Business Law Study Set 13

Business

Quiz 52 :

Decedents Estates and Trusts

Quiz 52 :

Decedents Estates and Trusts

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Miller wrote a will that was 11 pages long and enclosed it in an envelope, which she sealed. She then wrote on the envelope "My last will testament" and signed her name below this statement. This was the only place where she signed her name on any of the papers. Was this signature sufficient to allow this writing to be admitted to probate as her will? [Miller's Executor v Shannon, 299 SW2d 103 (Ky)]
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Refer to the case Miller's Executor v Shannon to answer question as below:
Facts to this case
• Testatrix made a will, which she placed in a sealed envelope and signed the envelope (not the will document).
Case Issue
The issue is whether the will is valid. Note that, signatures on wills are typically placed on the end of the document.
Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases
Testate - is someone (a male, Testatrix is the female) who have made a will (orders of how to distribute his assets when he dies).
Analysis and Conclusion
The court held that the will was invalid. They argued that:
• There's no contention that the testatrix may intend that this be her final will.
• But, the state law holds that in order to be valid the signature must be on the last end page. Not doing so will make the will invalid (regardless of intention).
• The envelope is not considered the end page of the will.
Since, the signature was not signed appropriately the will can't be upheld.

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Joseph McKinley Bryan was an elderly, wealthy, and eccentric man. Before his death, he had made provisions for a testamentary trust for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Under the terms of the trust, each grandchild who survived him was to receive $500,000, and each greatgrandchild who survived him was to receive $100,000. By the time of Bryan's death on April 26, 1995, there had been at least five versions of the trust's provisions. His will was originally dated June 29, 1990, but the trust agreement was originally made in 1985, with two changes in 1988, one in 1990, and another in 1992. In May 1995, NationsBank Corp., the trustee, notified Bryan's grandchildren by letter that they would be receiving only $100,000. Because the grandchildren had understood that they were to receive $500,000, they asked to see the trust agreements. The trustee refused, contending that there was no duty to share the agreement with the trust beneficiaries. Was the trustee right? [Taylor v NationsBank Corp., 481 SE2d 358 (NC App)]
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Refer to the case Taylor v NationsBank Corp. to answer question as below:
Facts to this case
• Testate had made multiple wills on how he would like to distribute his wealth. His will originally stated for his grandchildren to receive $500,000.
• However, after the testate passed, the bank trustee distributed only $100,000 to his grandchildren.
• The grandchildren requested to see the trust agreement their grandfather made, but the bank refused.
Case Issue
The issue is whether the grandchildren, beneficiaries of the trust, had a right to view the trust agreement.
Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases
Trust - is an agreement where property is transferred to a trustee to hold for the benefit of a beneficiary. E.g. A establishes a trust with $200,000 and transfers it to the trustee T to manage it.
Trustee - is someone who manages a trust for a beneficiary. E.g. if A establish a trust with T to manage it for B to receive money from the trust, then T is the trustee B is the beneficiary.
Testate - is someone (a male, Testatrix is the female) who have made a will (orders of how to distribute his assets when he dies).
Analysis and Conclusion
The court held for the grandchildren. They argued that:
• Trustee (bank) had the duty to provide beneficiaries (grandchildren) to "complete and accurate information" of the trust.
• Also, the beneficiaries have the right to view trust documents.
• Furthermore, there was no provision in the trust agreement to limit the right for beneficiaries to view trust documents.
Thus, the grandchildren are entitled to inspect the trust agreement.

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Jeanette Wall worked for D. J. Sharron for many years. Sharron executed a will leaving his entire estate to Jeanette. He reexecuted the same will sometime thereafter with the same provisions. Sharron's children contested the will, offering evidence that Sharron was a very sick man, physically as well as mentally, and that Wall was active in Sharron's business as well as his personal life. They offered no evidence that Wall had any involvement in the procurement of the original or the reexecuted will. Who is entitled to the estate? Why? [Wall v Hodges, 465 So 2d 359 (Ala App)]
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Refer to the case Wall v Hodges to answer question as below:
Facts to this case
• Testate executed two wills which left all his assets to J.
• J was involved in testator's business and personal life.
• However, the testate still had surviving children.
Case Issue
The issue is whether the will can be upheld. Note that, the children has no proof of undue influence of J and two wills were written granting the estate to her.
Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases
Testate - is someone (a male, Testatrix is the female) who have made a will (orders of how to distribute his assets when he dies).
Undue Influence - is when an advisor influences the testate to amend or make a will such that the testate has no free agency to make the will himself.
Testamentary Capacity - requires a person is of sound mind to legally amend a will.
Analysis and Conclusion
The court upheld the will. They argued that:
• There was neither proof of undue influence or lack of testamentary capacity by their father.
• The only proof offered for lack of testamentary capacity was that the witnesses did not see him execute the will, but this was not evidence of mental state.
• While, J had great influence over the father's activity there was not enough evidence to show that she ordered him to write the will benefiting only her.
• Therefore, the court believed the evidence were circumstantial and only inferred the possibility of undue influence, but not enough to prove it.
Thus, the will can be upheld.

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James Horne's will provides that his estate is to be distributed to his heirs per capita. Upon his death, two of his three children are surviving and his deceased child left two children (James's grandchildren). His will provides that all his property is to be distributed per capita to these children and grandchildren. How will the property be distributed? How would it be distributed if he had provided for a per stirpes distribution?
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Field executed a will. On her death, the will was found in her safe deposit box, but the part of it containing the fifth bequest had been torn from the will. This torn fragment was also found in the box. There was no evidence that anyone other than Field had ever opened the box. A proceeding was brought to determine whether the will was entitled to be probated. Had the will been revoked? Was the will still valid with a portion torn from it? [Flora v Hughes, 228 SW2d 27 (Ky)]
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Logsdon, who had three children, disliked one of them without any reason. In his will, he left only a small amount to the child he disliked and gave the bulk of his estate to the remaining two. On his death, the disliked child claimed that the will was void and had been obtained by undue influence. Do you agree? [Logsdon v Logsdon, 104 NE2d 622 (Ill)]
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Lingenfelter's will was offered for probate and was opposed. Ms. Lingenfelter (the testatrix) was sick, highly nervous, and extremely jealous, and she committed suicide a week after executing the will. She had, however, seemed to understand the will when she discussed it with an attorney. The will disinherited her husband because she feared he was not faithful to her despite the fact that he was seriously ill when she wrote the will. He died the day after she executed the will, and she grieved his death terribly for one week before committing suicide. Did she have the capacity to make a will? Should it be admitted to probate? [In re Lingenfelter ' s Estate , 241 P.2d 990 (Cal.)]
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wrote her will. The following year, she wrote another will that expressly revoked the earlier will. Later, while cleaning house, she came across the second will. She mistakenly thought that it was the first will and tore it up because the first will had been revoked. Iona died shortly thereafter. The beneficiaries named in the second will claimed that the second will should be probated. The beneficiaries named in the first will claimed that the second will had been revoked when it was torn up. Had the second will been revoked?
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Gerald "Pat" Arrington was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the time of the diagnosis, he was married to Brenda Arrington, but they were separated pending their divorce. Brenda and Pat had no children, but Pat had five children from a previous marriage. Patricia Daley had lived with Pat since she was born. Pat referred to her as his only "stable" child. After Patricia married David Daley, the two stayed with Pat at his ranch and helped him with the cattle and working the land. Pat executed a new will one year before his death and following the brain tumor diagnosis that left everything to Patricia because Pat felt Brenda would just sell his ranch and he did not want it to be sold. After Pat died, Patricia, as executrix of the estate, had the will admitted to probate. Brenda challenged the admission of the will to probate because she said that he gave his property to someone who was not legally his child and that showed he lacked capacity. The will was witnessed by two employees of a bank and both testified that Pat seemed to be his usual self and that he had done business at the bank for 20 years. What should the court do with the will and the challenge to it and why? [In re Estate of Arrington , 365 S.W.3d 463 (Tex. App. 2012)]
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Copenhaver wrote a will in ink, which was found with her other papers in her bedroom at her death. Pencil lines had been drawn through every provision of the will and the signature. There was no evidence as to the circumstances under which this had been done. Was the will revoked? Why or why not? [Franklin v Maclean, 66 SE2d 504 (Va)]
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Valerie and Flora are the beneficiaries of a trust left to them by their mother upon her death. Their mother named Art Casanelli, a family friend, as the trustee. Flora has seen Art driving a new car and has learned that he just purchased a new and rather large home. She is concerned about the trust funds and Art's unfettered access to them. How can she determine whether Art is using trust funds? What happens if she finds that he is?
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a murderer inherit property from his victim? Why or why not?
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George Baxter executed a will that left the bulk of his estate to the Church of Christ in New Boston, Texas. Two members of the church served as the witnesses for the will. Is the will valid? [In re Estate of Gordon, 519 SW2d 902 (Tex)]
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Justin Whitman is the adult son of Jeffrey Whitman, an attorney who has served as the trustee for a trust of which Justin is the beneficiary. The trust was established for Justin by his grandfather, Jeffrey's father. Justin asked his father/trustee for an accounting of the principal and income of the trust. Jeffrey asked for the accounting in 2007 and received nothing by 2008 and filed suit for the accounting. Is Jeffrey entitled to receive the accounting? What could a court do in order to obtain the accounting? [ Whitman v. Whitman , 2012 WL 367055 (Ohio App. 2012)]
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1984, Alexander Tolin executed a will under which the residue of his estate was to be devised to his friend Adair Creaig. The will was prepared by Steven Fine, Tolin's attorney, and executed in Fine's office. Fine retained the original will, and gave a blue-backed photocopy to Tolin. In 1989, Tolin executed a codicil to the will that changed the residuary beneficiary from Creaig to Broward Art Guild, Inc. Fine prepared the codicil, and retained the original, giving Tolin a blue-backed photocopy of the original executed codicil. Tolin died in 1990. Six months before his death, he told his neighbor Ed Weinstein, who was a retired attorney, that he made a mistake and wished to revoke the codicil and reinstate Creaig as the residuary beneficiary. Weinstein told Tolin he could do this by tearing up the original codicil. Tolin handed Weinstein a bluebacked document that Tolin said was the original codicil. Weinstein looked at the document; it appeared to him to be the original, and gave it back to Tolin. Tolin then tore up and destroyed the document with the intent and for the purpose of revocation. Some time after Tolin's death, Weinstein spoke with Fine and found out for the first time that Fine had the original will and codicil. Creaig filed a petition to determine if there had been a revocation of the codicil. From a judgment that Tolin's destruction of a copy of the codicil was not an effective revocation of the codicil, Creaig appealed. Who is correct about the revocation and why? [In re Estate of Tolin, 622 So2d 988 (Fla)]
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