Published: July 24, 2017

Litigation and legislation have shaped the extent to which third parties can be held liable when agents abuse their authority under Powers of Attorney (POAs). A landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling known as the Vine case previously put third parties in the difficult position of having to ensure a POA’s validity before following an agent’s instructions, while subjecting the third party to potential lawsuit for not following the instruction of the agent.

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Published: July 6, 2017

With power comes responsibility, but sometimes that responsibility is misused. In our previous blog post, we talked about how abuses occur when the power of attorney (POA) agents act outside the scope of their authority – with the most common illegal moves being unauthorized gifting, retitling of assets and account, changes to transfer on death and beneficiary designations, and changes to a principal’s will.

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Published: June 16, 2017

No one likes to think about what happens if you can no longer make your own decisions. Or what happens if you find yourself in the position of having to make decisions for someone else? Advancing age, illness and accidents are unfortunately facts of life, and many people find themselves facing one if not all of these situations in their lifetimes.

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Published: June 7, 2017

On what would have been his 59th birthday, the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson, the entertainer known as Prince, remains mired in dispute.

When Prince died on April 21, 2016, at age 57, he left an estate reportedly valued at more than $200 million, but no will – a combination that all but guaranteed that a host of legal disputes would arise. Just over a year later, a Minnesota state judge has resolved at least one issue by declaring that the “Purple Rain” singer’s sister and five half-siblings are his heirs.

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Published: May 24, 2017

Two of Alan Thicke’s sons have asked a California state court to head off what could become an ugly battle with the late actor and songwriter’s widow over his estate. Brennan Thicke and singer Robin Thicke, co-trustees of their father’s living trust, filed a Petition for Instructions to resolve their disputes over the distribution of property and the validity of Thicke’s prenuptial agreement with his widow, third wife Tanya Callau, whom he married in 2005.

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Published: May 23, 2017

When President Donald J. Trump took office in January, one of the many questions about his administration was whether he would follow through on his campaign promise to repeal the federal estate tax.

Just a few days before the 100-day mark of his presidency, President Trump answered that question – sort of.

The one-page outline of his proposed tax plan, released April 26, 2017, included one line on the federal estate tax:

“Repeal the death tax.”

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Published: May 19, 2017

Disagreements over an estate or a trust are emotionally charged situations.  Someone close to the people involved has died. Family members are in conflict with each other.  Grief, sadness, old family dynamics and new struggles, mixed with money issues, make it difficult for people to think and act rationally.

The emotionality of a trust or estate conflict often lead the people involved to make some common mistakes – mistakes that can have a big impact on the outcome:

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Published: May 18, 2017

I’ve been handling estate and trust litigation for much of my career.  My experience is that most of the people who come to me to talk about litigation in this difficult context really just want to be treated fairly.

Sometimes that requires filing a lawsuit.

In fact, litigating an estate or trust matter may be the only course of action in some cases.

But it shouldn’t be undertaken lightly.

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