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Will Assets I Place In Trust for My Children be Protected if They Get Divorced?

Our clients are increasingly concerned about the preserving the assets their children will inherit from them in the event of divorce. The New Jersey court in Tannen v. Tannen, 416 N.J. Super. 248, 3 A. 3d 1229 (2010) wrestled with the issue of the extent to which a trust created by parents should impact the award of alimony in a divorce.

In this case, after Mark and Wendy Tannen were married, they moved into a large house that was given to Wendy by her father. Several years later,

Atlanta Humane Society 2012 Pet Parade – Bryan Cave LLP Walk Team

Kimberly E. Civins and Brent A. Howard serve on the board of the 1873 Society Club, the junior board for the Atlanta Humane Society (“AHS”), and organized a Bryan Cave LLP walk team for AHS’ Pet Parade. The Pet Parade is an annual event that helps promote AHS and raises money for AHS while giving dogs exactly what they want, play time and a walk. The Bryan Cave walk team had a lot of fun and helped raise money for AHS. AHS is the oldest private charitable organization in Atlanta, founded in 1873. Originally chartered to protect women, children, and animals, AHS is now a widely recognized pet adoption center, clinic, and educational program provider, which has been serving Atlanta at 981 Howell Mill Road since the 1930s. AHS does not euthanize for time or space. To adopt, volunteer or donate, you can visit AHS’ website.

Estate Planning in 2012

Estate Planning in 2012

April 24, 2012

Authored by: Mary Ann Mancini

Generally, there are three basic goals of estate, generation skipping transfer, and gift tax planning: (1) the reduction of estate and gift taxes upon transfer; (2) the deferral of the estate, generation skipping transfer, and gift tax burden; and (3) ensuring for the necessary liquidity to pay the taxes when they come due.

We are in the midst of very volatile times which, at least for a foreseeable future, although no one knows for how long, can provide opportunities to achieve these goals in particularly beneficial and tax-efficient ways. This is the result of the present low interest rates and the drop in value of most types of assets, which allows clients to engage in some estate planning that may not be available when interest rates rise and values are driven higher.

Please see full Article for further information.

Trustee Of Revocable Trust Has Duty Only to Settlor

In Re: Stephen M. Gunther Revocable Living Trust, 2011 Mo. App. LEXIS 1293, October 4, 2011, is one of the first cases interpreting the duties of a trustee of a revocable trust during the settlor’s lifetime under the Uniform Trust Code. Here, the court ruled that under the provisions of R.S. Mo. §456.6-603 (a Uniform Trust Code provision), the trustee had duties only to the settlor while the trust was revocable.

In this case Stephen M. Gunther established a revocable trust for his own benefit in 1997, naming J. Barry Gunther as the initial trustee. Several years later, Stephen amended the trust to name himself as trustee and J. Barry Gunther as his successor trustee. Stephen died in 2009. Upon Stephen’s death, his two minor children became the residuary beneficiaries. A year after Stephen’s death, the beneficiaries sued the trustee seeking an accounting of the trust from its inception in

Major Changes In Delaware To Consent Petitions To Modify Trusts

April 23, 2012



Effective May 1, 2012, new amendments to the Delaware Chancery Court Rules will materially change the required content of consent petitions to modify trusts. The official website of the Delaware judiciary describes the amendments as “help[ing] the Court protect trust assets of minor and unborn beneficiaries and ensur[ing] the integrity of the Court in the process of modifying trusts.”

So what’s the big deal? Let’s see . . .

For starters, the petition must specifically cover a lot of ground, including a lot of facts about the history of the trust, and nine separate points that must be pleaded “with particularity” (e.g., how the relief requested will affect current, vested future, and contingent beneficiaries; whether the relief requested will result in releases or indemnification of the fiduciary; and so on . . .).

Here are some other highlights:

  • A whole

Girlfriends Come and Go, but Daughters are Forever: the Case for Adult Adoption

With guest co-blogger Melissa Fernley.

Last month, prominent businessman and Florida socialite John Goodman filed a petition to adopt…his girlfriend. This unconventional move, coupled with Goodman’s notoriety as the multimillionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, prompted news outlets around the world to pick up the story. The public responded with more than a few raised eyebrows, and many questions. Is this even possible? Is their relationship now incestuous? Why would someone do such a thing?

Yes, adult adoption is possible, and is allowed in many states across the country, including Missouri, although a few states require some sort of previous familial relationship. The result of such adoptions is not a traditional parent-child relationship, but rather a legal relationship that creates the same rights and responsibilities as would the adoption of a child. Adopted adults also become heirs of the adopting parent, although some states restrict the extent

A Very Merry Un-Taxday To You

With research contributed by Melissa Fernley.

As the old saying goes, the two things you can’t avoid are death and taxes. But while the grim reaper may arrive unplanned, it’s generally understood in the U.S. that the taxman comes calling on April 15th – except when he doesn’t. This year, today, April 17th, is Tax Day. And last year, in 2011, it was April 18th. What causes this variation in the tax filing deadline? And why is Tax Day April 15th (ish) anyway? Read on for answers to all of your tax questions (that don’t actually relate to your taxes).

Florida Lawyer Who Wore Many Hats Disbarred

April 12, 2012



I don’t want to get into a lot of detail about The Florida Bar v. Doherty, a recent attorney disciplinary proceeding from Florida, but just want to raise it as a cautionary tale for those practitioners who wear multiple hats for the same client.  You know – those practitioners who act as both estate planner and investment advisor for the same client; those practitioners who act as estate planner for a client and then get named as trustee, executor, etc. in that client’s estate planning documents; those practitioners who act as estate planner and annuity salesperson for the same client; and those practitioners who act as attorney and business partner for the same client.

It’s not that you cannot necessarily wear those multiple hats.  It’s just that, if you do, you better strictly follow the applicable rules – including any applicable rules of

Plaintiffs Could Not Challenge Validity Of Trust Without Also Contesting Will

April 12, 2012



Let’s say that you have a will executed in 2005 that provides something like “I give all the residue of my estate, including my homestead, to the Trustee serving under my Irrevocable Trust Agreement dated October 26, 1999, as amended or hereafter amended.”  In other words, you have a trust incorporated into the  will.

Now, let’s say you want to challenge the validity of that trust.  What should you do when you receive a notice of administration regarding that 2005 will?

In Pasquale v. Loving, a Florida appellate court held that, in order to challenge the validity of that trust incorporated into the will, you will first have to pursue remedies available at probate.  That’s what Dominic Pasquale, Jr. and Anthony Pasquale did when they received a notice of administration regarding the administration of the estate of

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