While the core of our practice is estate planning and estate and trust administration, the lawyers of Tyler & Reynolds have been involved in significant trust and estate court cases over the years.
Several cases in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court involved the meaning of the term “issue,” a basic term used in most wills and trusts. The inclusion of adopted children, children born out of wedlock, and children with living parents were questions in these cases. 361 Mass. 230 (1972); 394 Mass. 306 (1985); 399 Mass. 650 (1987). Another case involved the questions of which generations are included in the term “issue.” 344 Mass. 107 (1962).
One of our lawyers was appointed guardian ad litem by the court to represent a person under guardianship in what was believed to be the first case brought under a then new Massachusetts statute permitting estate planning for persons under guardianship or conservatorship. 358 Mass. 126 (1970).
In 906 F.Supp. 24 (United States District Court, D. Mass. 1995), we secured a substantial federal estate tax refund for a client in a case involving some important issues of federal tax law.
In 59 Mass. App. Ct. 270 (2003) we sought a particular interpretation of the phrase “by right of representation,” a phrase which is used in many wills and trusts. In this case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court did not see it our way.
The will and trust practice is usually a friendly one involving families, and does not generally involve lawsuits. Our first goal is to draft estate plans so there are no problems. When there are problems among family members or other beneficiaries, our goal is to work it out without going to court and with the least possible damage to the family relationship.
The cases we are most proud of are estate and trust administrations which go smoothly, with no issues or controversy at all.