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Trusts and Estates
Southern Illinois University School of Law
Noble-Allgire, Alice M.

 
 
Trusts & Estates Outline (Allgire)
 
I.          Lawyer-Client Relationship
            A.        Malpractice
1.                  TRAD: atty’s only duty was to the client, so if atty messes up and client’s family member loses out, they can’t sue atty b/c no privity and the statute of limitations would have run
a. Lucas v. Hamm abolished the no privity defense
                                    a.         PP favoring:
i.          fear of exposing attys to virtually unlimited potential for liability
ii.         fear of undermining atty’s duty of loyalty to the client         
2.         MOD: liability extends to 3rd party beneficiaries as well as clients. Now the statute of limitations begins to run at the date of death
                                    a.         PP favoring:
                                                i.          to effect grantor’s intent
ii.                  to deter future negligence
b.            Allow suit in tort or contract
i. suit in tort requires a finding of negligence (duty, breach, causation, damages
3.         Ct in Holsapple balances this by limiting liability to 3rd parties who demonstrate that:
a.         he/she was specifically identified by the donor as an object of the donor’s intent
b.                  the expectancy was lost or diminished as a result of the lawyer’s negligence
4. Some states still have the privity rule
II.        Probate process
            A.        admission of will to probate and appointment of personal representative
            B.        collection of assets and notification of creditors
            C.        resolution of will contests, if any
            D.        pmt of debts, taxes, and administrative expenses
E.                 distribution of remainder of estate
III.             Other lifetime transfers
A.    Joint Tenancy
B.     Contract
C.     Life Insurance
1.      Payable on death
2.      Transfer on death
III.       3 types of guardianships:
            A.        guardians of the person
                        1.         minors
                                    a.         3 types of guardians for minors under IL law
                                                i.          guardian (IPC 5/11-5)
                                                ii.         standby guardian (IPC 5/11-5.3)
*          person appointed by the ct to become guardian upon             death/disability of parent
*          guardianship lasts for 60 days, but typically appointed permanent guardianunder 5/11-5
                                                iii.        short-term guardian (IPC 5/11-5.4)
*          person appointed by the parent to become guardian for period of up to 60 days
                        2.         disabled adults (mental illness, gambling, drugs)
            B.        guardians of the estate/property        
C.           guardians ad litem
1. Protect the child in litigation
 
IV.       UPC
A.        A set of proposed laws that states may adopt–not the law in any state until the state legislature formally adopts a provision
            B.        We study it b/c:
                        1.         it has been adopted by some states
2.         it has influenced legislation and/or common law in other states (like the Rsmt)
 
Intestate Succession
I.          Intestate distribution schemes
            A.        to reflect the presumed desires of the decedent
            B.        to protect dependent family members
            C.        to keep property within the nuclear family
D.          to encourage individuals to accumulate property
E.           to identify persons who may challenge the will
F.            to serve as models for other laws which mandate shares for disinherited          
            spouses or forgotten children
G.          provide models for document drafters
II.        Terminology
A.        heirs–the persons who are designated by the intestacy statute to take your estate if you die w/o a will
                        1.         Typically include:
                                    a.         spouse
                                    b.         descendants/issue (children, grandchildren, etc.)
                                    c.         ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.)
                                    d.         collateral kin (people outside the lines of ascent or desent:                                       brothers/sisters, aunts/uncles, etc.)
2.         testator–name of person who dies w/ a will (the person has died testate)
                        3.         executor–person who administers the will (as compared with the                                        “administrator” of the will)
3.      beneficiaries, devisees, or legatees–individuals who take property            
      under the will
III.       Choice of Law
            A.        Real Property
1.         generally governed by the law of the situs (where the property is located)
            B.        Personal Property
1.         Majority-generally governed by the law of the state in which the decedent was domiciled
                        2.         some states apply the law of the situs
                        3.         some states use “most significant contacts” test
IV.       Survivorship
            A.        Intestate statutes distribute property to a decedent’s survivors
            B.        How to determine whether one person survives another:
                        1.         medical evidence
                        2.         legal rules or presumptions
            C.        2   problems survivorship provisions are attempting to address:
1.         how to identify survivors in cases where the exact time of death is unknown
                        2.         how to avoid distributing property to dead persons
            D.        IPC 5/3-1-Illinois
1.         if “there is no sufficient evidence that the persons have died otherwise than simultaneously . . . the property of each person shall be disposed of as if he had survived.”
2.                  contains special provisions for joint tenancy property and life insurance
D.    UPC
1.      A person must have survived the other by 120 hours before having deemed to survive that person
2.      Some wills overcome this and require a person survive by 30 or 60 days
V.        Who qualifies as an heir: (UPC gives us idea about a typical distribution)
            A.        Surviving spouse
                        1.         by most legal definitions is someone who is legally married
                        2.         exceptions:
                                    a.         some states recognize common law marriage
b.         some states recognize the concept of putative spouse (protects someone unknowingly marries a bigamist)
c.         some states have special provisions regarding a spouse’s status under a ration decree
                        3.         this definition of spouses excludes:
a.         couples who have established non-marital relationships, such as       heterosexual couples who are not married (in states that do not recognize common law marriage)
                                    b.         gay or lesbian relationships
            B.        Descendants (Children and other relatives)
                        1.         special cases:
                                    a.         non-marital children
i.          TRAD: non-marital children could not inherit from anyone
*          constitutionality invalid: the Supreme Ct held that a denial of rights based upon status violates Equal Protection Clause
ii.          MOD: allow children to inherit regardless of their parents’ marital status
*          one problem remains: determining parental status (paternity) when parents are unmarried
                                                             a. UPC
*          the parent-child relationship is established under the state’s parentage laws
*          once you establish who the parent is, the usual inheritance rules apply: children inherit from parents and parents can inherit from children
               

dparents and descendants of grandparents          
            E.         Escheat to the state
 
Intestate Succession: Allocating Shares
I.          Spouses
            A.        size of share may depend on who else survives the decedent
            B.        in some states, including IL, spouses share w/ decedent’s kids
                        1.         problems with this approach:
                                    a.         sharing may not leave enough to support the spouse
                                    b.         giving property to minors may necessitate guardianship
C.        some states, therefore, follow the UPC and rely on the spouse to serve as a conduit to the children
D.        some states give spouses a lump sum amount in addition to a share of the estate (called front money)
E.     UPC gives spouse:
1.                 The entire estate if
i.                    No descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent; or
ii.                  All of the decedents surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the decedent
1.         the first $200,000 plus 3/4 of the balance if decedent had parents but no descendants
2.         the first $150,000 plus 1/2 of the balance if all of decedent’s descendants are also those of the spouse (but spouse also had other descendants)
3.         the first $100,000 plus 1/2 of the balance if the decedent had descendants who are not descendants of spouse
            F.         IPC 5/15-1 gives surviving spouse: front money
1.         a “sum of money that the court deems reasonable for the proper support of the surviving spouse for the period of 9 months after the death of the decedent . . .”
2.         and an additional sum for the support of minor or adult dependent children of the decedent
3.         the spouse award must be at least $10,000, with an additional $5,000 for each such child
4.         this is not front money (part of the intestate share); it is an award to maintain the spouse/children estate administration
II.        Descendants and Collaterals
            A.        UPC
                        1.         surviving spouse’s share
                        2.         balance of estate (or entire estate if no spouse):
                                    a.         descendants
b.         if no descendants, to surviving parent(s) or descendants of parents
c.         if none of the above, then to surviving grandparent(s) or descendants of grandparents
                                    d.         if no takers, property escheats to the state
            B.        IL plan
                        1.         surviving spouse/descendants
                                    a.         half to spouse, half to descendants
                                    b.         if no spouse, entire estate to descendants
                                    c.         if no descendants, entire estate to spouse
                        2.         if no spouse/descendants
                                    a.         parent(s), sibling of decedent, sibling’s descendants
                                    b.         grandparent(s), grandparent’s descendants