Charles Hunsinger of Burns & Levinson LLP, has made available for download his article, “Lessons from the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s Most Recent MUTC Case”, published in JDSUPRA. The article begins as follows:
The Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code (MUTC) is still new enough that any higher court decision interpreting it feels like a special day for fiduciary litigators. Well, ’tis the season!
The Appeals Court recently issued a decision in a case entitled In the Matter of the Colecchia Family Trust, Mass. App. Ct., No. 20P224 (November 29, 2021). The case contains a few special presents for practitioners or pro se litigants that can help in litigating MUTC cases.
In this case, Michael Colecchia, one of six children of the settlors of the trust, filed a general equity petition against the trustees, his sisters. Unaware that his parents put their house into trust and under the impression that the children would inherit equal interests in the house, Michael performed maintenance and repairs to the house from the date the trust was created until both settlors died. After his parents both died, Michael was informed of the existence of the trust. Michael’s petition claimed, among other things, that the services he had provided to his parents entitled him to a larger share of the trust and that the trust was a product of undue influence.
The Probate and Family Court concluded that there had been no undue influence and that Michael was not entitled to recover for the value of the services he performed. The Appeals Court considered three issues of first impression, which it answered as follows:
Posted by Anthony Tran, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal