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If You Want To Bind Heirs To An Agreement, Then You Better Say So

November 16, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

If You Want To Bind Heirs To An Agreement, Then You Better Say So

November 16, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

In contracts and settlement agreements, we usually see boilerplate defining an individual party as including that individual party’s “heirs, personal representatives, agents, transferees, servants, employees, attorneys, representatives, successors and assigns” or something similar. 

You also regularly see a paragraph stating something like “this Agreement shall be binding upon the undersigned and their respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors, transferees, assigns, agents and attorneys.”

So, how important is this boilerplate?  According to the Missouri Court of Appeals in Anderson v. Parker, very important.

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Post-Will Post-Nuptial Agreement Waived Wife’s Beneficial Rights Under Husband’s Will

November 4, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

Post-Will Post-Nuptial Agreement Waived Wife’s Beneficial Rights Under Husband’s Will

November 4, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

It’s not uncommon for couples to divorce and remarry each other or separate and contemplate divorce but stay married.  If a couple does reconcile, they probably want to make sure they review and clean-up any estate planning done during the separation or after the divorce but before the remarriage.

In Steffens v. Evans, a Florida Court of Appeals ruled that a wife waived all of her beneficial rights under her husband’s will by executing a post-nuptial agreement after the husband had executed his will.

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Amendments to Florida Probate Rules

October 14, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

Amendments to Florida Probate Rules

October 14, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

In response to several Florida statutory changes that went into effect earlier this year, the Florida Bar’s Probate Rules Committee proposed certain amendments to Probate Rules 5.025 (Adversary Proceedings) and 5.240 (Notice of Administration).  On September 28, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court adopted the Committee’s proposals. 

The Florida Probate Rules have been amended as follows:

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Illinois Federal Court Enforces Arbitration Provision In Account Agreement

September 21, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

Illinois Federal Court Enforces Arbitration Provision In Account Agreement

September 21, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

If you actually want to forego the courtroom and cast your lot with an arbitrator, incorporating an arbitration provision into your standard client contracts can be an effective tool because these provisions tend to be strictly enforced by courts.  It’s an example of where boilerplate may have some benefits.  Recently, in Hemenway v. Millennium Trust Company, LLC, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois essentially terminated – at least least temporarily – a lawsuit against Millennium Trust Company by enforcing an arbitration agreement contained in a standard client contract.

Edward L. Hemenway”s Roth Individual Retirement Account Agreement and his Traditional Individual Retirement Account Custodial Agreement had an identical and standard arbitration provision which broadly encompassed “disputes between the parties.”

Nevertheless, Hemenway filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the money he contributed to his Roth and IRA accounts was lost, that Millennium Trust Company

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Who Should Sign Arbitration Agreements?

August 26, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

Who Should Sign Arbitration Agreements?

August 26, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

We are increasingly seeing more agreements between fiduciaries and clients that contain mandatory arbitration provisions.  Typically the agreements are signed by an “authorized representative” of the fiduciary and personally by the client.  But should other persons within the fiduciary’s organization also be signing on to the arbitration provision? 

Although not a fiduciary litigation case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided in DK Joint Venture 1 v. Weyand that a corporation’s CEO and CFO – who were not signatories to their corporation’s arbitration agreements – were not bound to the arbitration agreement simply by virtue of being agents of the corporation.

This decision has some applicability for arbitration agreements between fiduciaries and clients.  Who should sign an arbitration agreement depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with it.

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Is The Law Unforgiving To Ponzi Scheme Victims?

August 19, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

Is The Law Unforgiving To Ponzi Scheme Victims?

August 19, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

Alaska (and potentially Pennsylvania) law may be or so says the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  In Michael S. Rulle Family Dynasty Trust v. AGL Life Assurance Company, the federal appellate court – applying Alaska and some Pennsylvania law – summarily dismissed a trust’s suit against a life insurance company for losses sustained through investments in four funds operated by Bernie Madoff.  In fact, the court went so far as to decide that each of the Michael S. Rulle Family Dynasty Trust’s eight claims against AGL Life Assurance Company failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, meaning they couldn’t even get to get into the good stuff through discovery.  Here’s the background:

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