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$________ AWARD Contract – Plaintiff siblings allege that defendant estate breached deceased sister's agreement to leave funds to siblings.

Berkshire County, MA

In this breach of contract matter, the plaintiff siblings alleged that the defendant estate of their deceased sister breached the decedent’s oral agreement with the siblings to leave the proceeds of another sibling’s estate she received to the plaintiffs after her death. The defendant estate denied any such agreement and disputed that the plaintiffs were entitled to the funds.

The plaintiffs are the brother and sister of the decedent. Prior to her death, the three siblings had been equal beneficiaries of a fourth sibling’s estate compromised of an IRA and an annuity. The three surviving sibling agreed that the proceeds of the brother’s estate would go to the decedent temporarily to assist her financially with the agreement that the proceeds still existing would go equally to the plaintiffs upon the sister’s death. Upon the sister’s death, the plaintiffs were denied the proceeds by the estate which claimed that the monies belonged to the estate.

The monies had, in fact, been placed into a money market account that did not provide for the plaintiffs as beneficiaries, contrary to the agreement between the siblings. The plaintiffs brought suit against the estate alleging breach of the agreement between the siblings. The plaintiff corroborated their claims through the testimony of the decedent’s financial advisor who agreed that the sister’s wish was to make her remaining siblings equal beneficiaries of the monies. The defendant estate denied any such agreement and disputed that the plaintiffs were entitled to any monies.The matter proceeded to trial before the court. At the conclusion of the bench trial, the court entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants. The court imposed a constructive trust on the estate providing that the estate was holding the annuity proceeds in trust for the plaintiffs.

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