Articles Posted in Trusts

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Before the court is a motion for summary judgment filed in connection with petitions for the removal of fiduciaries MRK and TOM in the related estates of Mr. KJJ and Mrs. JJ.

BACKGROUND Decedents Mr. KJJ and Mrs. JJ were a husband and wife who tragically died together in an automobile accident on April 22, 2005. They were survived by their three adult sons, CC, VV and SS, movants herein. Both decedents executed wills on November 19, 1986, and both wills provide that in the event that Mr. KJJ or Mrs. JJ is not survived by a spouse, then Mrs. JJ’s brother, MRK, shall serve as Executor.

The wills were filed for probate on October 13, 2005 and admitted to probate on March 1, 2006. Letters testamentary in each estate issued to MRK on March 3, 2006. At the same time, MRK received letters of trusteeship in Mr. KJJ’s estate.

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This is a proceeding to construe and reform Article III, the residuary clause, of the last will and testament of BO, so as to enable the estate to qualify for an unlimited New York estate tax marital deduction. While an application to reform a will to enable the estate to qualify for a deduction for New York estate tax purposes and not federal may be uncommon, it is permissible. Matter of Glick, N.Y.L.J. Feb. 17, 1989, p. 22, col. 6 (Surr.Ct. New York Co.).

The decedent died on July 21, 1988 survived by a spouse and three children. His will, dated December 14, 1979, was duly admitted to probate on December 19, 1988.

Under Article III of the will the residuary estate, which comprises the entire estate with the exception of some personalty previously bequeathed to his wife, is divided into two trusts, Trust A and Trust B. Under Trust A, the decedent bequeathed in trust for his wife the following: A pecuniary amount equal to the maximum marital deduction allowable to my estate for Federal estate tax purposes ($250,000 or 50% of my adjusted gross estate, as the case may be, less any adjustment required for marital deduction gifts made by me during my lifetime), less the aggregate amount of marital deductions, if any, allowed for interests in property passing or which have passed to my wife otherwise than by the terms of this Article, and less also the amount if any, required to increase my taxable estate to the maximum amount as to which, considering all deductions and credits allowable to my estate, there will be no federal estate tax payable by reason of my death.

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A New York Probate Lawyer said this case is a contested probate proceeding wherein the petitioner, A, the decedent’s second wife, moves for an order pursuant to CPLR 3212 granting summary judgment admitting the proffered instrument dated 21 December 2005 to probate and dismissing the objections filed by three of the four of decedent’s children from his first marriage, X, Y and Z.

On 29 October 2009, the 89 year old decedent died. On 12 September 1984, he was married to petitioner A. An instrument purported to be his last will and testament has been submitted for probate. In his will, petitioner was named the executor. The propounded instrument leaves his entire estate to the petitioner as his surviving spouse and unless she predeceases them makes no provision for the respondents. However, an earlier will dated 29 March 1994, left decedent’s entire estate to objectants.

A New York Wills Lawyer said the respondents have filed objections to probate alleging that: (1) the alleged will was not duly executed as required by law; (2) the propounded instrument was not freely or voluntarily made or executed by the decedent, but was procured by fraud or undue influence practiced upon the decedent by the petitioner or others acting in concert with her; and (3) on the date of the making of the instrument, decedent was not of sound mind or memory and thus incompetent to make a will.

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The document sued upon is a Family Trust.

On 19 May 1999, a Family Trust, a revocable inter vivos trust, was created. It is a 29-page document with nine articles. A, the settlor, is the mother of plaintiff and defendant. A, and her husband, B, are the co-trustees.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that according to the Family Trust, its purpose is to hold property, which was attached to and made part of the agreement, together with such monies, securities and other assets as the trustee may thereafter at any time hold or acquire (said monies, securities and other assets, referred to collectively as the “Trust Estate”) for the purposes of providing income to the settlor during her lifetime, paying her funeral expenses, estate taxes, probate fees, legal and accounting fees related to her estate, satisfying any cash bequests, all inheritance taxes, funding a marital share deduction, providing income for the benefit of her husband or their children during her husband’s lifetime and upon his death, paying the balance of the Trust Estate to their children, per stirpes. Further, the Family Trust agreement provided that if A died, the balance of the Trust Estate would be distributed to her husband if he survived her, and that upon his death, or the settlor’s death if her spouse predeceased her, the trustee would pay the balance of the Trust Estate to the settlor’s children, per stirpes.

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In a discovery hearing held before the Surrogate’s Court of the City of New York located in Nassau County the estate is seeking to establish the existence of a leasehold interest in commercial real property and to enforce its provisions. A New York Probate Lawyer said the petitioner has submitted an application to the court for preliminary injunction.

Case Background

The decedent passed away on the 2nd of May, 2004 and is survived by three children, one who is the respondent in the case. A petition has been filed for probate of an instrument that was dated the 2nd of July, 2002.

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A man created a living trust. A living trust is one where all the man’s assets are put in a trust with a bank or trust company and the income earned by his assets will be paid out to the man himself. The problem with this living trust the man created was that he bought the trust document in a pre-printed fill-in-the-blank form: he never went to a lawyer to have the lawyer create a trust document for him, tailor-cutting the provisions of the document so that it would fit his circumstances.

The trust he created came in a document that was sent to him in the three-ring-binder contained a Certificate of Trust, and Affidavit of Trust, a Living Will, a property power of attorney, a health care power of attorney and a copy of the man’s will which was stapled. The man can just cut out and paste those provisions that he didn’t like and keep the provisions that he did like and wished to retain. Glued to the ring binder is a sticker that showed the name and copyright of the lawyer who created the fill-in-the blank trust and will. The three-ring binder is part of an estate-planning product that also includes a seminar, a handbook and a computer software program which allows the person who purchased the portfolio to create a will and print it.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the living trust was created sometime on April 30, 1996. On the same date, the man also executed a will. The man’s will provided that all of the properties of his estate which were included in the living trust will be revoked upon his death and the entirety of his estate will pass on to his dear friend. This provision was later amended by the testator before his death on September 9, 1996. The amended provided that only 99.75 per cent of the entire estate under the living trust will be given to his dear friend and the remaining .25 will pass on to another friend.

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The Facts:

A decedent was survived by his wife, an adult son who is the petitioner herein, and four adult grandchildren. A New York Probate Lawyer said the decedent’s wife is a person under disability and her interests are being represented by a guardian ad litem appointed for that purpose by the court. Although SCPA 1404 examinations were demanded by the respondents, the examinations were never conducted, the parties having promptly entered into settlement negotiations.

The propounded instrument bequeaths the entire estate to the decedent’s lifetime trust, which in turn leaves the entire estate to petitioner, to the exclusion of the surviving spouse and grandchildren. The parties have entered into a stipulation of settlement, subject to the court’s approval, which permits the will’s admission to probate, effectively guarantees the surviving spouse her elective share, and distributes the net estate after payment of debts, administration expenses, and the elective share, into two parts, one part to be distributed to the petitioner and the other to be divided equally among the grandchildren.

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In 1935, a trust fund was created by a mother in favour of her son which provides among others that in the event of the death of her son, the trust shall be divided in 6 equal parts and one of which shall be held in trust for her grandson. The trust also stated that should the grandson die, the trustee should distribute the remainder of the funds according to the will of the said grandson or the laws of intestacy should there be no will executed by the latter in favour of his heirs. The trust agreement was entered into between the mother and a trust company in New York which was also the domicile of the mother at that time.

The son who was the original beneficiary, died in 1962 while the grandson died in California in 1965 survived by his widow and a daughter as well as 5 children coming from the first marriage. The grandson had a will and it was admitted to probate in California since it was his domiciliary. The will of the grandson specifically directed that all his remaining trust fund be further divided into two trusts for the benefit of his spouse and daughter with a proviso that the trust for the daughter be terminated 21 years after the last survivor of his wife, his daughter, and the children of his daughter who were living at the time of his death, has died.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the original trustee in New York commenced a proceeding for the final accounting and settlement of the trust intended for the grandson. The executor of the grandson’s estate which was in California instituted a separate proceeding involving the issue of heirship at the Superior Court of California. The executor claimed that the will executed by the grandson should be construed in a manner that the trust should be terminated upon the death of the grandson’s daughter. The New York court from which the final accounting and settlement of the trust was filed, decided to hold further proceedings pending the determination of the California Superior Court of the issues brought to its attention.

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A decedent, who is a resident of Texas and domiciled at Mexico, has possessions in Cayman Islands.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the decedent, while living in New York in 1988, opened an investment account in London. During his lifetime, he deposited over $1,300,000 through a New York bank and his account was handled by an investment manager of the London investment house. The deceased named his marital son as the beneficiary of said investment account.

In 1989, the decedent made an arrangement with a trust officer of another bank to establish a discretionary off-shore trust account in Cayman Islands using the funds from his investment account in London.

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A resident of Connecticut died in 1936. He left a will duly admitted for validation in the State of Connecticut. He created a testamentary trust providing payment of the one third of the income to a life beneficiary, his nephew. The nephew bearing the same name as his uncle is a resident of Cattaraugus County, New York. The instant proceeding is brought in the Surrogate’s Court, Cattaraugus County in connection with the administration of the estate of the deceased nephew. The proceeding follows proceedings earlier brought in the validation court of Fairfield County, State of Connecticut referable to intermediate and final accountings of the testamentary trustee, a Chemical Bank.

A petition of a trust company for the determination of the validity and enforceability of claim of a chemical bank to the last will and testament of the man was filed. New York Probate Lawyers said that the trust company was the appointed representative for the administration of the estate and the said chemical bank was the beneficiary of a large trust set up by a will. The facts in support of the petition have been agreed to by opposing counsel in a written condition. It states that the man properly accepted to validate his will in the state of his residency.

The life beneficiary of a man died and with his death, payments of income terminated as well as the trust. The remaining principal of the trust was directed to be paid over to the designated remaindermen.

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