Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Civil Procedure

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New Duty of Consistency and Basis Reporting Requirement

Under IRC §1014(a), the income tax basis of property acquired from a decedent is generally its fair market value on the date of death, or alternate valuation date if the executor makes an election under IRC §2032. Under Treas...more

Does a Class Gift to Children Include Adult Adoptees?

The Probate Code says no, in most cases, but a recent court decision said yes. Here’s what happened in Sanders v Yanez (July 30, 2015, H041578) 2015 Cal App Lexis 662....more

Connecticut Increases Probate Court Fees for Certain Estates

Connecticut recently enacted legislation that substantially increases probate court fees for certain estates of Connecticut residents dying on or after January 1, 2015. Given that several of you have asked how these changes...more

Ray Charles Foundation v. Robinson - USCA, Ninth Circuit, July 31, 2015

Ninth Circuit reverses lower court’s dismissal for lack of standing of action brought by Ray Charles Foundation, finding that Foundation, sole beneficiary of music legend’s estate, had standing to challenge validity of...more

Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries

In re Estate of House, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 3006 (Wash. Ct. App. 2014) - A release waiving any and all claims that the parties may have or may acquire, bars recovery for unknown claims existing at the time the release...more

"Duke" Blazes a New Trail in Estate Law - California Supreme Court Reverses Course, Changing 50 Years of Precedent

The California Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated decision in Estate of Duke July 27, 2015, changing the way in which all state courts evaluate wills prospectively. At issue was a rule established by the Supreme Court...more

New Developments in Estate and Gift Tax Valuation Cases

A number of recent cases highlight particular issues in valuation of assets for purposes of the estate and gift tax. On July 6, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service settled Estate of Davidson v. Commissioner, T.C. Docket No....more

How Far Back Can a Back Tax Go? Petition for Certiorari in Hambleton Asks Supreme Court to Right Unjust Retroactivity

Retroactivity is an endemic problem in the state tax world. In this year alone, we have seen retroactive repeal of the Multistate Tax Compact (MTC) in Michigan, as well as significant retroactivity issues in New York, New...more

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Ruling Regarding Missing Wills

The Virginia Supreme Court recently issued a ruling relating to missing wills and the legal standard courts must apply when an original will cannot be found and therefore an executor seeks to probate a copy of the will. While...more

Court Warns That Marriage Does Not Render A Spouse Automatically Entitled To Preexisting Life Insurance Policies

In a recent unpublished decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division has again stressed the importance of complying with the beneficiary designation requirements contained in life insurance policies. See Fox v. Lincoln...more

Supreme Court Hits Home Run for 401(K) Plan Beneficiaries

This week’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in Tibble v. Edison International, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 3171 (May 18, 2015), is expected to trigger an increase in lawsuits against 401(k) plan fiduciaries....more

Supreme Court Decides Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif

On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif, (No. 13-935), holding that Article III does not prevent bankruptcy judges from entering final judgment on claims that seek only...more

Partition Me? Unmarried Joint Tenants with Full Rights of Survivorship Fail to State a Claim

In the recent case of Hrit v McKeon, No 317988, 2015 WL 447474 (Mich Ct App Feb 3, 2015), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted when she filed an action...more

Supreme Court Ruling Heightens Pressure on Fiduciaries to Monitor 401(k) Plan Investments

On May 18th, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Tibble et al. v. Edison International et al., No. 13-550 (S. Ct. May 18, 2015) that ordinary principles of trust law impose on ERISA fiduciaries a duty to continually...more

Supreme Court Instructs Ninth Circuit to Consider Common Law of Trusts in Applying ERISA's Statute of Limitations

The Supreme Court has once again emphasized the importance of ERISA’s origins in the common law of trusts, this time in interpreting its statute of limitations. On May 18, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in...more

Lessons Learned from the Robin Williams Litigation

Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014, and it did not take long for litigation to be filed over his estate, or more specifically, his living trust. Mr. Williams last rewrote his trust in January 2012, not long after marrying...more

Daubert In Virginia State Court: Where Do Things Stand Now?

The past few months have seen a flurry of developments as to the extent to which Daubert and its progeny are authoritative in Virginia state court proceedings....more

Socially Aware - Volume 6, Issue 2 - May 2015

In This Issue: - Court Protects Anonymity of Yelp Users - FTC Issues Landmark Report on Internet of Things - Who Will Update My Status When I’m Dead?: The Biggest Social Media Platforms’ Policies on...more

Trust Matters Update - May 2015

The Trust Matters Update is a periodical summary of cases, case comments, consultations, publications, legislative developments, legal updates, articles and news in the area of trust law and related issues. 1. Can...more

North Carolina Business Court Rules Tax on Trust Unconstitutional

The North Carolina Business Court held North Carolina’s taxation of a trust unconstitutional in Kaestner v. North Carolina Department of Revenue. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-160.2 imposes a tax on the undistributed income of a...more

Wealth Management Update - May 2015

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

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

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