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Equity Will Not Interfere With Plain Language Of Trust Instrument And Trust Settlement Agreement

August 6, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

Equity Will Not Interfere With Plain Language Of Trust Instrument And Trust Settlement Agreement

August 6, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

Just how controlling is a trust instrument?  Even though a court may have the equitable power to modify a trust instrument or trust settlement agreement, the Court of Appeals of Michigan‘s opinion in In re George W. Scheer Inter-Vivos Trust reminds us of just how reluctant a court may be to allow equity to interfere with the plain language of a trust.

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No New York Inter Vivos Pet Trusts: but can you use a traditional trust to circumvent breed-specific laws?

July 17, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

No New York Inter Vivos Pet Trusts: but can you use a traditional trust to circumvent breed-specific laws?

July 17, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

Nearly every state now provides for companion animal trusts, also known as pet trusts.  We think of pet trusts as being used to care for an animal that outlives its owner.   A recent case from the federal court in Connecticut, Mittasch v. Reviczky, however, raises the question of whether an inter vivos pet trust can be used as a way to circumvent breed-specific laws or evade so-called ‘disposal orders’ calling for the animal’s euthanization.  And the case addresses the more basic question of whether inter vivos pet trusts are even valid trusts, at least under New York law.

A ‘disposal order’ was issued for Stella Blue, a Rottweiler that “nipped” a police officer during a confrontation at the dog owner’s home.  Eight months after Stella Blue was seized, the owner created an animal trust under New York law, the property of which

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Are Children Given Up For Adoption Still ‘Descendants’ Of Their Natural Parents?

June 20, 2012

Authors

Luke Lantta

Are Children Given Up For Adoption Still ‘Descendants’ Of Their Natural Parents?

June 20, 2012

by: Luke Lantta

We often see litigation over the inheritance rights of children adopted into a family.  But what about the converse?  What about the inheritance rights of children adopted out of a family?

In In the Matter of the Cecilia Kincaid Gift Trust for George, the Supreme Court of Montana considered this question under Montana law.

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Breach Of Fiduciary Duty And Undue Influence Complaint Against Church Elder Dismissed

May 14, 2012

Authors

Luke Lantta

Breach Of Fiduciary Duty And Undue Influence Complaint Against Church Elder Dismissed

May 14, 2012

by: Luke Lantta

It’s not that often we see a multi-count seemingly detailed breach of fiduciary duty and undue influence complaint get tossed on a motion to dismiss, but that’s what happened in Kaiden v. Zimonja (unpublished).

In affirming the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts helps us understand what’s at the core of undue influence claims.

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