Bryan Cave  Life Death and Taxes

Trust Bryan Cave

Other Posts

Main Content

Waiver Of Year’s Support Through Post-Nuptial Agreement

divorce-jpgOriginally posted on BryanCaveFiduciaryLitigation.com.

Divorce should put an early end to the marriage vow of “’til death does us part.” But, when it comes to estate disputes, neither divorce nor death can part the path to the courthouse.  In In re: Estate of Boyd, the husband and wife may have suspected their marriage could end: after 15 years of marriage, they separated, reconciled, and then entered into a post-nuptial agreement.  The agreement provided how assets would be distributed if the parties were married at the time of either’s death and provided for distribution of assets if the parties separated or filed for divorce prior to death.  The latter provision is relevant.

Court Orders Administrator To Elect Portability

The following was written by Luke Lantta of Bryan Cave’s fiduciary litigation team and originally posted here

When the IRS enacted the portability election provisions in 2011, which allowed estates of married taxpayers to pass along the unused part of their estate and gift tax exclusion amount to their surviving spouse, it remarked that it “expect[ed] that most estates of people who are married will want to make the portability election. . . .”  But, to elect portability, an estate tax return must be filed in order to pass along the exclusion.  So, what happens when an executorrefuses to elect portability?  Take them to court, of course.

Power Of Attorney Did Not Authorize Creation Of Trust

October 7, 2015

Categories

Because powers of attorney are often used as an elder care planning tool, they are also often used by the attorney-in-fact to manage the estate planning and finances of the principal.  The creation of a trust can be an important estate planning tool, so, if the principal wants to authorize his or her agent to create a trust, that authorization should be specifically granted in the power of attorney.  Not surprisingly, there is increasing litigation over the scope of powerconveyed to an agent through a power of attorney, including litigation regarding the agent’s authority to create a trust for the principal.  In Dishman v. Dougherty, Kentucky was one of the latest states to have an appellate court weigh in.

Setting aside a very complex factual and procedural history that are recounted in detail in the opinion, one of the take-aways

Were Assets Of Sole Proprietorship Personal Property Of Decedent Or Separate Business Interests?

May 16, 2014

Categories

171581418Originally posted on bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com

When it comes to estate planning and disposition of assets upon death, a business owner should pay careful mind to the type of business he or she owns and update his or her estate planning documents if the form of the business changes.  InEngland v. Simmons, the Georgia Supreme Court had to determine a testator’s intent when he left his “personal assets” to his brother and sister and left his “business interests” in his sole proprietorship to his brother, sister, and two longtime employees.

Traditional Fine Art was the sole proprietorship of Robert Carl Haege.  Therefore, it had no legal existence separate and apart from Haege himself.  For these reasons, a trial court determined that all property associated with Traditional

Guardianship for Alcoholics

Guardianship for Alcoholics

March 3, 2014

Authored by: Luke Lantta

Originally posted on bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com

Knowing when to initiate guardianship proceedings for a loved one can be a difficult and personal decision.  When it comes to substance abuse, those proceedings can enter a grayer area than proceedings involving dementia, injury, or developmental disability.  At what point is an addict or alcoholic incapacitated?  What happens during moments of sobriety?  In In re Guardianship of Esterly (unpublished), the Court of Appeals of Minnesota dealt with some of these difficult questions.

Wisconsin Appellate Court Considers Distribution Value Of Trust Assets

February 26, 2014

Categories

Originally posted on bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com

In In re Alice J. Welch Revocable Living Trust (Vandenbrook v. Welch), a Wisconsin appellate court was required to interpret a provision in a trust instrument on how trust assets would be valued for purposes of distribution. The trust instrument provided different distribution schemes, depending on whether a certain value exceeded $5 million. So, the first question for the court was whether the value of these assets exceeded $5 million. Let’s take a look at the differing interpretations and why trust language can’t be read in isolation.

One party, Jon Welch, claimed that the $5 million cut-off point for distributing the estate was the “adjusted gross estate as finally determined for federal tax purposes.” He claimed that the trial court erred in deciding that the value was less than $5 million because it removed certain assets and loans from the total estate value. He

Tennessee Requires All Witnesses To A Will To Testify

February 24, 2014

Categories

Originally posted on bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com

When it comes to will execution, sometimes the belt and suspenders approach may be well advised.  But, other times, less is more.  Like, perhaps, when it comes to the number of witnesses.  When state law requires that you only need a set number of witnesses to a will, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee’s opinion in the will contest case of Estate of Woolverton shows us the potential problems that may arise when you bring in extra, unnecessary witnesses.

In Tennessee, the execution of a will requires only two witnesses.  Three witnesses, however, signed the will of Dennis R. Woolverton.  At a hearing on the will contest, only two of the three witnesses and a notary public testified about the signatures on the purported will.  The trial court held that the document was the decedent’s validly executed will and admitted it to probate.

Trust Was Modified, Not Terminated

Trust Was Modified, Not Terminated

February 18, 2014

Authored by: Luke Lantta

Originally posted on bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com

When a trust instrument sets a time for termination of the trust, it terminates, right?  Well, maybe not.  According to the Kansas Court of Appeals in Lindholm v. Melland (2014 WL 278774) (unpublished), under certain circumstances a trust may continue in existence beyond a termination event.  What happened here to keep the Francis G. Melland Trust going over a decade after it was supposed to terminate?

Francis G. Melland created an irrevocable trust for the benefit of his children, Hugh, Theodore, and Jenny.  Francis’ wife, Sandra, was the original trustee, but she was later replaced by Hugh.  By the terms of the trust instrument, the trust was to terminate when the youngest beneficiary reached the age of 40.  That happened in 2002.  But, in 2002, the trust was neither dissolved nor its assets distributed.  Then, Hugh became the successor trustee in 2005 – three years after the trust

Bankruptcy Ruling Highlights Potential Problems of Using Deeds As Estate Planning Tools

From BryanCaveFiduciaryLitigation.com

Northern District of Oklahoma Chief Bankruptcy Judge Terrence L. Michael’s introduction to the opinion in In re Harrison (2013 WL 6859303) serves as a good introduction to this post:

Whether for carpentry or estate planning, it is usually a good idea to use the right tool for the job. Unfortunately, when it comes to estate planning and asset transfer, people are often ill-informed about the tools available to them and the perils of choosing the wrong one. If a parent wants to gift an asset to a child only upon the parent’s death or incapacity, state law provides tools to accomplish that end. Unfortunately, use of the wrong tool could unwittingly result in a present transfer and the unintended loss of the asset.

The attorneys of Bryan Cave LLP make this site available to you only for the educational purposes of imparting general information and a general understanding of the law. This site does not offer specific legal advice. Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Bryan Cave LLP or any of its attorneys. Do not use this site as a substitute for specific legal advice from a licensed attorney. Much of the information on this site is based upon preliminary discussions in the absence of definitive advice or policy statements and therefore may change as soon as more definitive advice is available. Please review our full disclaimer.