Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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In February 2011, two years and four months after Plaintiff learned she had been disinherited by her mother, Plaintiff filed a complaint against financial advisor Bradley Lott for fraud and constructive fraud. A jury found that Lott had committed constructive fraud but that Plaintiff knew or should have known before February 2007 that the fraud occurred. Based on the jury’s findings, the district court dismissed the action, concluding that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment, holding (1) the evidence did not support a finding that Plaintiff could have discovered the fraud sooner, and (2) therefore, the district court erred by dismissing the case based on the statute of limitations. Remanded for a new trial.View "Erdelyi v. Lott" on Justia Law

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In 1997, the Courtenay C. Davis Foundation and Amy Davis (together, “Davis Interests”) entered into an agreement with the University of Wyoming Foundation and the Colorado State University Research Foundation (together, “University Foundations”) in which the Davis Interests donated land and other interests to the University Foundations subject to the terms of the agreement. In 2011, the University Foundations decided to sell the gifted property and listed it for sale. In 2012, the Davis Interests filed an action against the University Foundations seeking to enjoin the sale of the property. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that the donation from the Davis Interests to the University Foundations was a gift, that the agreement did not create an implied trust, and that only the attorney general had standing to enforce the terms of a charitable gift.View "Courtenay C. & Lucy Patten Davis Found. v. Colo. State Univ. Research Found." on Justia Law

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In 2011, Decedent died of injuries incurred in an automobile accident. Decedent was survived by his allegedly estranged wife, Laura Soran, and by his parents and sister. Decedent’s father, in his capacity as personal representative, brought a wrongful death claim brought against Robert Curran, the driver of the vehicle in which Decedent was a passenger when he died, and settled with Curran’s insurance providers for $400,000. A dispute subsequently arose between Decedent’s beneficiaries as to how the settlement proceeds should be distributed. The district court awarded Laura seventy-five percent of the settlement proceeds and divided the remainder among Decedent’s parents and sister. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court’s distribution order was clearly erroneous in that it misapplied the burden of proof and improperly presumed damages in favor of Decedent’s wife where Decedent’s marital relationship was uncertain. Remanded.View "In re Wrongful Death of Daniel P. Soran" on Justia Law

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After H. Kent Dahlke died in 2003, leaving a will he had executed in 2001, there were irregularities in the administration of Kent’s estate, including the probate court’s failure to advise Kent’s surviving wife, Sara Dahlke, of her statutory elective share, and the court’s failure to assure that Kent’s heirs waived a hearing on a decree of distribution. Sara later died. In 2011, five years after the decree of distribution of Kent’s estate was entered and its assets were distributed to the devisees, Sara’s daughter, Susan Jubie, acting as the personal representative of Kent’s estate, the personal representative of Sara’s estate, and individually, sought to set aside the decree of distribution of Kent’s estate. The district court declined to set the decree aside. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that although the probate process went awry in this case, the law governing finality of judgments required that the decree of dissolution stand.View "Estate of Dahlke" on Justia Law

Posted in: Estate Planning