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Professional Malpractice Civil Remedies Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

Read Professional Malpractice updates, alerts, news, and legal analysis from leading lawyers and law firms:

Could seeking judicial enforcement of a trust's no-contest clause implicate the state's anti-SLAPP statute?

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

On January 1, 2013, I posted on JDSUPRA some content entitled "Trial lawyers beware of the in terrorem trust clause: A nasty trap that can keep on springing," which is still accessible. The focus of the piece is the lawyer...more

Does a removed trustee have a duty to see to it that the fiduciary reins are assumed by a qualified successor?

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

A removed trustee retains myriad residual fiduciary duties and liabilities. The most obvious is the duty not to betray the confidences of the entrustment going forward. Less self-evident is the removed trustee’s residual...more

Allowing in parol evidence as to a trust-settlor's intent: Construing trust terms versus reforming them

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

In the Missouri case of Mense v. Rennick, 491 S.W.3d 661 (Mo. App. 2016), the testimony of the settlor-beneficiary of an irrevocable trust as to what she had intended was not allowed in, the court having determined that the...more

Residual liability in the trust context of excluded fiduciaries

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

Some states by statute have introduced into their trust jurisprudence the concept of the excluded fiduciary: In the case of a trust the terms of which allocate fiduciary functions between the trustee and, say, a trust...more

A permissible beneficiary's equitable property interest under an irrevocable discretionary trust is contingent, not vested, the...

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

A permissible beneficiary’s equitable property interest under a discretionary trust is contingent, not vested. The critical condition precedent that renders the interest contingent is that the trustee must exercise his...more

The constructive general inter vivos power of appointment: A trap for the unwary trustee and his counsel

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

The constructive general inter vivos power of appointment is the product of the marriage of power of appointment doctrine and creditors’ rights doctrine. It is a topic that is taken up in §4.1.3 of Loring and Rounds: A...more

The Uniform Trust Code’s stealth attack on the Trustee’s time-honored duty to defend his trust

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

One of the critical duties of a trustee traditionally has been to defend his trust against internal attacks. By that I mean to defend the trust against those who, in contravention of the settlor’s intentions as expressed in...more

A valid Massachusetts testamentary trust may now arise under a will that was not fully executed (signed by the will witnesses)...

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

Massachusetts has broken new ground in allowing a will to be fully executed (signed by the will witnesses) after the death of the testator, with no time period specified. In the upcoming 2014 edition of Loring and Rounds: A...more

The Trust Being a Multi-Party Relationship, Whom Legal Counsel Represents Can Get Complicated

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

The trust being a multi-party relationship, it is not always that easy to discern at any given time whom legal counsel is representing, or should be representing, in matters relating to the trust’s creation and...more

Trial lawyers beware of the in terrorem trust clause: A nasty trap that can keep on springing.

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

An “in terrorem” or “no-contest” clause in a trust instrument provides for the forfeiture or reduction of the equitable property interest of a beneficiary who contests the arrangement. In a recent New Hampshire case, Shelton,...more

Does a trust beneficiary incur any personal liability?

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

As a general rule, one assumes no personal liability when one becomes a trust beneficiary. There are some exceptions, however. Charles E. Rounds, Jr. explains in Section 5.6 of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook (2012)....more

Mediation and Arbitration have their limitations when it comes to trust disputes.

by Charles E. Rounds, Jr. on

Unless the fiduciary issues and the representation issues in a trust dispute are properly sorted out in advance, there is a very real risk that an ill-considered rush to mediate or arbitrate will prove an expensive and...more

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