Probate Administration News

Case Summaries

Probate Trusts

[05/09] Higgins v. Higgins
In a trust case in which a wife agreed to hold funds in trust for her husband's elderly stepmother, and after her husband's death, the wife changed the form of the accounts and used the funds for her own purpose, the trial court's judgment in favor of wife-defendant under Code of Civil Procedure section 631.8 is reversed where, despite the form of the bank accounts, when clear and convincing evidence shows funds were transferred to an account owner to hold in an irrevocable trust for a third party beneficiary and the trustee repudiates the trust, a constructive trust may be imposed on the funds for the beneficiary's estate to prevent unjust enrichment.

[05/08] US v. Cardaci
In an action involving the Government's attempts to collect unpaid taxes assessed against a homeowner, seeking a judicial sale of the home, the district court's judgment, that a forced sale would be inequitable and order that the homeowner make monthly rent payments to the Government instead, is: 1) affirmed as to the district court?s authority to consider whether the property should be subject to a forced sale; but 2) vacated and remanded for recalculation of the ownership interests in the property and reconsideration of the equitable factors weighing for and against a sale.

[04/20] Bresler v. Wilmington Trust Co.
In a breach of contract action brought by personal representatives of an estate, the district court's judgment that trustee-defendant breached an agreement to lend money for the acquisition, maintenance, and certain investments relating to life insurance policies obtained for plaintiffs, is affirmed over defendant's arguments that the district court erred in admitting testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness, the jury verdict including the award of damages was not supported by the evidence, and additional terms of the district court's order also were not supported by the evidence.

[04/20] US v. Harris
In a case in which the beneficiary owes restitution ordered following his 1997 conviction, the district court's decision that a writ of continuing garnishment attaches to a beneficiary's interest in discretionary support trusts is affirmed where the beneficiary's interest in the trusts, which were established by his parents for his support, qualifies as 'property' under 28 U.S.C. sections 3002(12), 3205(a) and 18 U.S.C. section 3613(c).

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