Articles Posted in Trusts & Estates

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In this challenge related to a decedent’s estate the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the county court determining that the evidence was insufficient to prove damages for the conversion of estate property allegedly caused by the personal representative who was removed for breaches of fiduciary duties. On appeal, the designees of the decedent’s estate argued that the county court erred by not (1) awarding damages for the former personal representative’s conversion, damage, or loss of property; (2) awarding fees to the successor personal representative personally against the former representative by way of surcharge; (3) awarding attorney fees and costs personally against the former representative by way of surcharge; (4) imposing sanctions against the former representative or his attorney for the destruction of a deed of conveyance of real estate; and (5) receiving into evidence a certain exhibit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion in the proceedings below. View "In re Estate of Graham" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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In this matter concerning the administration of the Henry B. Wilson, Jr., Revocable Trust Dated June 27, 2002 the Court of Appeals erred in interpreting the order of the county court to have removed the cotrustees of the subtrust of Lou Ann Goding, Henry’s daughter. Lou Ann filed this suit alleging mismanagement of Henry’s trust. The county court, after a trial, removed the cotrustees of Henry’s trust. The Court of Appeals concluded that there was no error in need of correction, interpreting the county court’s order to have removed the cotrustees of Lou Ann’s subtrust. Although the Supreme Court’s reasoning differed from that of the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Court of Appeals erred in interpreting the county court’s order to have removed the cotrustees of the subtrusts; but (2) because the Court of Appeals did not remove the cotrustees of Lou Ann’s subtrust de novo, instead finding no error in need of correction, this Court’s ultimate conclusion that the county court did not err is the same. View "In re Henry B. Wilson, Jr., Revocable Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing the claims brought by a trust’s grantors and beneficiaries for constructive trusts against other parties who had dealt with the trustee, holding that the claims failed either for lack of proof or because of Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-38,101. The district court dismissed the case after finding that the defendants were all entitled to protection under 30-38,101, which protects third parties dealing in good faith with a trustee. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing the claims for a constructive trust against the defendants in this case. View "Junker v. Carlson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the county court that Plaintiff, personal representative of the estate of Richard A. Hasterlik and an individual beneficiary, did not qualify for preferential inheritance tax treatment under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2004 on the ground that Plaintiff failed to prove that the decedent stood in the acknowledged relation of a parent to her. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the county court erred in finding that the evidence did not establish that Plaintiff was a person to whom the deceased, for more than ten years prior to his death, stood in the acknowledged relation of a parent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the county court’s factual determination was not clearly wrong. View "In re Estate of Hasterlik" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from the county court’s order appointing a special administrator in this will contest, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. Two siblings filed a petition in the county court contesting the validity of Marcia G. Abbott-Ochsner’s will presented for informal probate by their brother, who had been appointed as the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative transferred the will contest to the district court. Afterward, the county court granted the siblings’ request to appoint a special administrator for the estate pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-2425 pending resolution of the district court proceedings. The brother appealed, arguing that the county court lacked jurisdiction to appoint a special administrator because the case had been transferred to the district court. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the county court’s order did not affect with finality Appellant’s substantial rights, and therefore, the order appealed from was not a final order. View "In re Estate of Abbott-Ochsner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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At issue in this case was whether a lease clause requiring a remainderman that leased real estate from a life tenant for one year ending on October 31, 2015 to pay unspecified real estate taxes made her liable for 2015 taxes that became due and payable on December 31. The life tenant died in August. The county court determined that the lease agreements controlled the lessor’s and lessee’s respective obligations to pay taxes, found the leases to be ambiguous, and ordered the life tenant’s Estate to reimburse the remaindermen. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that, because the Estate did not own the property on December 31, 2015, and the leases did not obligate the decedent to pay taxes that had not yet become due, the county court erred in ordering the estate to reimburse the remaindermen for the real estate taxes they paid. View "In re Estate of Karmazin" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether a lease clause requiring a remainderman that leased real estate from a life tenant for one year ending on October 31, 2015 to pay unspecified real estate taxes made her liable for 2015 taxes that became due and payable on December 31. The life tenant died in August. The county court determined that the lease agreements controlled the lessor’s and lessee’s respective obligations to pay taxes, found the leases to be ambiguous, and ordered the life tenant’s Estate to reimburse the remaindermen. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that, because the Estate did not own the property on December 31, 2015, and the leases did not obligate the decedent to pay taxes that had not yet become due, the county court erred in ordering the estate to reimburse the remaindermen for the real estate taxes they paid. View "In re Estate of Karmazin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the county court that a modification of the terms of the trust of Jennie Shire was not authorized by the Nebraska Uniform Trust Code where the beneficiaries did not unanimously consent to the modification and the modification would not adequately protect the interests of the nonconsenting beneficiaries. The trustee of the trust at issue filed a petition for trust proceeding to provide increased disbursements from the trust to the remaining lifetime beneficiary. The county court ruled that the requested modification of the trust was not warranted under Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-3837 and 30-3838. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the beneficiaries did not unanimously consent to modification; (2) modification would not have adequately protected the nonconsenting beneficiaries; and (3) the county court was not presented with the issue of whether the trust could be modified under the common-law doctrine of deviation, and therefore, the doctrine of deviation was not appropriate for consideration on appeal. View "In re Trust of Shire" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court order granting summary judgment in favor of Heritage Bank in this action for forcible entry and detainer against James Gabel, C.J. Land & Cattle, L.P., and MCGFF, LLC after James failed to pay rent on farmland pursuant to a lease agreement. In its order, the district court concluded that Heritage Bank was the trustee of the Charles L. Gabel Revocable Trust, that Defendants did not timely deliver the 2015 crop payment to the trustee, that Defendants had notice they were not in compliance with the terms of the lease, and that the defect was not cured within a reasonable amount of time. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the record supported the district court’s finding that Heritage Bank was the trustee and had standing to bring this action; but (2) genuine issues of material fact remained regarding the other issues raised by Defendants, precluding summary judgment. View "Heritage Bank v. Gabel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part an order of the county court resulting from a trust’s beneficiaries’ suit against Lyle A. Forgey, another beneficiary and trustee. The parties were beneficiaries of the Glenn G. Forgey Revocable Trust. Plaintiffs Marvel Forgey and her three children sought to remove Lyle as trustee, secure administration of the trust, value trust assets, divide those assets into separate trusts for the beneficiaries, and determine liabilities for alleged breaches of Lyle’s fiduciary duties. Bessie Forgey-McCoy and her two children, also beneficiaries, joined as interested parties. The county court valued and distributed trust assets, assessed damages against Lyle for estate tax interest and penalties, and declined to award attorney fees or costs. All parties appealed. The Supreme Court held that the county court (1) erred by not awarding damages for Lyle’s untimely reports and accountings of his failure to collect rents on behalf of the trust; (2) abused its discretion in declining to award attorney fees to Marvel, Bessie, and their children; and (3) otherwise did not err in its findings. View "In re Estate of Glenn G. Forgey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates