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Law school professors are famous for telling students: "Never be in the casebook." The casebook is, of course, the text books used to teach students the law. It is chock full of cases that have been appealed and appealed again. No one not in a Dickens novel wants to be involved in cases like that. ...

This is the age of 'do-it-yourself' and, for good and bad, that also applies to the law. We are occasionally involved in probate matters, if not estate disputes, involving people who did some or all of their wills, trusts, etc. Instead of commenting directly, I think this story from a somewhat famo...

If you've been reading our blog over the last few months and you're the executor of an estate or trustee of a trust - or expect to be one in the near future -you may have second thoughts. Undue influence, self-dealing, gifts that aren't gifts. We've written about it all from the point of view of th...

Separation and divorce have, perhaps obviously, potentially adverse effects on estates and the probate process. Regardless of when it occurred. Both are fraught with emotions and complications that tend to linger for years. Along the line, promises are made, between the exes, with the children, som...

There can't be undue influence when someone leaves their entire estate to a charity, right? That is currently being vigorously debated in a New York court right now and it promises to go on for some time. It revolves around the estate of Himan Brown. Himan died in 2010 at age 99. The estate is value...

"Well, they had a lawyer, so ..." is a refrain that may be unique to estate and probate litigation. It seems that heirs - legitimate heirs with very legitimate claims - are hesitant, sometimes fatally so, to follow through with their claims because of the volume of documents the deceased signed. Som...

Gifts, Generosity or Undue Influence? is the first of a series of posts that we're calling - for lack of a better title - Famous Estate Cases. We think there's nothing quite as instructive about probate, wills, estates, disinheritance, undue influence and so everything else we write about  than re...

A parent starts a company with a friend, maybe even a few friends. It does well, grows, prospers, is there for future generations. The parent dies, the company – for tax and other reasons – goes into a trust and the trustee is a business partner. Sometimes the beneficiary works in the business, ...

This is a serious question that we get a lot: ‘when are estates closed?’ When is it finally done, wrapped up, no longer susceptible to challenges, no longer managing assets? A pretty important question, really, for trustees, beneficiaries, and interested parties on the outside looking in. Whil...

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