June 19, 2019

Archives for December 21, 2016

Top Ten Programs and Homestudies of 2016: Trust and Estate Law

The year is drawing to a close, which means that the compliance period is ending for a third of Colorado’s attorneys. Still missing some credits? Don’t worry, CBA-CLE has got you covered.

The Top Ten Programs and Homestudies for Trust and Estate practitioners are featured today on Legal Connection. There are many, many other great Trust and Estate programs, and CBA-CLE also offers a wide array of great books for Trust and Estate practitioners. Visit cle.cobar.org/Practice-Area/Trust-and-Estate to peruse our selection of books and programs. And now, without further ado, here are the Top Ten Programs and Homestudies for Trust and Estate Lawyers.

10. Advanced Estate Administration: Complexities Explained
When are third party payors liable for distributions made to fiduciaries? How do you file a portability tax return? Will your malpractice insurance cover you if there is a tort claim for breach of fiduciary duty? Get answers to these complex questions and more from this Advanced Estate Administration homestudy! Also get tips on locating and collecting digital assets in our digital world. Also included: uncertainty regarding the legal test for capacity in Colorado, and ethics on conflicts of interest issues that arise in estate administration. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

9. Decanting, Digital Assets Act, and the Determination of Heirship Act — Trust & Estate Fall Update 2016
The name of the game for the program is NEW, NEW NEW! Attend to find out everything you need to know about the new decanting rules, the new determination of heirship statute, Colorado’s new Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, and IRS Form 8971 and the new basis consistency rules. There will also be a discussion about the recent ATF regulation changes in the transference of firearms. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits.

8. Counseling Trustees on their Duties
This program defines “fiduciary,” including trustees, personal representatives, agents under powers of attorney, and others; explains the basic statutes, principles, and requirements of fiduciary administration; explains who can and cannot serve as a fiduciary; and provides an in-depth discussion of a trustee’s duties. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 4 general credits.

7. Understanding Benefits — Trust & Estate Fall Update 2015
The Trust and Estate Fall Update is your guide for understanding benefits in its many forms for the estate planning practitioner.  Get the latest information on the available resources for long term placement in nursing homes, as well as the ethics of privity in estate planning. Whether it’s Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security or the Veteran’s Administration, this CLE has it all. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 6 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

6. 30 Cases Every Trust & Estate Lawyer Should Know
What are the cases you thought of when you read the title of this program? Spencer Crona dives into the cases that every trust and estate lawyer should know. He explains the holdings, and gives you analysis and key insights. Armed with this case list, you’ll never have to phone mother to say you won’t be a lawyer after all. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 2 general credits.

5. Funding the Revocable Living Trust
The revocable living trust has been an important estate planning tool for those seeking to avoid probate and protect their privacy. The effectiveness of this strategy depends largely on proper funding of assets, without which the primary purpose of utilizing a revocable living trust rather than the traditional will, is defeated. Each type of asset owned by the client will have different challenges in preparing for transfer to the trust. Mr. Schmidt  reviews the issues encountered for the most commonly encountered types of transfers. You’ll also receive a PDF copy of the CBA-CLE book, Funding the Revocable Living Trust, authored by L. William Schmidt, Jr. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 1 general credit.

4. No Contest Clauses — Current Perspectives on Estate Planning and Litigation
With the rise in post-mortem estate planning and the increasing ability to modify estate planning documents after death, clients are becoming more and more unsure of the finality of their estate planning. As a result, practitioners are experiencing an increase in the use and enforcement of in terrorem or “no contest clauses.” Similar to most states, Colorado law has long provided for the enforceability of no contest clauses subject to a probable cause exception. Taking into account the public policy considerations, risk analyses, and increasingly litigious nature of estate and trust beneficiaries, estate planning attorneys and probate litigators alike can benefit from learning more about no contest clauses and how they play out under Colorado law. Order the Video OnDemand here and the MP3 here. Available for 1 general credit.

3. Understanding and Using Trusts — A Nine Program Series
This series consists of nine programs, each dedicated to a key area of trust law. The expert members of the faculty will explain the purposes, mechanisms and key clauses included in a wide variety of trusts typical for a Colorado trust and estate practice. They will explain the client needs that each trust addresses and how each type of trust meets those needs. The faculty will also point out common errors that practitioners sometimes make when working with these trusts. Other important issues that concern trusts, such as taxation, ethics, liability, and malpractice will also be covered. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Entire series available for 36 general credits.

2. Wade/Parks: Colorado Law of Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciary Administration
Through this course and his comprehensive treatise, Mr. Wade provides a thorough commentary on the law of wills, trusts, and fiduciary administration, focusing on leading Colorado cases, the probate code, and related fiduciary statutes. Each homestudy order receives a copy of the CBA-CLE book Wade/Parks: Colorado Law of Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciary Administration, 7th Edition, as part of the course materials for this program. Please note the book will be provided in PDF. Order the Video OnDemand here, the CD homestudy here, and the MP3 here. Available for 4 general credits, including 1 ethics credit.

1. 36th Annual Estate Planning Retreat
This annual three-day conference is a can’t-miss event for trust and estate practitioners. A wide range of topics are discussed each year. Last summer’s event covered such topics as “Advising Clients on the Mandatory Reporting of Abuse,” “Just Say No! Don’t Leave Your Client with Outdated Discretionary Distribution Language,” “Insurance Coverage Issues in Estate, Trust, and Fiduciary Litigation,” and much more. Although the event is live-only, planning is well underway for the 2017 program. Save the date! The 37th Annual Estate Planning Retreat will take place from June 8-10, 2017, at the Vail Marriott Resort & Spa. Look for registration information at EstatePlanningRetreat.org.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Any Relevance of Polygraph Examination Overly Prejudicial and Confusing to Jury

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of G.E.S. on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Dependency and Neglect—Sexual Abuse—Evidence—Psychosexual Evaluation—Polygraph Examination—Child Hearsay.

Father’s 12-year-old stepdaughter, J.O-E., made allegations of father’s inappropriate sexual behavior toward her to her therapist. She made additional allegations in a recorded forensic interview. Shortly thereafter, J.O-E. recanted her story. In the meantime, the family voluntarily cooperated with the Department of Human Services (Department) and followed the Department’s recommended safety plan, which required father to leave the family home and have no contact with his infant child G.E.S. or any of his three stepchildren. Father took a psychosexual evaluation, but because he refused to take a polygraph examination, the Department filed a dependency and neglect petition as to G.E.S. Father denied the allegations and requested a jury trial. At a pre-trial hearing, the court determined that J.O-E. was unavailable to testify, and at trial, admitted her hearsay statements without her testifying. The court also ruled that the probative value of evidence regarding the evaluation and polygraph refusal outweighed its prejudicial effect and allowed this evidence. After the jury returned its verdict, the court entered judgment adjudicating G.E.S. dependent and neglected.

On appeal, father contended that the district court erred in admitting evidence that he underwent a psychosexual evaluation and refused to undergo a polygraph examination. Under the Children’s Code, father had no duty to cooperate by completing a psychosexual evaluation and polygraph. Further, evidence of polygraph test results is per se inadmissible at an adjudicatory trial because they are not reliable. Here, the prejudicial impact of both the polygraph evidence and evidence of father’s partial cooperation with the Department’s request that he complete its evaluative processes required reversal.

Father also contended that the court erred in admitting J.O-E.’s hearsay statements. Under CRS § 13-25-129(1), an out-of-court statement made by a child describing an unlawful sexual offense, which would otherwise be inadmissible, is admissible if the court determines that (1) the time, content, and circumstances of the statements provide sufficient safeguards of reliability; and (2) the child either testifies at trial or is unavailable as a witness and there is corroborative evidence of the act that is the subject of the statements. Here, father did not challenge the court’s findings that the statements were reliable and that corroborative evidence supported J.O-E.’s statements. The Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that the Sixth Amendments’ Confrontation Clause does not extend to dependency and neglect cases, and the record supported the finding that J.O.-E. was not available to testify, because testifying would gravely harm her mental and emotional health. Thus, the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting J.O-E.’s hearsay statements.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Court of Appeals: District Court Lacked Authority to Award Fees for Unjustified Claim in Foreign Court

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Bruce v. Roberts on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Trust—Frivolous Lawsuit—Attorney Fees—Foreign Court—Work Product.

James Roberts assisted his mother Della Roberts with forming the Della I. Roberts Trust in Colorado, where she lived. Upon Della’s death eight days later, James, the designated trustee, was supposed to divide the trust’s assets into two equal shares—one to benefit James and his wife, Mary Sue Roberts, and the second to benefit Della’s grandchildren, James and Mary Sue’s children. James did not properly administer the trust, but apparently, no one expressed concern about his administration until after he died.

After James’s death, Mary Sue assumed the role of trustee pursuant to the trust’s provisions. The grandchildren, who were ultimately appointed as trustees (trustees) objected and promptly removed Mary Sue as trustee. Although the Colorado court assumed jurisdiction, Mary Sue filed a separate case in West Virginia, where she lived, which was later dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Bruce represented Mary Sue in both the Colorado and West Virginia matters. The district court in Colorado accepted a final accounting of the trust filed by trustees, ordered all assets remaining in the trust be distributed to the grandchildren in equal shares, and found that the trust could recover administrative costs and attorney fees incurred in litigating both the Colorado and West Virginia cases, pursuant to CRS § 13-17-102, from Bruce and Mary Sue. It also assessed $54,565 in fees against Bruce for the West Virginia action.

Bruce appealed the district court’s order only as it pertains to attorney fees awarded for the West Virginia action. He contended that CRS § 13-17-102 did not authorize the court to award attorney fees incurred solely in the West Virginia case. CRS §13-17-102 does not authorize a Colorado court to award attorney fees incurred in an action in a foreign court, unless work product created for use in the foreign court is also used in the Colorado court. Neither the district court’s order nor the record clarifies whether the trustees used work product created for the West Virginia action in the Colorado proceedings.

The portion of the order awarding $54,565 for attorney fees incurred in the West Virginia action was vacated, and the case was remanded for the district court to determine whether the trustees used work product created for the West Virginia action in the Colorado proceedings.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/20/2016

On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued three published opinions and nine unpublished opinions.

Rosiere v. United States

United States v. Cheever

Hobbs v. Oklahoma State Penitentiary

Williams v. United States

Madden v. Cleveland County

Lane v. Maye

Webb v. Kier Property Management

Cunningham v. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Corp.

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.