U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Retroactive Application of Revocation-on-Divorce Statutes

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 […]

Opportunities for Trustees to Limit Statutes of Limitations (Links to Sample Notices)

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 […]

A Cautionary Tale About Statutes of Limitations

A case recently heard by the Norfolk County, Massachusetts Superior Court serves as a reminder of the importance of paying attention to statutes of limitation and requirements for service of process, especially in cases involving estates. Under Massachusetts law, a personal representative does not need to acknowledge any claim by a creditor of the decedent […]

New MBA Ethics Opinion Discusses Release of Deceased Client’s Estate Planning File

It’s a situation that estate planning petitioners sometimes encounter: a relative of a recently deceased client requests a copy of the attorney’s file relating to the execution of the decedent’s will.  Sometimes it’s the proponent of the will.  Sometimes it’s a disappointed heir who has mounted (or is considering) a will contest.  Maybe the file […]

Trustee’s Power To Acquire Annuity f/b/o Settlor Does Not Make Trust “Countable Asset”

In Heyn v. Director of Medicaid, the Massachusetts Appeals Court in an April 15, 2016 decision considered whether provisions in a self-settled trust rendered it a “countable asset” for Medicaid eligibility.  The trust mandated distributions of income to the settlor and authorized the trustee to sell assets for fair value and “to determine, in accordance with reasonable accounting principles […]