Wills

News & Analysis as of

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

Sharp as a Tack . . . Clear as a Bell

Very often, when the proponent of a will (and sometimes even the attorney-draftsperson or witness) is questioned about the decedent’s mental state and the decedent’s instructions, the reflexive response is that the decedent...more

HEIRS ACCORDING TO SHARIAH - Principles of Succession

Shariah lays down the relations that qualify as heirs following the death of an individual. The deceased's estate can only be transferred to persons who qualify as heirs under Shariah Law principles. Anyone who does not...more

Top Four Estate Disputes from 2016

With the end of 2016 upon us, now is a fitting time to look back at some of the top estate disputes from this past year. 2016 was a typical year in that, unsurprisingly, people continued to die and families continued to fight...more

iWill or iWon’t

Ever wondered what will happen to your Facebook page when you die? The California Legislature has recently weighed in. Effective as of January 1, 2017, California will have its first law to specifically address the handling...more

Some Not So Obvious Reasons to Have a Will

Many times I have heard the following questions from prospective clients: “If my things will pass to my spouse and children automatically, why do I need a Will?” or “My estate is not large enough to be subject to estate...more

Gurlitt Bequest to Kunstmuseum Bern is Upheld

Cousin Had Challenged His Capacity to Make a Will Shortly Before 2014 Death - After a two-year legal battle, the Oberlandesgericht in Munich has upheld the dismissal of Uta Werner’s challenge to the will made by...more

Wealth Management Update - December 2016

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

What You Should Know About Determining Capacity in Ohio

One definition of “capacity” refers to the maximum amount/number that something can contain (e.g., a freezer’s capacity is 1.1 cubic feet; the capacity of a public room is 140 people). “Capacity” also describes an ability to...more

Personal Planning Strategies - December 2016

2017 Estate, Gift and GST Tax Update: What This Means for Your Current Will, Revocable Trust and Estate Plan - As we previously reported, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the "Act") made the following permanent:...more

6 estate planning techniques for blended families

A “blended family” is more than just a staple of TV sitcoms. Today, it’s not unusual for a household to include children and even grandchildren from prior marriages, as well as adopted family members or same-sex couples....more

Law Passed Amending NPCL

Over the summer, we posted about Bill No. A. 10365B/S. 7913, containing amendments to the New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law (the “NPCL”) and the New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (the “EPTL”) here. After...more

A Post-Mortem, Spousal Surprise: Can My Husband Write Me Out of His Will?

Imagine this potentially devastating situation. Your spouse unexpectedly dies. You find his will and discover, shockingly, that he left everything to his adult son (or his mistress)! Is there anything you can do? This...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

4 Must-Have Documents When Planning Your Estate

President Abraham Lincoln. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. Singer/songwriter Bob Marley. NFL quarterback Steve McNair. Singer/songwriter...more

Do It Yourself Wills: Will They Lead to More Litigation?

Here’s my prediction: do it yourself wills, also referred to as “homemade wills” or “online wills” or “internet wills” (I’ll refer to them in this blog post as “DIY Wills”) will result in a significant (though not massive)...more

Private Ruling Exempts Property Management Services from Self-Dealing

A new private ruling may be of great interest to clients with substantial real estate interests who wish to contribute one or more properties to a family foundation. The ruling suggests that payment by the foundation to a...more

Court Affirms Finding That Will Was Lost And Not Revoked

In In the Estate of Burrell, a trial court admitted a copy of will to probate, and a contestant appealed. No. 09-14-00345-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 10421 (Tex. App.—Beaumont September 22, 2016, no pet. history). This case was...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

California Passes Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

On September 24, 2016, the Governor of California approved the California Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which “would authorize a decedent’s personal representative or trustee to access and manage...more

Who Would Inherit Darth Vader’s Estate?

Who would be the beneficiary of the estate of Darth Vader? The answer is more than just an exercise in Star Wars fiction; in fact, the answer can teach us important lessons about estate disputes in our real world....more

Wealth Management Update - September 2016

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

Is Your Will Up to Date? - Trusts and Estates Update Volume 2016, Issue 1

Once again, a celebrity dies, and people are shocked that he died without a will. Just this past April, after the death of the well-known artist Prince, we learned that he did not have a will, and controversy is swirling...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

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