Search Site
Menu
Family Dispute Involving Phillies Co-Owner Shows How Changing an Estate Plan Can Become a Tough Issue

A living trust in Pennsylvania can be revised at any time while the person who created the trust is still alive. Once a testator passes away, however, the living trust then becomes irrevocable. Changes can then be made only if all of the beneficiaries consent to the revisions and submit them for court approval. This process doesn’t always proceed smoothly. In the case of John S. Middleton, co-owner of the Phillies baseball team, a dispute with his two sisters regarding revisions to their family trust required significant time and effort to resolve.

Middleton agreed to pay his sister, Anna Nupson, $22 million to settle a dispute that arose from a 2003 revision made to a trust originally created by their mother in 2001. In the trust created in 2001, the litigants’ mother left all of her 258,029 shares of the family’s cigar company to her son. John Middleton faced criticism from the judge when his attorneys concealed from the court the fact that there were two versions of Mrs. Middleton’s trust documents.

Prior to the settlement, the judge also stated that there might be tax issues involved. Transferring assets between a trust’s beneficiaries once that trust has become irrevocable due to the testator’s death may trigger a gift tax levy. To avoid or minimize these types of problems, it’s important to have a qualified estate planner explain the potential options and consequences. Otherwise, disputes and legal challenges between heirs could interfere with the carrying out of your long-term wishes.

Feldstein Grinberg Lang & McKee, P.C. are experienced attorneys who have helped Pennsylvania families work out the many complex details and conditions required to successfully change irrevocable trusts. To find out if your family’s irrevocable trust can be revised effectively and to learn what needs to be done, call 412-301-7395 or contact us online to schedule a personal and confidential consultation.

Reviews and Ratings
  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    He is the best lawyer

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Excellent lawyer.

    Read more

    Partner

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    one of the sharpest, most ethical, and nicest attorneys in town.

    Read more

    Partner

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Jeff and I were adverse in a highly contested matter over a considerable period of time, and I was always impressed with the forthright manner in which represented his client's interests and his intergrity and professionalism.

    Read more

    Partner

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Jeff has served on our nonprofit board for several years and has helped us in many areas including employment, insurance, relations with various governmental agencies and represented us successfully in a action against the state regarding improper en...

    Read more

    Client

See all reviews
Contact us

Quick Contact Form