Justia Trusts & Estates Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court
Successions of Jeanette Toney
The Louisiana Supreme Court granted review of this succession case to determine whether the testament at issue iwass valid under Louisiana law, where the first two pages of the testament were initialed rather than signed and where the testament contained no attestation clause which met all of the requirements of La. Civ.Code art. 1577, nor any attestation by the notary beyond the general notarization. The Court found the propounded testament materially deviated from the form requirements of La. Civ.Code art. 1577 and was thus absolutely null pursuant to La. Civ.Code art. 1573. View "Successions of Jeanette Toney" on Justia Law
Succession of James Jason Holbrook, Sr.
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether an incomplete date in an attestation clause invalidated a last will and testament when the full date appeared in the first paragraph of the testament and on every page of the testament, including the page of the attestation clause. The district court granted the testator’s daughter’s motion for summary judgment seeking to set aside the will as invalid because the attestation clause was not fully dated and, thus, failed to meet the requirements of La. Civ. Code art. 1577. The court of appeal affirmed. Because the Supreme Court concluded the attestation clause in the notarial testament substantially complied with the requirements of Art. 1577, the Court reversed the district court’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Succession of James Jason Holbrook, Sr." on Justia Law
McCann v. McCann
On May 29, 2009, Plaintiff Rose McCann filed a petition for divorce against Defendant Walter McCann in the Family Court. A judgment granting the divorce was later signed in early, 2010, leaving the identification, valuation, management, and partition of the community property as the remaining issues in the case. Plaintiff filed a petition for partition of community property, moving the court to appoint various experts to assist in the partition. The Family Court appointed real estate and financial experts to inventory and value the real estate, and determine the value of the remaining property. Thereafter, a “Notice of Filing of Succession” was filed, stating that Defendant's succession had been opened in the District Court under Probate. Plaintiff filed a motion to substitute the succession executrix the decedent's daughter, as the party defendant in the partition proceeding. The succession executrix filed a “Declinatory Exception of Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Motion to Transfer,” seeking to have the partition action transferred to the District Court. The Family Court overruled the exception, denied the motion to transfer, and signed a judgment substituting the executrix into the partition action as the defendant, in place of the deceased Defendant. The executrix unsuccessfully appealed the Family Court's decision. The Supreme Court granted Defendant executrix’s writ application and remanded the matter to the appellate court for briefing, argument and full opinion. On remand, the appellate court by a majority decision again denied the executrix' writ application. The issue now before the Supreme Court was the correctness of the lower courts’ rulings. Upon review, the Court concluded that the Family Court no longer had exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over the partition of community property when one of the former spouses died. Thus, the Family Court erred in overruling the Defendant executrix’s exception of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "McCann v. McCann" on Justia Law
Interdiction of Harold Wright
The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court was whether the appellate court erred in reversing a trial court's denial of Harold Wright's exception of res judicata. Mr. Wright was paralyzed and incapacitated by a medical accident in 1973. He received $1.7 million in damages. The court declared Mr. Wright an interdict and appointed his wife as his curatrix. In conjunction with the proceeding, the court issued an order allowing the curatrix to invest the damages in long-term bonds. No portion of the Mr. Wright's capital estate could be withdrawn from any long range investments without specific orders from the court. Through his investment bank Defendant A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. (and with the court's permission), Mr. Wright received disbursements from the invested damages award. In 2002, Mrs. Wright sued Defendant alleging breach of fiduciary duty. Specifically, she argued that A.G. Edwards and its agents misappropriated the entire $1.7 million and disbursed principal in violation of the court's order. Furthermore, Mrs. Wright alleged that when one of her account managers left A.G. Edwards to work for Morgan Stanley, he took Mr. Wright's remaining principal with him. The dispute went to arbitration. While pending, Mr. Wright died, thereby terminating the interdiction proceeding. An arbitration panel issued an award in favor of Defendants. Mr. Wright's estate then filed a motion with the district court, and Defendants filed several exceptions including an exception of res judicata where they contended the arbitration proceeding precluded further court action. The trial court denied the exception, and the appellate court reversed, dismissing the estate's claims. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the arbitration award was unconfirmed, and therefore did not have a preclusive effect. Accordingly, the Court reversed the appellate court's ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings.