Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

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Court Affirms Dismissal Of Will Contest Based On Public Policy Arguments Arising From Sexual Abuse Allegations

In Merrick v. Helter, a daughter who accused her father of sexual abuse attempted to void her father’s will based on public policy grounds. No. 03-14-00708-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8966 (Tex. App.—Austin August 18, 2016, no...more

Federal Court Decision Warns Delaware: Be Prepared to Defend Audit Practices in Court

The United States District Court for the District of Delaware dismissed a lawsuit against the Delaware State Escheator, Abandoned Property Audit Manager, and the Secretary of Finance, and Kelmar Associates, LLC, but it came...more

Settlement Reached in Temple-Inland; Delaware Internally Reviewing Unclaimed Property Audit Practices

The court case challenging Delaware’s unclaimed property audit methodologies has settled following an opinion brutalizing Delaware’s position. This settlement leaves the US District Court for the District of Delaware...more

Do not break the trust after a trust is created - The law on concurrence examined

Dentons Rodyk acted for Mdm Harianty Wibawa, the settlor of an offshore discretionary trust which has a value exceeding US$45 million (taking into account distributions of some US$10 million). One of the beneficiaries and the...more

Court Grants Mandamus Relief To Void Order Naming An Executor More Than Three Years After Admitting Will To Probate As A Muniment...

In In re Squyres, in 2012, Baker filed with the probate court an application to probate a will as a muniment of title. No. 01-16-00236-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8509 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] August 9, 2016, no pet....more

Missouri Commercial Receivership Act Creates a New Statutory Scheme Which Presents a More Robust Remedy

The Missouri Commercial Receivership Act (MCRA), passed by the Missouri legislature and just signed into law by Governor Nixon, becomes effective Aug. 28, 2016. It expands, clarifies and fleshes out the existing minimal...more

Statement of Pierce O’Donnell, Attorney for Keryn Redstone - Massachusetts Judge Denies Motions To Dismiss In Redstone Lawsuit

In a 76-page decision, Judge George Phelan has denied today the motions to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Philippe Dauman and George Abrams challenging the mental capacity of Sumner M. Redstone and the undue influence exerted...more

Double Down! - Inter-Generational Split Dollar Throws Sand in the Face of the IRS Again

Recently I wrote an article on JD Supra called Split to Be Tied (May 4, 2016) regarding the Tax Court decision in Estate of Morrissette, (Estate of Clara M. Morrissette v. Commissioner, 146 T.C. No. 11 (April 13, 2016)). Once...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

Court Affirms Order Requiring Partition of Property Where Fiduciary’s Homestead Argument Failed

In Byrom v. Penn, Byrom was appointed executor of his mother’s estate, and he was later removed as executor for breach of fiduciary duty by using estate funds to build a house for himself. No. 12-15-00033-CV, 2016 Tex. App....more

Plaintiff Who Could Not Afford to Pay for Arbitration Was Allowed to Pursue Her Malpractice Action in Court

Tillman adv. Rheingold Firm, No. 13-56624, 2016 BL 190432 (9th Cir. June 15, 2016) - Brief Summary - A former client who had agreed to arbitrate disputes with her lawyers, but ultimately could not afford to pay the...more

Court Affirms Judgment Against Executor That Deeded Estate Property To Himself

In In the Estate of Montemayor, the trial court entered summary judgment for an estate beneficiary on a claim to quiet title as against the independent executor, who had deeded estate property to himself. No. 04-15-00397-CV,...more

Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries

In the Matter of Estate of Leon C. Chamberlain, 135 A.D.3d 1052 (N.Y. App. Div. Jan. 7, 2016) - Modification of trust terms is appropriate where limitations on investments permitted under trust instrument frustrated the...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- July 2016 #2

The first two weeks of July have brought us some warm weather and three new decisions worth noting: First, in Bank of America, N.A. v. Commissioner of Revenue, Docket No. SJC-11995 (July 11, 2016), the Supreme Judicial...more

Court Voided Judgment Based On Family Settlement Agreement Where Party Revoked Consent

In In re Estate of Spiller, a party appealed an order admitting a will to probate and ordering the independent administrator to distribute the estate in accordance with a family settlement agreement. No. 04-15-00449-CV, 2016...more

Court Affirms A Rule 202 Pre-Suit Deposition Order In A Will Contest And Discusses The Acceptance-Of-The-Benefits Doctrine

In In re Meeker, individuals sought a mandamus to reverse a trial court’s order granting a Rule 202 pre-suit deposition order. No. 02-16-00103-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 6883 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth June 29, 2016, original...more

Court Affirms Power Of Attorney Holder’s Right To Revoke Gift

In Wise v. Mitchell, a power of attorney holder, Mitchell, filed a revocation of a deed that the principal issued to Wise. No. 05-15-00610-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 6502 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 20, 2016, no pet. history). After...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- July 2016 #1

Two decisions issued in June will be of interest to probate litigators and estate planning lawyers. The Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision in late June with an interesting twist on the burden required to...more

Breaking News: Federal Court Finds Delaware’s Unclaimed Property Enforcement “Shocks the Conscience”

On June 28, 2016, the much-anticipated memorandum opinion of the US District Court for the District of Delaware in Temple-Inland, Inc. v. Cook et al., No. 14-654-GMS was released on the parties’ cross-motions for summary...more

Court Affirms Order Denying An Administrator’s Attorney’s Fees

In In re Estate of Williams, attorney Don Ford was appointed an administrator of an estate and hired himself as an attorney for the estate. No. 05-15-00392-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 5990 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 6, 2016, no pet....more

Court Reverses A Probate Order Requiring An Executor To Distribute Real Property Free Of Any Liens

In In re Estate of Heider, a probate court ordered that an executor should distribute real property to a beneficiary free of liens. No. 05-14-00436-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 5978 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 6, 2016, no pet....more

Court Reverses Decision On The Fair Market Value Of A Residence Due To The Surviving Spouse’s Interest

In Estate of Sloan, a wife died leaving her home, and her husband was the executor of her estate. No. 02-15-00198-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 6465 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth June 16, 2016, no pet. history). The wife’s will left all...more

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Ruling Regarding Guardianship Orders

A recent Virginia Supreme Court case highlights the importance of using precise language in an order appointing a guardian, as well as ensuring that when a guardian files suit on behalf of a ward, the guardian sues in the...more

Court Reverses New Trial Order After A Jury Verdict On A Trust Dispute

In In re Jones, there was a jury trial on the issue of whether a revocable trust was revoked such that the trustee, Jones, or the settlor’s executor, Coyle, had the right to the trust assets. No. 05-16-0081-CV, 2016 Tex. App....more

Tables Turned: 21 States Tell Delaware to “Fork Over Our Unclaimed Property!"

The latest salvo in an ongoing battle against Delaware was fired on June 9, when 21 states, led by Texas and Arkansas, filed a motion in the U.S. Supreme Court to force Delaware to return to the States between $150 million...more

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