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I’m working on some materials for a CLE presentation entitled Remedies in Fiduciary Litigation. I’ll be giving it October 18, 2017 at the Lancaster Bar Association. Its also on the program for PBI’s Estate Law Institute in Philadelphia on November 14-15, 2017. Most of the equitable remedies available to beneficiaries whose interests have been harmed by an executor or trustee date back hundreds of years to the common law in England. But they don’t…
This blockbuster Adjudication, written by Judge Mark L. Tunnell is 212 pages long, and deals with many issues, but very significantly, with the issue of the appropriateness of attorney, accountant and executor’s fees.  Judge Tunnell’s opinion is very thorough, very organized and very compelling.  Unfortunately it is too long to be printed in the Fiduciary Reporter.  But here is a pdf of the opinion for your reading enjoyment.  The Estate of Sir John Rupert Hunt…
Estate of Powell v. Commissioner, 148 T.C. No. 18 (May 18, 2017). Hold on to your seat!  This case has a huge impact on Family Limited Partnership (FLP) planning.  And yes, it creates a new “doughnut hole.” For the very first time, the Tax Court held that where a decedent owned only limited partnership interests, they are brought back into the donor’s estate under IRC §2036(a)(2).  It also raises the specter of a…
If you’re spending your childrens’ money, you are probably breaking the law.  Parents often overstep their authority when dealing with their children’s money as shown in this case:  Werner v. Werner 2016 PA Super 2210. Mother was custodian for two accounts for the benefit of her daughters under the Pennsylvania Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, 20 Pa. C.S.A. §5301 et. seq. (“PUTMA”). The original amount in the accounts when they were created in the…
The Supreme Court of Delaware, on appeal from the Court of Chancery has emphatically upheld spendthrift protection in trusts in the case of Mennen v. Fiduciary Trust International of Delaware. The Chancery Court opinion can be found here. The Supreme Court affirmed here . A judgment of $88 million was placed against a trust beneficiary, George Jeff Mennen (“Jeff”). The judgment arose from Jeff’s alleged bad faith and willful misconduct as individual trustee of…
In Koons v. Commissioner  Case No. 16-10646 (4/27/2017) the 11th Circuit denied the interest deduction for interest on loan to pay estate tax. Decedent’s revocable trust included a 70% interest in an LLC which had over $200 million in liquid assets.  The estate’s liquid assets were insufficient to pay the estate tax.  The executors refused the offer of a distribution from the LLC to pay taxes and instead, borrowed $10,750,000 from the LLC at…
 Estate of Agnew v. Ross, 152 A.3d 247 Individuals who are not named in an executed testamentary document do not have standing to bring a legal malpractice actions against testator’s attorney, as purported third-party beneficiaries. In November 2003, the testator Robert Agnew retained defendant-appellant Daniel Ross, Esquire, to draft various estate planning documents.  Over the next several years, Ross drafted various amendments to both the Revocable Trust and the Will.  As of 2010, Agnew’s Will…
A Power of Attorney is a very important and useful tool. It is often used in elder care so that the named agent can manage the finances of the principal. While the agent under a power of attorney can do many things, some things are prohibited. For example, an agent under a power of attorney cannot make a will for the principal. Can the agent make a trust? Under Pennsylvania law, PEF Code Section 5603…
According to the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, too many criminal justice professionals lack awareness in the role they can play in holding offenders accountable. An agent who violates the duty owed to the principal may have committee one or more crimes. The agent may have violated state and federal laws, including laws on Exploitation Embezzlement Forgery Fraud (e.g. credit card fraud, tax fraud, welfare fraud) Larceny Money Laundering Theft The National Center…
The Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee published a proposal for new Orphans’ Court Rules in April 2013 with a comment period was open until June 13, 2013. After comments, some revisions were made. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted these proposed new rules by Order dated December 1, 2015 with an effective date of September 1, 2016. At the same time all local rules will be automatically repealed, except for local rules regarding adoption, guardianship…