Probate

News & Analysis as of

Recent Updates from the Attorney General’s Nonprofit Division

Several attorneys from the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division of the Office of the Attorney General (the Division) participated in an engaging panel discussion at the Boston Bar Association last week. The...more

If Only the Agreement Adequately Addressed the Tax Issue

Ozimkoski v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-228 (December 19, 2016) - Mrs. Ozimkoski (Suzanne) represented herself in this Tax Court case. She may also have represented herself in the final days of settling the...more

Jury Trials in Surrogate’s Court Removal Proceedings

As parties prepare for trial before the Surrogate’s Court, a question that oftentimes arises is whether the parties have a right to a trial by jury. The right to a jury trial is anything but universal in Surrogate’s Court...more

Courts Hold That Multiple Probate Court Orders Were Not Appealable

In The Management Trust of Norsworthy, the court reviewed a trustee’s accountings and petition for approval to enter into an agreement with the beneficiary’s wife to make regular distributions to her for certain recurring...more

Please Release Me, Let Me Go: Court Affirms The Appointment Of A Receiver Over Ray Price’s Assets Pending A Contest

In In re Estate of Price, Ray Price, a renowned country music singer and songwriter, died in 2013 and was survived by his wife and his biological son. No. 06-16-00062-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1265 (Tex. App.—Texarkana...more

Court Holds That A One-Line Will Should Have Been Admitted To Probate

In In the Estate of Setser, the decedent signed a 1993 will naming his daughter as the sole beneficiary. No. 01-15-00855-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 937 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] February 2, 2017, no pet. history). Later,...more

Executor’s Duties Before Receiving Letters

A nominated executor is obliged to secure estate assets even before the issuance of letters testamentary, or preliminary letters testamentary (see Matter of Schultz, 104 AD3d 1146 [4th Dept. 2013]). Courts have recognized...more

10 Arguments Against Pre-Death (Antemortem) Probate and Will Contests

There are a handful of states that allow a person to probate a will (and challengers to contest the validity of a will) before the testator (the person enacting the will) dies. In recent years, there has been a trend to...more

Court Holds That Will Created Void Alienation On Restraint

In Knopf v. Gray, a decedent died in 1993, and her will was admitted to probate the same year. No. 10-15-00273-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 191 (Tex. App.—Waco January 11, 2017, no pet. history). ...more

Forgiveness May Be Available For An Untimely Caveat

It’s a new year and with it comes many resolutions. Each year, a popular resolution is to be more forgiving or to forgive someone who wronged you. Apparently, trying to get a head start on its resolutions, on December 30, the...more

Court Affirms Denial Of Statutory Bill Of Review From A Trust Contest

In In re Estate of Kam, Kam sought to set aside an order probating her brother’s will via a statutory bill of review because he purportedly lacked the requisite testamentary capacity to execute the will or the will was the...more

Traps and pitfalls of joint ownership

Many people believe that owning property jointly with rights of survivorship is an effective substitute for a will. The benefit of holding property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship is that such property passes to...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - December 2016

The last several weeks have brought us two decisions in which issues of family law intersected with T&E issues. First, the decision in Heystek v. Duncan, Case No. 15-P-1201, 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1113 (Nov. 21,...more

SC Court of Appeals Confirms Probate Court’s Limited Partition Jurisdiction - Real property devolves according to the state law...

In Byrd v. McDonald, op. No. 5409 (S.C.Ct.App. filed June 8, 2016) (Shearouse Adv.Sh. No. 23 at 66) the S.C. Court of Appeals decided the appeal of a probate court action to determine heirs and partition real property. The...more

A Flood . . . in the Basement

Having examined countless witnesses in probate and other contested Surrogate’s Court proceedings, many of us have grown accustomed to learning that critical documents were destroyed by a “flood.” That flood, almost...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter - November 2016

There has not been much case law of particular relevance in the T&E area since our last newsletter, but three recent federal court decisions—one from the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and two from the United States District...more

Federal Court Dismisses Beneficiary’s Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim For Lack of Jurisdiction

In Strouse v. Strouse, a beneficiary sued an executor of an estate for breach of fiduciary duty. No. 4:16cv707, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155630 (E.D. Tex. September 27, 2016). Federal district courts are courts of limited...more

The Georgia Superior Court/Probate Court Dance

No procedural or jurisdictional issues in Georgia fiduciary litigation can cause as much headache as the sometimes exclusive and sometimes concurrent jurisdiction of the superior and probate courts. The Georgia Court of...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19516 - Doe v. Boy Scouts of America Corp. SC19516 Concurrence - Doe v. Boy Scouts of America Corp. SC19516 Concurrence - Doe v. Boy Scouts of America...more

SC Court of Appeals Holds that Intervenor Rights Trump Plaintiff's

Order which adds a party is really an order granting intervention - Introduction - The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently released the decision of Dorn v. Cohen, Op. No. 5432 (S.C.Ct. App. filed Aug. 3,...more

Court Dismisses Appeal From Order Appointing A Temporary Administrator And Reverses Temporary Injunction

In Harris v. Taylor, Harris challenged a probate court’s interlocutory order appointing a temporary administrator and a temporary injunction order enjoining her from accessing certain financial accounts. No. 01-15-00925-CV,...more

CFPB’s proposal for collection of decedent debt: a misguided approach (Part II)

In my blog post yesterday, I shared my concerns regarding the potential consequences of the CFPB’s proposed 30-day hold on all collection contacts after the date of a consumer’s death. A 30-day holding period in which...more

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

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

You have been appointed as Executor/Executrix of a loved ones estate.....should you hire an attorney?

Administering an estate, especially one with more than just your basic assets, such as a home, and a couple joint bank accounts, can be very complicated. On a basic level, an executor must produce an inventory of all assets...more

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