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Insurance Company Not Liable For Cutting Life Insurance Check To Wrong Trust

April 24, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

Insurance Company Not Liable For Cutting Life Insurance Check To Wrong Trust

April 24, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

Thomas and Michael Tessier allegedly bilked Frederick and Thaddeus Jakobiec and the estate of their mother, Beatrice Jacobiec, out of millions of dollars.  One part of that scheme allegedly involved the theft of approximately $100,000 in life insurance proceeds due a trust benefiting Thaddeus.   After Beatrice’s death, Thomas was rummaging through Beatrice’s items and found that a life insurance policy existed on the life of Beatrice.  That policy was payable to a trust known as the Smillie Trust.  So began this alleged criminal enterprise.

Thomas and Michael filed an ex parte petition to remove Frederick as trustee and install Michael as the trustee of the Smillie Trust for the benefit of Thaddeus.  Nearly simultaneously, Thomas fraudulently created a second trust for Thaddeus.  Through alleged fraud, forgery, and subterfuge, Thomas convinced the insurance company to pay the death benefit to the

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A Cautionary Tale About Trustees Picking Sides Between Beneficiaries

February 7, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

A Cautionary Tale About Trustees Picking Sides Between Beneficiaries

February 7, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

When trust beneficiaries fight, the trustee usually ends up stuck in the middle.  The trustee is often then forced into taking a position in the dispute.  Not surprisingly, judges tend to be very interested in what the trustee thinks, especially if the trustee is a corporate fiduciary.  Chances are that the trustee’s position in the litigation is aligned with one set of beneficiaries but is adverse to the positions being advocated by another set of beneficiaries.  So, how far can or should a trustee force the issue of upholding the settlor’s intent as expressed in the trust instrument?  In Shelton v. Tamposi, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire gives us some thoughts under the Uniform Trust Code in a case involving an in terrorem clause, and the court suggests that there is a bright line the trustee shouldn’t cross.

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Former N.H. Trust Beneficiaries Not Entitled To Jury Trial

May 31, 2012

Authors

Luke Lantta

Former N.H. Trust Beneficiaries Not Entitled To Jury Trial

May 31, 2012

by: Luke Lantta

Probate court jurisdiction seems to give practitioners fits (see here and here).  The limited or specialized jurisdiction of probate courts certainly spills over into trust disputes.  In some jurisdictions, this can have far-reaching implications, such as whether a party has a right to a jury trial.

For example, in DiGaetano v. DiGaetano, the New Hampshire Supreme Court determined that several former trust beneficiaries appealing the judgment of a probate court were not entitled to a jury trial in superior court on their appeal.  It all came down to the nature of the relief sought and the jurisdiction of the original court in which the action was brought.

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New Hampshire Lacked Personal Jurisdiction Over Successor Trustees

December 8, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

New Hampshire Lacked Personal Jurisdiction Over Successor Trustees

December 8, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

Of the many things trustees stay awake at night worrying about, I’m not sure where getting hauled into court in some far off jurisdiction fits on that list.  Wherever it falls onto the list, it’s probably a few slots higher for successor trustees who always have to wonder to what extent they can be held liable for their predecessors’ acts.

Fortunately, as the New Hampshire Supreme Court made clear in Fellows v. Colburn, when it comes to personal jurisdiction – and getting hauled into court in some far off jurisdiction – only your own acts count, not those of your predecessor trustee.

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