and his wife executed a revocable trust agreement and began to fund the trust. No. 11-14-00086-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 3357 (Tex. App.—Eastland March 31, 2016, no pet. history). The couple later...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

Court Affirmed Holding That Trust Owned Real Estate And Was Entitled To Attorney’s Fees

In Courtade v. Estrada, Estrada created an inter vivos irrevocable trust and deeded real estate into the trust. No. 02-14-00295-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 3105 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth March 24, 2016, no pet. history). Two days...more

Appellate Court Notes

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: AC38454 - In re Daniel N. AC36701 - State v. Adams - AC36701 Dissent - State v. Adams - AC37362 - Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Thompson...more

Is there a practical difference between Equitable Deviation and Cy Pres when it comes to seeking modification under the Uniform...

Assume an income-only charitable trust with the following administrative term: The trustee may only invest in “insured bank accounts and government securities.” Section 412(b) of the Uniform Trust Code (UTC) provides that a...more

When is a Will Not a Will? Court Determines that “Will” Was Not a Valid Will or a Valid Gift Deed and that Decedent Later Lacked...

In Lemus v. Aguilar, relatives fought over ownership of a decedent’s home. No. 04-14-00609-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2685 (Tex. App.—San Antonio Mar. 16, 2016, no pet. h.). ...more

Court Addresses Common-Disaster Provision In Will

In Stephens v. Beard, a husband shot his wife, who died immediately, and then shot himself. He died hours later in the hospital. No. 12-13-00160-CV, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 3895 (Tex. App.—Tyler April 10, 2014), rev’d, No....more

Wealth Management Update - March 2016

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

In 3 Recent Decisions, Supreme Court of Arkansas Deeply Divided on Arbitration

The Supreme Court of Arkansas has issued three opinions within the span of four weeks, all on the topic of whether defendants can compel arbitration. Each of the opinions came with a vigorous dissent. The cases offer an...more

Court Reverses Finding Of Undue Influence In A Will Contest And Discusses Requirements To Execute A Will

In In re Estate of Kam, an elderly man executed a new will to omit any gift to one son after the man discovered that his life insurance had been altered to name his son as the sole beneficiary. No. 08-14-00016-CV, 2016 Tex....more

Defence & Indemnity - February 2016: V. Surety and Bond Issues: The relationship between trust and lien claims under Provincial...

Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd. v. Structal Heavy Steel, 2015 SCC 43, per Rothstein, J. - I. FACTS AND ISSUES - Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd. (“Dominion”) was the general contractor of a football...more

Molek v. Molek and Parol Partitions

Oral agreements to partition lands are tricky situations that must be dealt with carefully when analyzing the title to a piece of property. Known legally as parol partitions, these agreements often arise in the context of...more

Doctrinal Wall Blocks Unincorporated Entity from Diversity Jurisdiction

In Americold Realty Trust v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., et al. (No. 14-1382, decided 3/7/16), the Supreme Court of the United States applied its “oft-repeated rule” regarding the citizenship of unincorporated entities to a Maryland...more

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