Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

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T&E Litigation Newsletter- May 2015

In Lesanto v. Lesanto, Case No. 12-P-1111, 2015 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 318 (April 21, 2015), the Appeals Court reversed a judgment of the Probate Court reforming a trust. ...more

Texas Considers Asbestos Transparency Legislation

Texas is the latest state to consider legislation aimed at increasing transparency between the civil tort and asbestos bankruptcy trust systems. Four states, most recently West Virginia, have enacted such legislation. Texas...more

Court Of Chancery Explains How To Prove Bad Faith

While not a corporate case, this decision is useful in explaining how to prove a party acted in bad faith so as to be outside the exculpation provisions of a trust or Sec. 102(b)(7). ...more

Participant’s Estate Fails to Show a Claim For Failure to Give Notice of Right to Continue Life Insurance Coverage: Estate of...

Providing a practical lesson on determining a duty to give notice to ERISA participants, the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida dismissed the claim by the estate of an ERISA group life insurance plan...more

Planning for Incapacity

While an estate plan has obvious uses - i.e., planning for the disposition of estate assets after the death of a testator - some of the lesser-known benefits of a well-written plan are the provisions that provide for both...more

High Net Worth Family Tax Report, Vol. 10, No. 1

Recent Case Illustrates Importance of Keeping Legal Entities in Good Standing - A recent United States Tax Court case illustrates the importance of keeping legal entities in good standing. In Medical Weight Control...more

West Virginia Becomes Latest State to Adopt Asbestos Transparency Legislation

On March 15, 2015, West Virginia became the fourth state to enact legislation aimed at increasing transparency between the civil tort and asbestos bankruptcy trust systems. Senate Bill 411, also known as the Asbestos...more

Ruling Highlights the Need for Testamentary Intent for Holographic Codicil

Last month, the Fairfax, Virginia Circuit Court issued a written opinion that, while it does not break new law in Virginia, illustrates how a writing must demonstrate “testamentary intent” to qualify as a valid holographic...more

Deceased Employee's ADA Claim Becomes Property of Estate

What happens when a plaintiff pursuing a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act dies during administrative or judicial review? Are the claims of such a personal nature that they expire along...more

Copyright Co-Owner’s Ability to Grant an Exclusive Right to a Third Party - Corbello v. DeVito

Revisiting the issue of a copyright co-owner’s right to grant an exclusive right to a third party, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified its prior ruling in Sybersound v. UAV, and explained that a...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- April 2015

On April 6th the Appeals Court issued a decision concerning standing in guardianship proceedings under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”) that may influence future cases involving the interpretation of other...more

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Accountant is Holder of Privilege, No Testamentary Exception

Late in the March term, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Brunton v. Kruger, an opinion with potentially significant implications for Illinois accountants. Brunton posed three related questions about the...more

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Information Provided to a CPA Is Privileged Information Held by the Accountant Alone

In examining the issue of the accountant-client privilege for the first time, the Supreme Court of Illinois recently ruled that the privilege belongs to the accountant, not the client. In Brunton v. Kruger, 2015 IL 117663...more

Reach Out And Designate Someone?

The seemingly staid world of retirement plan beneficiary designations was surprised by a recent federal appeals court decision suggesting that a new beneficiary could be designated by a telephone call. ...more

Recent Superior Court Decision Underscores Difficulty and Need for Caution When Determining Appealability of Orphans' Court Orders

For several years, Pennsylvania judges, lawyers, and (even) rulemakers have struggled to define when an order entered in an Orphans’ Court proceeding is immediately appealable. The issue, of course, is critical, because...more

Capacity at Issue? Consider Making a Video

When you’re preparing a will or trust for someone for whom capacity might later be raised as an issue, you have a potentially powerful tool that can help avoid later disputes: video. There’s nothing like a judge seeing a...more

Court Hears Arguments in Litigation Challenging the Constitutionality of North Carolina’s Taxation of Trusts

The Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Trust (the “Trust”) originated from the Joseph Lee Rice, III Family 1992 Trust (the “JLR Trust”) created in 1992. The JLR Trust was created in New York when its initial trustee and settlor were...more

Punishing Good Deeds in California

Most state treasurers now demand that life insurers search public databases, such as the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF), for potential claims. State treasurers similarly require insurers to remit...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

(US) Revised Pennsylvania Statute Creates Power of Attorney Chaos

The Pennsylvania Legislature enacted extensive changes to Title 56 of the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code affecting powers of attorney, effective as of January 1, 2015. The amendments create a number of issues for...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

California Supreme Court to Review Controversial Documentary Transfer Tax Case

The California Court of Appeal recently held, in 926 North Ardmore Avenue v. County of Los Angeles, that a documentary transfer tax is triggered when a transfer of an interest in a business entity that owns real property...more

Debtor-trustees can run but they can’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment

Judgment debtors often try to use the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination to avoid post-judgment discovery of their assets and income. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri...more

Beneficiaries Lack Standing to Challenge Trustee's Actions in Bankruptcy Court

In a recent ruling on In re Land Securities Investors, Ltd., the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado ruled that trust beneficiaries do not have standing to appear in a bankruptcy case even when the...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

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