In Pellegrini v. Breitenbach, Case No. SJC-10458, 2010 Mass. LEXIS 293 (May 25, 2010), the Supreme Judicial Court declined to reform a will to create a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT) in order to minimize estate taxes and maximize distributions to the charitable beneficiaries of the will.
The decedent's lawyer, believing the decedent's assets to be modest, drafted a simple two-page will for the decedent. The lawyer explained that if he had known of the actual size of the decedent's estate, he would have drafted a more sophisticated estate plan that would have qualified as a CRAT. Evidence was also presented of the decedent's charitable intent.
While the Court acknowledged the various circumstances under which reformation of a trust instrument has been allowed, the Court declined to reform the decedent's will. The Court cited Flannery v. McNamara, 432 Mass. 665 (2000), where it was held that "[c]ourts have no power to reform wills." The Court also denied the requested reformation because, among other things, the request was not made until ten years after the decedent's death and thus was not timely.
Day Pitney Newsletter
Clifford Nichols wrote an article, "When Addressing Cybersecurity and Data Breach, Don't Forget eDiscovery," for New Jersey Law Journal. The article is about how companies should consider eDiscovery and litigation response issues when making policy or infrastructure changes to address cybersecurity and data breach risks.
Day Pitney Press Release
Rick Sanders is quoted in an article, "Business Groups Encouraged by Legislators," in NJBIZ, which addresses political activity behind a bill to phase out New Jersey's estate tax. Under the bipartisan bill, the estate tax, which currently applies to inheritances valued at $675,000 or more, would be eliminated gradually over a five-year period. "It affects such a small part of the population," Sanders said. "It just strikes me as unusual that all of a sudden, this bill came. I think it's not coincidental that the governor was campaigning for president at the time he called for the repeal. For years and years, there's been proposals to increase the exemption to $1 million and it never got any traction in New Jersey."
Boston, Mass., January 20, 2016 – Day Pitney is pleased to announce Jillian Hirsch, a partner in Day Pitney’s Litigation Practice, has been selected as one of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s 2015 Lawyers of the Year. Honorees were nominated by their colleagues, clients and other legal professionals for their outstanding professional accomplishments.
Boston, Mass. November 11, 2015 – Day Pitney is pleased to announce Leiha Macauley, a partner in Day Pitney’s Individual Clients Practice, has been selected as a 2015 Boston Rising Star by The National Law Journal.
Jillian Hirsch was quoted in an article, "Trust divisible in divorce despite possible new beneficiaries," in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. In the article, Hirsch, who represented the wife in the matter, explains why the Appeals Court's decision of Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl is significant.
"It confirmed that an interest in a trust with an ascertainable standard--specifically one with a history of distributions woven into the fabric of the marriage--is a vested, presently enforceable interest and therefore properly included in a marital estate for purposes of equitable division of property in a divorce," she said.