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Tag Archives: trusts & estates

Domestic Relations – Separation Agreement – Court Orders – Trusts & Estates – Husband’s Will – Tort/Negligence – Constructive Trust (access required)

MacMillan v. MacMillan A decedent’s first wife has stated a claim for a constructive trust against the decedent’s widow when the first wife alleges that the decedent was under court order to leave her $38,000 but he arranged his finances so that his widow received the money instead.

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Civil Practice – Prior Pending Action Doctrine – Different Issues & Relief Requests – Trusts & Estates – Wills – Testamentary Capacity & Undue Influence – Tort/Negligence – Conversion & Breach of Fiduciary Duty (access required)

Shoaf v. Shoaf Plaintiffs’ will caveat proceeding presents the issues of the testatrix’s testamentary capacity and undue influence while this tort action presents the issues of whether defendant converted the testatrix’s property and breached his fiduciary duty to her while she was alive. The caveat proceeding seeks to have the testatrix’s will set aside, while this action seeks damages and a constructive trust. Even though the two proceedings involve the same parties, they do not present the same legal issues or demand the same relief; therefore, the prior pending action doctrine does not apply.

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Trusts & Estates – Civil Practice – Venue – Tort/Negligence – Medical Malpractice (access required)

Estate of Davis v. Groff As administrator of the decedent’s estate, plaintiff was entitled to bring suit in the county where he resides. This rule of law, which was set down by our Supreme Court in Trust Co. v. Finch, 232 N.C. 485, 61 S.E.2d 377 (1950), was not and could not be changed by this court’s holding in Roberts v. Adventure Holdings, LLC, 703 S.E.2d 784 (2010), disc. review denied, 365 N.C. 187, 707 S.E.2d 241 (2011). Furthermore, although Roberts held that a guardian ad litem’s residence was insufficient to justify venue, the court also explained that the law regarding administrators and other fiduciaries did not apply to GALs.

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Trusts & Estates – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Incompetent Adult – Appointment of Guardian – Real Property – Constructive Trust (access required)

Estate of Formyduval v. YeddoEven though plaintiffs’ decedent was allegedly incompetent when she transferred property to defendants during the 1990’s, since the decedent was declared incompetent on Aug. 13, 1999 and a guardian was appointed for her on Sept. 3, 1999, the statute of limitations on plaintiffs’ constructive trust claim began running on Sept. 3, 1999.

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Tort/Negligence – Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Trusts & Estates – Attempted Resignation (access required)

Wortman v. Hutaff Since there were no qualified trust beneficiaries at the time the defendants submitted their resignations as trustees and as executors of the settlor’s estate, defendants were required to obtain court approval before resigning. Plaintiffs allege that defendants were negligent and breached their fiduciary duty to plaintiffs when, after they ineffectively resigned, defendants failed to protect estate-owned property that might have eventually been transferred to the pour-over trust once the estate was settled. Because these acts and omissions occurred less than three years before plaintiffs filed their complaint, plaintiffs’ claims are not time-barred.

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Trusts & Estates – Wills – Real Property – Sale by Executrix – Tort/Negligence – Fraud & Constructive Fraud – Self-Dealing (access required)

Collier v. Bryant The testator’s will directed his executrix to sell his real property and divide the proceeds among his four children unless all four agreed to divide the property. Since the executrix was one of the testator’s four children, the will gave her the right to sell the testator’s real property; title to the real property did not vest in the testator’s children upon his death. We affirm in part and reverse in part the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims.

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Trusts & Estates – Wills – Undue Influence – Fiduciary Relationship – Testatrix’s Daughter (access required)

In re Estate of Raney A brother presented enough evidence to go to the jury on the question of whether his sister unduly influenced their mother - while the mother was under a doctor’s care and was living in the sister’s house — to change her will in favor of the sister. We affirm the trial court’s denial of the sister’s motions for a directed verdict, for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and for a new trial.

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Trusts & Estates – Declaratory Judgment & Accounting – Trust Modification – Civil Practice – Summary Judgment (access required)

Oakes v. Oakes The defendant-beneficiary’s counterclaim did not request the trust modifications set out in the trial court’s summary judgment order, and no evidence supported the modifications. We reverse summary judgment for the defendant-lifetime beneficiary and remand for further proceedings.

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