Justia Family Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery
In re: Trust for the Benefit of Samuel Frances duPont
The trustees sought instructions as to the proper distribution of the principal and income of the trust, which granted the donee a limited testamentary power of appointment. The issue is whether a divorce decree incorporating a settlement agreement in which the donee agreed to exercise his power of appointment to benefit the children of his first marriage, bound the donee and the trust, or whether the donee’s last will and testament, which subsequently exercised the donee’s power of appointment to benefit his granddaughter from his second marriage, controls. The master found that the settlement agreement incorporated in a Nevada divorce decree did not bind the trust, nor did it represent a partial release of the donee’s power of appointment. Imposing a constructive trust over the trust property is not appropriate in these circumstances, the master concluded, and recommended that the court grant the granddaughter’s motion for summary judgment and order the trustee to distribute the trust principal and income consistent with the exercise of the donee’s power of appointment in his last will and testament. View "In re: Trust for the Benefit of Samuel Frances duPont" on Justia Law
in Re: Ren Xiong Estate
Husband died intestate in 2008. A woman, claiming to be his wife, was appointed as administrator of the estate. Petitioner, who resides in the Peoples’ Republic of China, alleged that she was the surviving spouse and sought an elective share. The petition was dismissed. According to petitioner, the first stipulation of dismissal was based upon counsel’s belief that the parties had reached a settlement, and the second stipulation of dismissal was to allow parallel litigation in Pennsylvania. Unable to resolve that litigation, petitioner filed the instant action in May 2011. In her belated response to a motion to dismiss, petitioner alleged that she was not informed of husband’s death for several weeks, and was not timely notified of appointment of the administrator. The court declined to set aside the dismissal. No petition for an extension of time for election was filed during the sixth-month period. The first petition was filed more than five months after the limitations period had expired, and the current petition was filed nearly two years after the limitations period had expired. View "in Re: Ren Xiong Estate" on Justia Law
In the matter of: Jean I. Willey Trust
This was an action for approval of accounting and termination of a testamentary trust. Jean I. Willey, the testator, had four sons: Todd, Mark, Scott, and Dale. Todd, filed a motion seeking approval of the trust accounting and the termination of Mark's supplemental needs trust, the corpus of which, according to Todd, was reduced to around $5,000 and should be turned over to Mark (via his guardians). The petition to approve the accounting and terminate the trust was opposed by Mark and Scott, together with Scott's wife (collectively, the "Objectors"). The Objectors made three objections to the Petition to Terminate the Estate: the gift of money from Jean to Todd during her lifetime worked an ademption on the bequest to Todd of a portion of the residue of Jean's estate; Jean's real property, which passed to the four brothers as co-tenants, and which was informally managed as a rental property for several years by Dale, generated more income than had been distributed to the brothers; and the language in the will which they construed as creating in Jean's real property a life estate for Mark. The court denied all of the Objector's objections and granted the Trustee's Petition to Approve the Accounting and the Dissolution of the Trust. The court also held that the trustee should submit a form of order consistent with the opinion within thirty calendar days.
In the Matter of Trust for Grandchildren of Wilbert L. and Genevieve W. Gore
This case stemmed from a dispute regarding the distribution formula of an irrevocable trust that Wilbert L. and Genevieve W. Gore set up for the benefit of their grandchildren (Pokeberry Trust). The court held that the October Instrument governed the Pokeberry Trust; the Pokeberry Formula would be applied to determine how the corpus of the trust would be distributed among the Gores' nineteen natural-born children; and Jan C. was neither a grandchild of the Gores for purposes of the Pokeberry Trust nor entitled to any relief other than what he was granted by the September Opinion. Counsel was requested to confer and to submit an implementing order.
Conaway v. Hawkins, et al.
This case stemmed from an adverse possession property dispute in Sussex County, Delaware. The court found that petitioners were, by at least 1980, aware of (and, therefore, on notice of) the claims of William Wiggins to the exclusive, fee simple ownership, as a surviving husband of Anna Wiggins, to attractive real property. The court also held that William's possession was known to plaintiffs at least by then to be exclusive as to them. Therefore, with these findings of fact, the rights of William and, thus, those claiming under him, including Parker Enterprises, Inc. Profit Sharing Plan (Parker), now the only record owner of the property, to title by adverse possession, were hereby confirmed in light of passage of more than twenty years between 1980 and 2006, the date when this action was commenced. Accordingly, Parker had demonstrated that it was the fee simple owner of the property and that the remaining plaintiffs have no right to the property.