Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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In 2006, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. issued a mortgage to Robert Collopy, who transferred the mortgaged property to a trust. Collopy died later that year. In 2010, the Bank of New York Mellon, which had assumed trustee responsibility for administration of the mortgage, filed an action to foreclose on the mortgage, naming Collopy, in his individual capacity and as trustee of the trust, as the defendant. Collopy’s heir and co-trustee, Bobbie King, defended against the foreclosure action. In 2013, after an unfavorable ruling in the foreclosure action, the Bank filed a petition for the formal appointment of a special administrator to Collopy’s estate. The probate court dismissed the petition as untimely under Me. Rev. Stat. 18-A, 3-108(a), which prohibits the initiation of appointment proceedings more than three years after the decedent’s death. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Bank’s petition was properly denied for having been filed outside the three-year limitations period in section 3-108(a). View "Estate of Collopy " on Justia Law

Posted in: Estate Planning

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After Frederick McCollor died in 2010, Frederick’s wife, Patricia, brought suit against the couple’s children, John and Cheryl, for violation of the Improvident Transfers of Title Act (ITTA), undue influence, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duty. The suit stemmed from actions John and Cheryl took at the end of Frederick’s life, including persuading Frederick and Patricia to transfer Frederick’s home to John and Cheryl and transferring over $22,000 from Frederick’s account to a joint account while John acted under a power of attorney obtained from Frederick five days after Frederick had a stroke. The superior court (1) concluded that the transfer of the real property was obtained through undue influence and was therefore void pursuant to the ITTA; (2) determined that John breached his fiduciary duty as the holder of Frederick’s power of attorney with regard to his transfer and use of Frederick’s money; and (3) ordered that the real property be held in constructive trust for the benefit of Frederick’s estate, and that John reimburse the estate in the amount of $22,000. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err in its judgment. View "McCollor v. McCollor" on Justia Law

Posted in: Estate Planning

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Ada Greenblatt died testate and without issue. Ada’s will did not provide instructions on how to distribute her residuary estate, which consisted primarily of real property and personal property, including a mizrah - an ornamental religious print - valued at $100. Ada’s brother, Owen Greenblatt, who was designated as a personal representative of Ada’s estate, selected the mizrah. When the personal representatives petitioned the probate court for an order completing settlement of the estate, Mark Levine, a residuary beneficiary of the estate, opposed the petition, claiming that Owen breached his fiduciary duty to the estate by taking the mizrah. The court entered a judgment completing settlement of the estate, finding that the distribution of the personal property was not improper. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the distribution scheme and Owen’s selection of the mizrah was not an abuse of the personal representatives’ discretion, and thus did not violate the fiduciary duty of impartiality.View "Estate of Greenblatt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Estate Planning

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Lewis Lubar, the trustee of The Clover Trust, filed a complaint for foreclosure against Frederick Connelly. Connelly filed an answer and several affirmative defenses. The superior court granted Lubar’s motion for summary judgment and ordered the sale of Connelly’s residence. Connelly appealed. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of foreclosure and order of sale, holding that summary judgment was improperly granted because (1) Lubar failed to include the minimum required, properly supported, facts in his statement of material facts, and therefore, Lubar failed to demonstrate that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that he was entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and (2) the record was rife with genuine issues of fact material to deciding the issues raised in this case, including Connelly’s affirmative defenses. Remanded.View "Lubar v. Connelly" on Justia Law

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After Daniel Nickerson suffered a fatal heart attack, Nickerson’s wife, Cecelia, as personal representative of Nickerson’s estate, filed professional negligence and wrongful death claims against Daniel’s doctor, Dr. Alan Carter, and vicarious liability claims against Mercy Primary Care, Dr. Carter’s employer. A jury found that Dr. Carter was negligent but not the legal cause of Daniel’s death. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s judgment, holding that the court erred in admitting the findings of a medical malpractice screening panel, as the panel chair’s consideration of evidence outside the record violated the Maine Health Security Act and Maine’s procedural rules. Remanded.View "Estate of Nickerson v. Carter" on Justia Law