Dog Bites Man: GRAT Property Included in Gross Estate on Grantor’s Death During Trust Term

The district court decision in Badgley v U.S. (ND Cal, May 17, 2018, No. 17–cv-00877–HSG) 2018 US Dist Lexis 83537 confirms what we have long believed: The value of a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is included in the grantor’s estate if the grantor dies during the term of the retained annuity interest. Continue reading

Alas Poor Urick: SLAPP-stick Comedy Relieves Probate Court Drama

Updated 2/1/18: In Gaynor v Bulen (Jan. 23, 2018, D070907) 2018 Cal App Lexis 53, the court held that a petition alleging that trust assets were improperly used in probate litigation was not a cause of action arising from protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute. Although the alleged breach of loyalty may have been carried out by the filing of probate petitions, the petitioning activity itself was not the basis of the claim.

Despite its name, a statute designed to deter strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) has been applied to a variety of private disputes, including probate proceedings, as a recent decision illustrates. Continue reading

No Means No for Successor Trustee of Special Needs Trust With No-Compensation Clause

trustee_99933680A trustee is entitled to compensation for services as provided in the trust instrument when the trust “provides for a trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15680(a)), or “reasonable compensation” when the trust instrument “does not specify the trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15681). But what if the trust provides for no compensation? In that case, the trustee is out of luck. Continue reading