News & Analysis as of

Estate Claims

Undue Influence in Virginia: Does the Undue Influencer Have to Be a Beneficiary?

by LeClairRyan on

Without question, one of the most common estate disputes we see centers around allegations that one person unduly influenced another person to write (or re-write) a will or trust. The typical situation involves an elderly...more

First Department Affirms that an LLC’s Operating Agreement Trumps Delaware Law

A unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, First Department recently affirmed a ruling by the Commercial Division dismissing causes of action against the ACE Group International LLC (“AGI”) brought by the estate of the...more

4 Estate Litigation Predictions For 2018

by LeClairRyan on

The new year is a good time to look ahead at what trends we may expect to see in the area of estate litigation in 2018. I have 4 predictions. #1: The Volume Of Estate Litigation Will Continue To Increase ...more

Delaware Contractarian Principles Prevail in Appeal Over Deceased Ace Hotel Founder’s LLC Interest

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

The sudden death of Alexander Calderwood, the brilliant but troubled co-founder of the Ace brand of hotels, resulted in some fierce litigation between Calderwood’s estate and Calderwood’s LLC co-member over the nature of his...more

The Role of the Commissioner of Accounts in Virginia Estate and Trust Administration

by LeClairRyan on

People typically picture the probate process going something like this: a person dies, you find their will, you take the will to the courthouse, the executor pays the debts, and then the executor distributes the assets. Of...more

Court Holds That Lender Did Not Have Standing To Sue An Estate For A Deficiency After Electing That Its Claim Is A Preferred Debt...

by Winstead PC on

In In re Estate of Chapman, Peoples Bank (the Bank) conducted a non-judicial foreclosure sale of secured real estate owned by an estate and then sued the administrator of the estate in district court due to a deficiency...more

Surrogate’s Court Sets Aside Fraudulent Conveyance Violative of Contract to Make a Testamentary Disposition

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

A person who executes a valid agreement to make a testamentary disposition as to a specific item of property is precluded from making an alternative disposition, either during lifetime or upon death. ...more

I Do…I Do…Wait, Did We?: The Virginia Supreme Court Weighs in on the Timing of Marriage Licenses and Ceremonies

by LeClairRyan on

Imagine you’ve thought you were married for a decade and all of a sudden your spouse denies that you were ever married at all. The Virginia Supreme Court (the “Court”) recently decided just such a case in Levick v....more

Life After Death: Ohio Mortgage Creditors' Rights After a Borrower's Death

For a loan secured by real estate, a borrower typically signs a promissory note or a line of credit agreement, and a mortgage securing real property owned by the borrower. In Ohio, a creditor generally has multiple remedies...more

A Last Will And Testament Can Always Be Changed (Before Death)

It is a fundamental principle of law that a Last Will and Testament duly signed and witnessed is binding on no one until the person who signed the Will dies. That is to say that a person who signs a Will in say January of...more

The Court of Appeals Examines the Promissory Estoppel/Statute of Frauds Relationship

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

In the past, New York Courts have demonstrated a willingness to apply the theory of promissory estoppel, to overcome the legal requirements of the Statute of Frauds. The Restatement (Second) of Contract, Section 139, endorses...more

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Estate Dispute Opinion

by LeClairRyan on

Back in June of this year, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down a ruling in an estate dispute case that, while it didn’t particularly break new legal ground, provides a helpful overview of the current state of Virginia law...more

Look for Mild Cognitive Impairment in California Trust and Estate Disputes

by Downey Brand LLP on

Mental incapacity and undue influence are the most common theories used to try to invalidate wills, trusts and beneficiary designations in California and elsewhere. Occasionally, the subject in a trust and estate dispute has...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

Ohio Court of Appeals Affirms Statutory Protections for Trustees

by Reminger Co., LPA on

Ten years after the first enactment of the Ohio Trust Code, in Zook, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association, et al., 10th Dist. No. 15AP-751, 2017-Ohio-838, the Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals gave insight...more

Presenting Creditor Claims Against Estates After Ohio Supreme Court’sDecision in Wilson v. Lawrence

by Reminger Co., LPA on

The Ohio Supreme Court provided more guidance regarding how creditors present their claims against estates with its ruling in Wilson v. Lawrence, Case Nos. 2015-2081, 2016-0180, 2017-Ohio-1410....more

Beware The Constructive Trust When Relying On ‘Informal’ Estate Distributions

by Bryan Cave on

We like when families can work out their estate disputes outside of the courtroom. Georgia, for one, embraces the “family settlement doctrine,” where heirs at law can agree to distribute or divide property devised under a...more

A Pair of Unbrotherly Business Altercations Go to Trial

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

Like most civil cases, the vast majority of business divorce disputes get resolved before trial, which is disappointing for us voyeurs since only at trial with live witnesses undergoing cross examination does one get the full...more

UPDATE: Can an Intended (and Disappointed) Beneficiary Still Sue a Will’s Drafter?: The General Assembly of Virginia Enacts a...

by LeClairRyan on

Back in the summer I wrote a post discussing the impacts of the Thorsen decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia. In Thorsen, a testator wanted to leave her estate to a charity if her daughter did not survive her. The...more

Fiduciary Imprudence: When the Sale of an Asset Results in a Surcharge

by Farrell Fritz, P.C. on

Although one of the many duties and responsibilities of an executor is to marshal and appraise estate assets, and, depending upon the dispositive terms of the governing instrument, liquidate them for purposes of distribution,...more

“Any and All” Doesn’t Preserve Any and All Estate Claims Post-Confirmation

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

The Bankruptcy Code permits Chapter 11 plans to provide for the reservation of any claims or interests that that belong to the debtor or the estate, allowing the plans to be confirmed prior to the final resolution of any and...more

Indiana Court of Appeals Allows Negligent Hiring Claim Despite Admission that Employee Acted Within Scope of Employment

by Reminger Co., LPA on

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently determined that a negligent hiring claim against Pizza Hut can continue to move through the trial court after finding that the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment in favor...more

Appellate Court Notes

by Pullman & Comley, LLC on

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19586 - Harrington v. Freedom of Information Commission - The Court started off by saying..... We have not previously had occasion to squarely address..... [this]...more

Who Would Inherit Darth Vader’s Estate?

by LeClairRyan on

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

Executrix Held Liable Under Federal Claims Statute For Actions Taken Prior to Appointment as Executrix

by Charles (Chuck) Rubin on

A decedent died while owing over $340,000 in unpaid federal income tax liabilities. His estate was insolvent. The assets of his estate consisted almost entirely of a 100% interest in one corporation and 50% of another...more

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