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 November 9, Peter M. Shapland, chair of Day Pitney’s Trust Services and Fiduciary Compliance practice group and chair of the firm’s Trust Oversight Committee, served as a panelist at the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Sixth Annual Probate Law Conference held in Norwood, MA.
On October 10, Tiana Gianopulos will be a panelist at the Business and Professional Women's Success Series breakfast, presented by the Town and County Club in Hartford, CT.
On June 14, Angela Titus McEwan will be speaking on Estate Planning at a Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC) Financial Literacy Seminar at CarePoint MSO in Jersey City, NJ.
Jay Kauffman and Paul Marino authored an article, "How Florida Affirmed Fiduciaries' Lawyer-Client Privilege," published by Law360.
Day Pitney partner Angela Titus McEwan authored an article, “Recent Cases Address Undue Influence in Will Contests,” published by the New Jersey Law Journal.
Gary Betensky and Michael Napoleone were featured in a profile, "Day Pitney LLP: Firm Expands to Better Serve South Florida Clients," published in the March issue of The Boca Raton Observer magazine.
Day Pitney Press Release
Day Pitney associate Darian Butcher has been elected as Vice President of the Board of Directors of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
Day Pitney Press Release
Day Pitney associate Darian Butcher has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA).