Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

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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

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Regarding the Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, respectively, regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans by the states. ...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Scope of Accountant-Client Privilege in Will Contests

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Brunton v. Kruger.  Brunton involves the scope of the accountant-client privilege – specifically, what happens to that privilege after the client dies, and how the...more

Ambac Sues Countrywide For Alleged Fraud in Connection with $1.7 Billion in RMBS

On December 27, Ambac Assurance Corporation filed a complaint against several Countrywide entities and Bank of America Corporation in New York state court, seeking to recover at least $600 million in damages in connection...more

Second Circuit Holds that Trust Indenture Act Does Not Apply and Dismisses RMBS Investor Claims Against BNY Mellon

On December 23, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed claims against Bank of New York Mellon, as trustee, by four pension funds in a putative class action relating to 530 Countrywide RMBS trusts...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - January 2015

As 2014 came to a close, Massachusetts state and federal courts issued decisions concerning a number of issues of interest to estate planning attorneys and probate litigation attorneys, including testamentary capacity,...more

The liability of a trustee who honors a fraudulent exercise of a power of appointment

A trustee who transfers trust property to a permissible appointee for the benefit of an impermissible appointee such that the fraud on a special power doctrine is implicated incurs no liability as a consequence, unless the...more

Best in Law: Head Off a Contest: Bolster Your No-Contest Clause

The inherent problem with safeguarding your wishes after death is that you are not here to defend them. To discourage litigation and protect your requests, most trusts contain a “no-contest” clause. The clause typically...more

Insurance for Professional Fiduciaries

In an important decision for professionals operating in the trust and asset management sector - and their employers - the English Court of Appeal has recently provided guidance in the case of Rathbone Bros Plc and Paul...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Trustee May Rescind Reverse Mortgage

During its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide an issue of importance to property and banking practitioners: is the statutory right to rescind a reverse mortgage limited to the original property owner?...more

International Estate Planning: Establishing Your Domicile

In one of our recent blog posts, we discussed the legal term “domicile” and outlined exactly why it is so important to establish the correct domicile during the estate planning process. If you are part of an international...more

Amendments to Virtual Representation Statute Take Effect on January 1, 2015

There is increasing interest among trustees and beneficiaries to resolve disputes and modify trust documents without going to court. For many years, the primary mechanism to accomplish that in Illinois has been the Virtual...more

Wealth Management Update - November 2014

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

Bank is Not Entitled to Deficiency Judgment Against Debtors Who Did Not Consent to Disposal of One of Two Properties Securing the...

The California Fifth Appellate District (Appellate Court) has decided that in a judicial foreclosure action, a bank whose loan was secured by two parcels of real property is precluded by C.C.P. section 726 (the one form of...more

Arizona Court of Appeals Recognizes Right of Publicity While Protecting Free Speech in Precedent Setting Case

For the first time ever, an Arizona state court has recognized that individuals enjoy a right of publicity that protects them from the unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial or trade purposes. In its April...more

Warner Bros.’ Super Victory: U.S. Supreme Court Effectively Ends Lengthy Superman Copyright Dispute

Warner Bros. and its DC Comics subsidiary can now breathe a bit easier, as the U.S. Supreme Court has recently declined to intervene in the ongoing dispute over the ownership rights to Superman. And so ends (at least for...more

Recent Changes to the use of Power of Attorney (POA)

Using a Power of Attorney (“POA”) could soon be a lot more complicated. New legislation was passed in Pennsylvania in an effort to minimize the opportunities for abuse perpetrated using a POA and to provide clearer guidance...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - 10/2014

With the Supreme Judicial Court’s issuance of its decisions in O’Connell v. Houser, Jr. et al., 2014 Mass. LEXIS 841 (SJC-11698) (Oct. 28, 2014) and Bank of America, N.A. v. Babcock et al., 2014 Mass. LEXIS 840 (SJC-11651)...more

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