Many of our cases involve actual or suspected financial exploitation of the elderly in which a claim is made that someone took advantage of the cognitive and/or emotional vulnerability of an older person to gain financial enrichment from “gifting” of assets, changes in financial accounts, and/or rewriting of estate plans. While the typical case involves […]
Power of attorney accounting actions are among the most common types of litigation in our practice. Effective January 1, 2018, New Hampshire adopted a new statute that made some significant changes and refinements to the law. Here is a recent article in the “Know the Law” series of the Union Leader that discusses the new law.
The NH Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ketteridge v. Martin Lord & Osman, P.A. strongly suggests that the Court will likely hold that an estate planning attorney does not owe a duty to intended beneficiaries of an estate plan to evaluate whether the client is being subjected to undue influence when the client makes a change to the […]
On June 3, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver delivered a funny but eye-opening examination of the guardianship process in the United States. Bringing his trademark wit, John Oliver points out ways in which the guardianship system fails those vulnerable people it is designed to protect. People who watched the clip may wonder after watching […]
Hodges v. Johnson – Can you still decant to remove beneficiaries in New Hampshire? The statute says yes but the courts say no.
One of the more significant decisions from the New Hampshire Supreme Court as it relates to the area of Trusts and Estates was decided this year. On January 22, 2018, the Court denied the Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration or Rehearing, thereby finalizing its decision in the case of Hodges v. Johnson.
In an eight-to-one decision, the U.S. Supreme Court approved of the retroactive application of revocation-on-divorce statutes—laws that revoke beneficiary designations and other dispositions to a spouse automatically when a couple divorces. Since Massachusetts has enacted a revocation-on-divorce statute, the decision has implications for residents of the Bay State. The case involved an insurance policy purchased […]
At our request, NH Probate Court Justice Mark Weaver has certified for interlocutory appeal an important standing issue of first impression and the NH Supreme Court has now accepted the appeal. In In re Estate of Mesiti, the son of the testator filed claims to contest the validity of his father’s last will and testament on alleged […]
The MA and NH Trust Codes offer trustees important opportunities to reduce the statutes of limitations for actions to contest trust validity and the NH Code offers trustees an opportunity to reduce the limitations period governing claims of breach of fiduciary duty against them. Although some of my colleagues worry that taking the steps outlined […]
In our cases, demands and actions for accountings by attorneys-in-fact under powers of attorney are a common feature. We have updated the Pleadings Bank to include a draft POA accounting and litigation hold demand which you can access at this link.
My view, often expressed to clients and in presentations, is that capacity is the key issue in most undue influence cases. Unless the testator suffered significant diminished capacity at the time the will was signed, a contest of the plan on grounds of undue influence is unlikely to succeed. A finding of undue influence requires […]