Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries: May 2012

May 30, 2012

In the most recent installment of the McGuireWoods Fiduciary Advisory Services annual multipart series on recent fiduciary cases, developments in the law concerning various topics are examined through the following:

  • Wortman v. Hutaff (North Carolina) Trustees owe fiduciary duties until proper resignation under the Uniform Trust Code.
  • Christie v. Kimball (California) Court has the authority to compel trust accountings.
  • Dunmore v. Dunmore (California) Trustee has the ability to assign the trust’s claims in exchange for a percentage of any recover on the claims.
  • Zimmerman v. Patricia E. Zirpolo Trust (Ohio) Trustee is required under the UTC to provide trust information to the minor beneficiaries’ parent as their representative where there is no conflict of interest.
  • Fellows v. Colburn (New Hampshire) Court does not have personal jurisdiction over trustees and beneficiaries for environmental liability claim over in-state land held in an out-of-state trust.
  • In re Pike Family Trusts (Maine) UTC reverses the common law presumption that a trust cannot be terminated over a spendthrift clause.
  • Snyder v. Snyder (California) Trustee may not unilaterally act against votes of majority of trustees.
  • Jervis v. Tucker et al. (Florida) Post-guardianship trust amendment invalid where capacity not restored in the manner required by trust terms.
  • Bellamy v. Langfitt et al. (Florida) Court cannot reform a trust to eliminate corporate co-trustee directly contrary to settlor’s intent and trust terms.
  • In re Estate of Mumma (Pennsylvania) Multiple roles as fiduciary and beneficiary are not enough to justify removal of trustee named by settlor in the absence of a breach of trust.
  • In re Estate of Fridenberg (Pennsylvania) Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds modern fiduciary statutes and eliminates arcane common law restrictions on trustee compensation.
  • Downey, et. al. v. Keltz (Illinois) The probate exception to federal court jurisdiction does not apply to an action to compel a trustee to account.
  • Faville v. Burns (Illinois) Appellate court reverses dismissal of claims by adopted children to be declared trust beneficiaries and to remove trustee for conflict of interest arising from status as contingent remainderman and objection to adopted children being recognized as beneficiaries.
  • Carter v. Carter (Illinois) Court affirms dismissal of surcharge claim against surviving spouse for investing marital trust assets as trustee in municipal bonds to increase her own income distributions from trust.
  • Estate of Boyar v. Dixon (Illinois) The doctrine of election applies to a trust and bars claims to invalidate a trust amendment brought after receiving a distribution.
  • Whitman v. Whitman (Ohio) Appellate court affirms criminal sentence for custodian and trustee who defied court order and refused to account.
  • Damas v. Damas (Ohio) Beneficiary-trustee did not breach his fiduciary duty by, pursuant to the trust terms, distributing trust assets to a LLC of which he was a member.
  • Cohen v. Cohen, (New York) Court rejects standing challenge and allows third party claims in connection with a lawsuit concerning a family limited partnership due to public policy against the judicial enforcement of illegal contracts.
  • Matter of Deneny v. Rossem (New York) Co-trustee removed for refusal to cooperate and failure to manage trust property that caused harm to the trust.
  • Matter of Chantarasmi (New York) Constructive trust imposed to enforce premarital agreement.
  • Vinton v. Virzi (Colorado) Appellate court rejects amended fraud claim that added trustee’s attorney as a party and forcing the attorney to withdraw.
  • Waterfield v. The Trust Company of Oxford (Indiana) Appellate court affirms dismissal of summary judgment for trustee on claims that beneficiary consents to trust reformation were obtained by fraud where their mother and grandmother presented the signature pages at a holiday family meeting.

Click here for case details.