I’ve previously written about how the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Marshall v. Marshall will likely lead to more trusts-and-estates cases being litigated in Federal Court (see here, here). In Marshall v. Marshall: The Supreme Court’s Get-Out-of-Probate-Free Card, University of Washington School of Law law student Julian Hurst (2008 J.D. Candidate) examines Marshall’s “practical consequences from the perspective of probate law and for those who find themselves challenging the validity of a will or trust.”
One of these days you’ll either be pushing for federal jurisdiction or opposing it in some form of trusts-and-estates litigation. When that day comes, remember the linked-to law review article. Here’s the abstract:
The probate exception to federal jurisdiction is a legal doctrine self-imposed by federal courts barring jurisdiction over probating wills or administering estates, or related actions that would interfere with property in the custody of state courts. Courts have struggled with cases that fall at the margins of the exception, creating one of the most mysterious and esoteric branches of the law of federal jurisdiction.
In Marshall v. Marshall, the Supreme Court addressed the federal probate exception for the first time in over 60 years. Eight members of the Court held that the doctrine was legitimate, but more narrow than many lower courts thought. Unfortunately, the decision leaves as many questions as answers. The history, scope and purpose of the federal probate exception, as well as its place in the Supreme Court’s federal jurisdiction jurisprudence, has already been treated by other authors. I will examine Marshall’s practical consequences from the perspective of probate law and for those who find themselves challenging the validity of a will or trust.