Articles Posted in Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the county court concerning the distribution of the Sheila Foxley Radford Trust, holding that the county court had insufficient evidence upon which it could base its findings. The county court concluded that a gift from Sheila Foxley Radford to Mary Radford was in satisfaction of Mary’s inheritance from the trust. The gift preceded the trust’s restatement but was acknowledged by Mary as an inheritance in a contemporaneous writing. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the transcript before it was insufficient to support the decision of the county court, and the matter must be remanded for a new hearing. View "In re Estate of Radford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s application to probate his father’s will. Plaintiff allegedly learned about his father’s will more than three years after he and his brother commenced an informal probate proceeding to administer their father’s intestate estate. The father’s other two children objected to probating the will. The district court granted summary judgment to the objectors and dismissed the amended petition as time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err (1) in determining that the three-year statute of limitations barred Plaintiff’s application to probate his father’s will; (2) in determining that Plaintiff failed to prove elements of equitable estoppel; and (3) in rejecting Plaintiff’s argument of equitable tolling. View "In re Estate of Fuchs" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the probate court denying the application of the decedent’s wife (Wife) to be treated as an omitted spouse under a section of the Nebraska Probate Code after the decedent made no provision for her in his will. The decedent’s estate resisted the application, arguing that Wife waived her rights to the estate in a prenuptial agreement. The probate court found that the prenuptial agreement was valid and that Wife had waived the right to take as an omitted spouse. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the probate court did not err in concluding that Wife executed the waiver voluntarily and in denying her application to take as an omitted spouse. View "In re Estate of Psota" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed the county court’s denial of Petitioners’ petition for removal of the personal representative of the estate of the decedent pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-2454. Petitioners, devisees under the decedent’s will, disagreed with the personal representative’s decision to enter into a purchase agreement for the sale of a farm, arguing that the sale price was not in the best interests of the estate because, according to Petitioners’ appraiser, the value of the land was substantially higher. The county court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the county court did not err in concluding that Petitioners did not show cause for removal of the personal representative of the estate. View "In re Estate of Etmund" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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In this dispute between the adult children of Robert T. McDowell and Betty Jane McDowell, the county court found ineffective Betty’s exercise of a limited power of appointment given to her by Robert’s trust when she appointed the assets in Robert’s trust to her own revocable trust. The court ordered that the assets be recovered and distributed through Robert’s trust. The Supreme Court modified the county court’s decision to the extent it failed to find that the trustee of Robert’s trust breached the trust and otherwise affirmed, holding that the trustee breached the trust when he distributed certain trust assets pursuant to an invalid exercise of appointment. View "In re Robert L. McDowell Revocable Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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Dorothy Pluhacek died at 100 years of age. Thereafter, Margaret Hickey, the Provincial Superioress of the Omaha province of the Notre Dame Sisters, filed an application for information probate of a document that Hickey claimed to be Pluhacek’s valid will. The county court denied informal probate of the document, concluding that the document, which was signed by Pluhacek, did not qualify as a will because the material provisions were in Pluhacek’s handwriting and that a formal proceeding would be required to determine whether Pluhacek had left a valid holographic will. Hickey then filed an amended petition for formal probate of the document. The county court denied formal probate, concluding that because Hicky had not established that the document was in Pluhacek’s handwriting, it was not admissible as a holographic will. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) as a matter of law, the document was a properly executed will under Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-2327; and (2) therefore, the county court erred when it denied formal probate. Remanded for formal probate. View "In re Estate of Pluhacek" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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In 2011, eighty-six-year-old Carl Landgraf executed two joint warranty deeds conveying approximately 1,000 acres of farmland to Gail Neumeister and Marlene Neumeister. In 2012, Landgraf executed deeds to fix an error in the earlier deeds. After Landgraf’s death, Clarence Mock, as special administrator of Landgraf’s estate, sued the Neumeisters, alleging that the deeds were the product of undue influence and should be set aside. Following a trial, the district court found in favor of the Neumeisters on the claim of undue influence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mock did not meet his burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence that the deeds were the result of undue influence. View "Mock v. Neumeister" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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Appellant was previously married to the decedent. Together, they had a son (Son). After the decedent died, Appellant filed a claim with the estate on Son’s behalf seeking one-half of Son’s reasonable secondary educational expenses not otherwise covered by his savings accounts. The estate disallowed the claim. Thereafter, Appellant filed suit against the estate, seeking that the court order that her previously filed order be “allowed” and that the court confirm the lien of the court’s judgment against real property owned by the estate. Appellant also sought to impose a constructive trust on the estate’s assets. The district court granted the estate’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the issue was not ripe for resolution because it was not possible for know the amount of “reasonable” educational expenses. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellant’s action was ripe because the unknowns presented by this case were insufficient to make Appellant’s suit not ripe. View "Harring v. Gress" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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This appeal arose from two consolidated appeals from proceedings in the county court. The first appeal was from the court’s final order appointing a conservator for Marcia Abbott, and the second was from the court’s order that acted both as a judgment in a trustee removal proceeding and as a final order denying fees and expenses in the conservatorship proceeding. The Supreme Court (1) dismissed the first appeal and dismissed the cross-appeal to the extent it pertained to the first appeal, holding that the conservatorship appointment order became moot upon Marcia’s death while the first appeal was pending; and (2) affirmed the remaining trust and conservatorship issues, including the order removing the successor trustee, declining to surcharge him, disposing of competing attorney fee applications, and otherwise disposing of the trust and conservatorship proceedings. View "In re Conservatorship of Abbott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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After Loyola Kaiser’s husband, Albert Kaiser, died, Heartland Trust Company, as Loyola’s conservator, filed an application in the county court seeking authority to file the elective share it argued was due to Loyola as Albert’s surviving spouse. The county court denied the application. Heartland appealed, arguing that the county court’s decision to deny its application did not conform to the law, was not supported by competent evidence, and was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the county court did not err when it denied Heartland’s request for authorizing to file for the elective share of Albert’s estate on Loyola’s behalf. View "In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Kaiser" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates