May 31st, 2012
Probate court jurisdiction seems to give practitioners fits (see here and here). The limited or specialized jurisdiction of probate courts certainly spills over into trust disputes. In some jurisdictions, this can have far-reaching implications, such as whether a party has a right to a jury trial.
For example, in DiGaetano v. DiGaetano, the New Hampshire Supreme Court determined that several former trust beneficiaries appealing the judgment of a probate court were not entitled to a jury trial in superior court on their appeal. It all came down to the nature of the relief sought and the jurisdiction of the original court in which the action was brought. (more…)