News & Analysis as of

Probate Wills

Court Affirms Summary Judgment In Will Contest Where There Was No Evidence Of Undue Influence

by Winstead PC on

In Estate of Frye, parties filed an application to set aside an order probating a will due to an allegation of undue influence. No. 07-16-00398-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6992 (Tex. App.—Amarillo July 26, 2017, no pet....more

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s Sibling Lawyer!

by Downey Brand LLP on

I’m a sibling lawyer. My career started early, as a middle child, and now continues as a Sacramento-based trust and estate litigation attorney. Most of my clients are grappling with sisters or brothers over the care and...more

Who Determines How to Celebrate Your Life and the Disposition of You When You Die?

An often-overlooked step in the estate planning process is determining how you want the world to celebrate your life and determining your final resting place. If not addressed, conflict may occur because different loved ones...more

Estate Planning Pitfall: You die without having drafted a will

Where there’s a will, there’s a way — a way to pass assets to heirs in the manner in which a person wants. However, if an individual dies without a will, assets will be distributed according to state law, regardless of the...more

A Will Must Be Signed, Right?

by Dickinson Wright on

Wrong. In a recently published case, the Michigan Court of Appeals took what has previously been taken as fact – that a will needs to be signed for it to be admitted to probate – and turned it on its head. In In re Estate...more

Forcing the Production of Information in Probate Litigation When You Have Been Disinherited

by Reminger Co., LPA on

Can a disinherited person force the production of information necessary to substantiate the efforts required to pursue a challenge to a Will, beneficiary designation, or Trust? Isolation and manipulation of a loved one by...more

On Its Own Motion

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

While most decisions rendered by the Surrogate’s Court result from an affirmative request for relief, occasionally the court will address an issue on its own motion when justice or the exercise of its inherent or statutory...more

Are You Considering A Revocable Living Trust?

The revocable living trust is often advertised as a “must have” part of your estate plan. While a revocable living trust may be useful in some situations, it is not an estate planning cure all. The following are issues to...more

Sometimes It’s Just a Question of Standing

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

A person’s standing to interpose objections to probate is governed by SCPA §1410, which provides that, - any person whose interest in property or in the estate of the testator would be adversely affected by the admission...more

Jury Trials in Surrogate’s Court Removal Proceedings

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

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

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

by Winstead PC on

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

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

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

by LeClairRyan on

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 Affirms Denial Of Statutory Bill Of Review From A Trust Contest

by Winstead PC on

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

A Flood . . . in the Basement

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

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

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

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

Appellate Court Notes

by Pullman & Comley, LLC on

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

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

by Winstead PC on

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...

by Winstead PC on

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

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

by Winstead PC on

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

How Non-Probate Assets Can Affect Your Estate Plan: A Few Cautionary Tales

by Ward and Smith, P.A. on

When you think about the control of your possessions and assets after your death, you probably think of a Will and probate. A Will is a written, legally enforceable declaration that states how you wish your assets to be...more

Tax Law Blog: More Issues for Prince's Lack of Estate Planning

by Davis Brown Law Firm on

I’m not typically one to follow pop culture, but in the case of Prince’s lack of an estate plan, I’m following closely how this can serve as an example of how not to do your estate plan. An earlier post discussed the...more

Trial & Heirs: 5 Estate Planning Stumbling Blocks

by Gray Reed & McGraw on

Last month, Prince died at the ripe young age of 57. He had no will, as reported by his only full sibling (a sister). She filed for probate of his estate in Minnesota, where he owned a home in Paisley Park. Under Minnesota...more

Lack of a Will Could Mean Chaos for Prince's Estate

The famed recording artist Prince died leaving an unknown fortune and possibly no will or estate plan to dictate what to do with that fortune. Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, told the probate court in the Minnesota county where...more

3 Strange Things About Prince’s Estate

by LeClairRyan on

There are several unusual factors at play in the drama that is unfolding surrounding Prince’s estate. This blog post discusses them and offers some tips so that you can hopefully avoid a similar situation....more

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