In Bruner v. Bruner, Case No. SJC-10653 (Jan. 27, 2011), the Supreme Judicial Court approved the reformation of a trust to conform with the settlor's intent.
The trust instrument provides that its assets are to be divided between two subtrusts: the "marital trust" for the benefit of the settlor's surviving spouse, and the "family trust" for the benefit of the remaining named beneficiaries and their issue. Unfortunately, because of a decline in the value of the assets since the settlor's death, there would have been nothing left for the family trust after the marital trust was funded pursuant to the formula in the trust instrument.
The trustees sought to reform the trust to allow the family trust to be funded first, with the remaining assets allocated to the marital trust. The trustees argued that this modification would be consistent with the settlor's intent to fund the family trust and to minimize the eventual taxes on her surviving spouse's estate by reducing the assets allocated to the marital trust. With the assent of all parties and a guardian ad litem, the Court ordered the requested reformation.
Interestingly, after oral argument, the Court asked the trustees to supplement the record with affidavits from the attorney who drafted the trust instrument and from the surviving spouse. These affidavits provided the Court with information regarding the settlor's estate planning goals that was missing from the record. The Court reminded parties in future cases to furnish "a full and proper record and the requisite degree of proof that they are entitled to the relief they seek."
On February 11, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and Prudential will present the 11th Annual Corporate Counsel Conference.
On January 13, Darian Butcher will moderate and Alisa Hacker will speak at the Boston Bar Association webinar, "Breach of Fiduciary Duty Litigation: Superior Court Versus Probate & Family Court."
Margaret Meehan, Tiana Gianopulos and Alexis Gettier collaborated on an article, "New Direction: The Connecticut Uniform Directed Trust Act" for the Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal.
Mark Romance authored an article, "Five Tips for Representing a Non-Party Served with a Document Subpoena: Welcome to the Party?," published by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation.
Day Pitney Press Release
Day Pitney Press Release
Adam Myron, senior counsel resident in Day Pitney's West Palm Beach office, is running for judge in south Florida.
Darian Butcher and Alisa Hacker were appointed to the Boston Bar Association Virtual Hearing Resource Guides Probate Team.
Day Pitney's Michael Napoleone has been appointed to the Palm Beach County League of Cities board of directors.