Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries: April 2019

April 23, 2019

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:

Ali v. Smith, 554 S.W.3d 755 (Tx. Ct. App. 2018). Texas Court of Appeals affirms trial court order holding that arbitration was not compelled under will or Texas Arbitration Act.

In re the Macy Lynne Quintalla Trust, 2018 WL 4903068 (Tex. App. 2018). Failure to provide a means to remove and replace trust protector leads to litigation; trust protector not an “interested person” in the trust with the authority to request trust accountings.

Fielding v. Commissioner of Revenue, 916 N.W.2d 323 (2018). Minnesota Supreme Court joins North Carolina in ruling that a statute defining “resident trust” is unconstitutional as applied to the taxpayer because under the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution the domicile of the grantor at the creation of the trust is an insufficient basis, by itself, on which to impose income taxation on a trust’s worldwide income.

Walker v. Ryker, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6664 (2018). A trust which provided for California law to apply to its interpretation and largely disinherited the testator’s daughter was valid under California law and did not violate California public policy, even where the grantor was purportedly domiciled in Chile or Argentina.

Estate of Luce, No. 02-17-00097-CV (Ct. App. Texas 2018). A testator who suffered physical injuries rendering him unable to speak and paralyzed from the chest down, but who suffered no head or brain injuries, validly executed a new will by communicating his preferences through a “blinking system” and directing the notary to sign on his behalf in the presence of a witness in accordance with Texas law.

In re Wilson, 300 Neb. 455, 915 N.W.2d 50 (2018). Supreme Court of Nebraska holds that trial court order removing siblings as trustees of revocable trust did not also remove the siblings as trustees of a sub-trust created under the revocable trust agreement.

In re Estate of Duane Frances Horton, 325 Mich.App. 325 (July 17, 2018). An unsigned and undated electronic note on decedent’s phone was ruled a valid will where the proponents of the will could show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the decedent intended the electronic note to be his will.

O’Connor v. O’Connor, 26 Cal. App. 5th 871 (4th Dist., Aug. 29, 2018). A requirement that a power of appointment can only be exercised by a specific reference to that power in a will did not require the beneficiary to name the trust itself in his will.

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