News & Analysis as of

Wills

How John Steinbeck’s Estate Planning Missteps Led to Family Feud and $13 Million Jury Award

When celebrated author John Steinbeck died in the late 1960s, he left a considerable literary legacy that included the classic American novels The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and the novella Of Mice and Men. He also...more

The Wrong Estate Executor Can Make Family Drama Worse, As Jerry Garcia’s Heirs Discovered

When Grateful Dead legend Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995 at age 53, he left his assets to his third wife, three daughters by two ex-wives, a fourth daughter by a former girlfriend, and a step-daughter, among...more

When Is a Will Valid in California?

by Downey Brand LLP on

Although much wealth passes today through trusts and beneficiary designations, we occasionally handle California probate disputes that turn on the validity of wills, sometimes involving high value estates....more

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way?

by Pessin Katz Law, P.A. on

On August 25, 2017, Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals (the “Court”), visited issues arising from the statute providing for the valid execution, particularly attestation, of a Maryland will based on a statute that...more

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

Court Reverses Finding of Undue Influence

by Bryan Cave on

Undue influence occurs when a person’s free will is overpowered and replaced by the will of another. In Missouri, a finding of undue influence generally requires the person who exerted influence to have been in a position of...more

How A POA Can Change Your Will

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

The Delaware Supreme Court has just reached a decision that highlights the importance of taking the time to review your estate planning documents each and every year to ensure that the documents still fit, and not...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

Take It or Leave It: The Perilous Decision of Whether to Violate a No Contest Clause

by Downey Brand LLP on

One of the most dramatic areas of California trust and estate litigation is no contest clauses. No contest clauses bring a made-for-tv excitement to the practice of trust and estate law because of the risk of...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

Top Six Reasons NOT to Have an Estate Plan

Tired of bossy blogs telling you to get an estate plan? Good advice is boring. Your life is exciting and should have a dramatic ending. And you can have it. ...more

Wealth Management Update - July 2017

by Proskauer Rose LLP on

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

Insight on Estate Planning - August/September 2017

In This Issue: - An uncertain tax climate: An estate tax repeal might result in negative tax consequences for some families - A 529 plan can benefit your estate plan - Would a spendthrift trust help achieve your...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

Avoid An Unpleasant Surprise: Review Your Will Regularly

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

Many people sign a will and assume they never need to look at it again. As lawyers, we prepare wills that are flexible and deal with multiple possible (even if unlikely) scenarios, but sometimes an unanticipated change and an...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

When Should I Get a Last Will and Testament?

by Reminger Co., LPA on

Lexis Nexis claims that 55% of American adults do not have a last will and testament or some kind of an estate plan. This means that more than half of American estates have their personal assets pass via intestacy - without a...more

What You Can Do To Minimize the Likelihood of Someone Contesting Your Will

by Moskowitz LLP on

In our first two posts in this series, we discussed who has legal standing to challenge a will and what grounds may form the basis of a will contest. In this third and final post on will contests, we will introduce a few...more

Who Can Bring Forth a Challenge

by Moskowitz LLP on

Following Richard Pratt’s death in 2009, Madison Ashton claimed that she had left her profession as a sex worker to become the Australian billionaire’s kept mistress. Pratt had apparently promised the former Penthouse Pet a...more

The Best Housewarming Gift for the Unmarried Couple: An Estate Plan

“Thinking too long about doing something is often the reason it never gets done.” –Everyday Life Lessons - In recent years, a growing number of Americans are deciding to cohabitate instead of getting married or...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

Estate planning during divorce: It’s never too early to start

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Estate plans prepared for married couples will vary in complexity and detail but generally follow the same theme: The revocable trust or will typically provides that upon the death of the first spouse, the surviving spouse...more

Lawyers' Opinions Matter When a Will Is Prepared

by Bennett Jones LLP on

When a Will is challenged on the basis of allegations of undue influence, incapacity, or suspicious circumstances, the court will look at various factors to decide if the Will should be followed or declared invalid. These...more

Fortify your estate plan against undue influence claims

A person can reasonably expect the declarations in his or her will to be carried out, as required by law. Usually, that’s exactly what happens. However, at other times, the will could be contested and his or her true...more

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