Trust BCLP

Trust BCLP

tennessee

Main Content

Tennessee Will Witnesses Must Sign Will Itself

June 10, 2015

Authors

Luke Lantta

Tennessee Will Witnesses Must Sign Will Itself

June 10, 2015

by: Luke Lantta

Just how strictly does Tennessee construe the formalities relating to the execution of a will?  Very.  In In re Estate of Bill Morris, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee considered what it meant for the witnesses to sign the will.  In this case, the decedent’s son filed a will contest claiming that the decedent’s will was not properly executed because the will was not signed by witnesses as required by Tennessee Code Annotated Section 32-1-104.  This statute requires the testator and at least two witnesses to sign the will.

The decedent signed the second page of the will and immediately following the testator’s signature began on the same page an “affidavit” of the witnesses, which continued onto a third page where the two witnesses signed the affidavit.  While the two witnesses signed the affidavit, they

Read More

Multiple Simultaneous Suits Over The Same Trust?

July 31, 2014

Authors

Luke Lantta

Multiple Simultaneous Suits Over The Same Trust?

July 31, 2014

by: Luke Lantta

Enterprising fiduciary litigation plaintiffs’ lawyers will often look to open up multiple fronts in litigation – a suit in state court, a claim in probate court, and a federal court lawsuit.  But, if the defense is paying attention, this strategy seldom works in trust litigation.  Why?  Because of the Princess Lida doctrine.  The Princess Lida doctrine is also known as the doctrine of prior exclusive jurisdiction.  If a lawsuit is in rem or quasi in rem, which means that a court must have possession of or some control over the property in order to grant the relief sought, then the first court to exercise jurisdiction over the case gets jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts.  Since many trust cases require a court to exercise jurisdiction over the corpus of the trust, that means that the first court to get a case involving the

Read More

Express Language Of Trust Instrument Prevented Plaintiff From Making Certain Claims Against Trustee

March 6, 2014

Authors

Luke Lantta

Express Language Of Trust Instrument Prevented Plaintiff From Making Certain Claims Against Trustee

March 6, 2014

by: Luke Lantta

The words within the four corners of a trust instrument mean something.  In Harvill v. Harvill, a federal case from Tennessee that we’ve previously looked at here, we see that sometimes those express words mean so much that a plaintiff is prevented from making a claim based on allegations that directly contradict the words in the trust.  But, it’s also the part of the opinion about an amendment of the trust pursuant to a power of attorney – something that the court didn’t need to address – that also interests us.  But, before we get into that, let’s first look at what the court had to say about the trustee’s exercise of discretion under the trust instrument.

Read More

Tennessee Requires All Witnesses To A Will To Testify

February 13, 2014

Authors

Luke Lantta

Tennessee Requires All Witnesses To A Will To Testify

February 13, 2014

by: Luke Lantta

When it comes to will execution, sometimes the belt and suspenders approach may be well advised.  But, other times, less is more.  Like, perhaps, when it comes to the number of witnesses.  When state law requires that you only need a set number of witnesses to a will, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee’s opinion in the will contest case of Estate of Woolverton shows us the potential problems that may arise when you bring in extra, unnecessary witnesses.

Read More

Purported Trust Beneficiary Not A Necessary Party To Trust Litigation

April 19, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

Purported Trust Beneficiary Not A Necessary Party To Trust Litigation

April 19, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

We’ve looked at a lot of cases to figure out who needs to be named as a party in trust litigation.  And we’ve assumed that, if a party is suing to have the trust declared invalid or is suing the trustee for breach of fiduciary duty, then all trust beneficiaries need to be joined as parties to the litigation.  That may be the rule, but where there’s a rule there’s apparently an exception.  In Harvill v. Harvill (link provided by Justia.com), a federal court in Tennessee gives us guidance on possible exceptions.

Read More

Can A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Land A Fiduciary In Jail?

March 21, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

Can A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Land A Fiduciary In Jail?

March 21, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

We spend a lot of time here looking at civil cases involving corporate and individual fiduciaries.  That doesn’t mean that the wrongful acts underlying a breach of fiduciary duty can’t also pose criminal problems for a fiduciary.  Occasionally a criminal fiduciary case catches our attention, like the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee’s opinion in Elkins v. Gibson (link provided through Justia.com).  This was a case where a fiduciary sued a police detective for malicious prosecution stemming from a warrant issued for the fiduciary’s alleged theft from his principal.  The fiduciary was arrested but was not convicted of any crime.  Why we’re interested is because the alleged theft took place using a power of attorney.

The federal court dismissed the plaintiff’s case finding that the detective was entitled to qualified immunity.  Specifically, the federal court found that at the time the objectionable warrant was issued, the

Read More
The attorneys of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner make this site available to you only for the educational purposes of imparting general information and a general understanding of the law. This site does not offer specific legal advice. Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Bryan Cave LLP or any of its attorneys. Do not use this site as a substitute for specific legal advice from a licensed attorney. Much of the information on this site is based upon preliminary discussions in the absence of definitive advice or policy statements and therefore may change as soon as more definitive advice is available. Please review our full disclaimer.