Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries: July 2012

July 26, 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:

  • Reliance Trust Company v. Candler et al. (Georgia) Trustee surcharged for excessive and arbitrary discretionary distributions to surviving spouse from marital trust.
  • Lawton et al. v. Bank of America (Rhode Island) Executor surcharged for delay in distributing stock to beneficiaries, conditioning distributions on signing releases and approving an inaccurate accounting, and allowing court ordered sale of stock from estate at discounted price.
  • Bellamy v. Langfitt (Florida) Settlement agreement that discharged corporate co-trustee, without naming a replacement as required by the trust terms, rejected as an improper trust modification.
  • Nederlander, et. al. v. Papiano (California) Lawyer serving as trustee surcharged for distributing assets pursuant to trust amendments that affected partial revocation requiring consent of co-trustees, and double damages awarded for bad faith in allowing amendments in order to extract payment of lawyer’s fees out of the trust assets.
  • Martin v. Martin (Texas) Exculpation clause in trust cannot bar claim for breach of duty to act in good faith, but trust beneficiaries cannot sue for lost value to company held in trust and also failed to prove mental anguish.
  • Steingass v. Steingass (Ohio) 2010 decedent’s trust formula funding provision directs all assets to marital trust because no federal estate tax.
  • United States v. MacIntyre (Texas) Income beneficiary liable for gift taxes owed by terminated GRIT.
  • Leventhal v. Montelione (California) Lifetime beneficiary of ILIT not entitled to death benefit proceeds.
  • In the Matter of the Estate of Bernadine J. Moncur (South Dakota) Trustee is entitled to purchase trust assets at a properly conducted auction following notice to the beneficiaries.
  • Swendsen v. Corey (Idaho) Beneficiary does not have standing to sue on behalf of the trust without first seeking to compel trustee to bring the claim.
  • Jacobson v. Sklaire (Florida) Trustees liable for beneficiary’s legal fees for refusal to make required trust distribution.
  • Wilbourn v. Wilbourn (Mississippi) Co-Trustee removed and denied compensation for actions as chairman of bank owned in part by trust.
  • Reed v. JP Morgan Chase Bank (Oklahoma) Suit for instructions construing trust terms and settlor’s intent does not bar later claim to modify trust terms.
  • Merrill Lynch Trust Company v. Mary F.C. Campbell (Delaware) Court reverses dismissal of beneficiary claims on laches.
  • Commonwealth Bank & Trust Co., et. al. v. Young, et. al. (Kentucky) Suit against trustee for breach of duty is not a contest that triggers forfeiture clause.
  • NorthShore University Health System v. Graham (Illinois) Appellate court reverses award of attorneys’ fees against trustee for breach of trust and remands to determine if trustee’s conduct justifies the award.
  • Clower, et. al. v. Wells Fargo Bank (Texas) Court dismisses suit attempting to remove corporate trustee because only predecessor bank was named in trust documents.
  • In re Estate of Alden v. Alden (Vermont) Limitations period in trust instrument bars claims against trustee for breach of fiduciary duty.
  • 2006 Frank Calandra, Jr. Irrevocable Trust v. Signature Bank Corp. (New York) Bank holding trust accounts not liable for trustee’s breach of trust.

Click here for case details.