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What Constitutes Trustee Breach of the Duty of Loyalty?

A trustee’s responsibilities in managing a trust include the duty of loyalty imposed by Minnesota law. Breach of the duty subjects a trustee to litigation, including potential removal as trustee. To shed light on how a court may consider allegation… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
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Estate Litigation: Authority of a Personal Representative to Settle Claims

The Minnesota Probate Code imposes substantial duties and authority on the personal representative of an estate, among them the ability “satisfy and settle claims.” Occasionally, exercise of that authority leads to a court challenge questioning t… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
What Constitutes Breach o…

What Constitutes Breach of Fiduciary Duty By a Trustee?

The Minnesota Trust Code, found in Chapter 501C of the Minnesota Statutes, imposes specific fiduciary duties on a trustee. If a trustee breaches any of those duties, a court may grant relief to a person who suffers harm. In determining whether a trus… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
How Beneficiary Designati…

How Beneficiary Designations Lead to Estate & Probate Litigation

Estates increasingly include assets that pass to the owner’s heirs outside the probate process through use of beneficiary designations. With the expanded use of this approach come a myriad of issues and a growing number of court cases involving ben… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
Resolving Disputes Over a…

Resolving Disputes Over a Family Member’s Health Care Directive

The dramatic increase in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) has many unanticipated complications. Family disagreements about medical treatment for a loved one are not unusual. For some families, differences among family members about… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
Challenging a Minnesota R…

Challenging a Minnesota Revocable Trust on the Basis of Lack of Capacity or Undue Influence

A specific Minnesota statutory provision governs any court challenge to a revocable trust based on lack of capacity of the settlor. In a November 2018 decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reviewed the statutory standard and the prior court cases… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
Spousal Elective Share Li…

Spousal Elective Share Litigation Under the Minnesota Probate Code

The Minnesota Probate Code prevents a spouse from unilaterally disinheriting his or her spouse (intentionally or accidentally), by providing a surviving spouse with the ability to exercise the right to an elective share of a deceased spouse’s estat… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
Can a Creditor or Benefic…

Can a Creditor or Beneficiary Challenge a Spendthrift Provision in a Trust?

A spendthrift provision in a trust restricts a beneficiary’s ability to transfer trust assets. It also prevents creditors from reaching the property of the trust to repay the beneficiary’s debts. Not surprisingly, beneficiaries and creditors ofte… Read More
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Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in Trust Litigation

When administration of a trust does not go smoothly, the trust may end up in litigation. In court cases involving a trust, a common question concerns whether the trustee (or the other party) can recover attorney’s fees in trust litigation. Early in… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate
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When Can Minnesota Court Remove the Personal Representative of an Estate?

The personal representative of an estate collects and distributes the property of a person who passed away. Most of the time, no issues arise during administration of the estate. But what happens if that person mishandles the estate? In specific circ… Read More
Categories: Litigation, Probate