Now Accepting New Clients!

PROBATE 11: A trust may be modified upon the consent of the trustee and beneficiaries.

This case arises from the beneficiaries and the trustee agreeing to amend the distribution of the trust after the settlor’s death; the facts are mostly undisputed. In August 2007, the Trust was established. Settlor served as the initial trustee and Settlor’s granddaughter, was named the successor trustee. The beneficiaries of the Trust are the Settlor’s six children and two grandchildren of a deceased child. Upon Settlor’s death, Roger was to receive a piece of real property, while the other children and the grandchildren were to receive a proportional share of the Trust residue. It appears that the Trust’s primary asset was an 80-acre farm.

Settlor passed away in January 2015. After her funeral, Settlor’s granddaughter was approached by the man who was leasing the farm. He offered to buy the farm for $600,000. Settlor’s granddaughter convened a meeting to discuss the offer and all of the beneficiaries were present, except one who participated by telephone. It was agreed that the offer would be accepted. However, at this meeting it was proposed that Roger be included in the distribution of the Trust’s residue.  It was explained that after Settlor had set up the trust, several years later, she realized that the 80-acre farm was more valuable. And she had asked to make sure that Roger got the same share as everybody else.

It appears that when the Trust was created, Settlor deemed the piece of property that Roger was to receive as being roughly equal in value to the other sibling’s shares of the Trust residue. But as the farm’s property value increased, Roger’s share of the Trust became inferior. Two of the beneficiaries, as well as Settlor’s granddaughter, testified that all the beneficiaries agreed to Roger be included in the distribution of the Trust’s residue.  Russell maintained that he did not consent to the change. However, in February 2015, he undisputedly signed an agreement to that effect, as did Settlor’s granddaughter and the other beneficiaries.

Russell later requested for reimbursement of trust funds distributed to Roger.

The probate court found that based on the testimony, it was the Settlor’s intent to reform this trust. That she wanted the children to receive the same approximate amount. The court then determined that the agreement was entered into by all the individuals voluntarily and knowingly and that the modification or agreement that was entered was consistent with the material purposes of the trust.  The probate court denied Russell’s requested relief.

A noncharitable irrevocable trust may be modified or terminated by the court upon the consent of the trustee and the qualified trust beneficiaries, if the court concludes that the modification or termination of the trust is consistent with the material purposes of the trust or that continuance of the trust is not necessary to achieve any material purpose of the trust.

Aldrich Legal Services represents clients in a wide range of probate litigation matters.  Given the emotional nature of these disputes and their financial impact on all involved, it is critical that anyone involved in such a dispute retain highly qualified legal counsel. Contact Aldrich Legal Services to schedule a free consultation.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

FSBO: 3 Tips to Help Effectively Sell Your Home

Many homeowners are taking real estate matters into their own hands, especially when it comes to their own homes. Some of the most difficult tasks FSBO sellers encounter are selling their home at the right price, understanding paperwork and selling...

How Is Debt Split Up In A Divorce?

For some, debt is inevitable. Many individuals have some form of debt whether it’s credit card debt or student loans. You and your spouse may have accumulated debt over the years and this raises a huge question. How is debt split up in a...

What Are Some Post Legal Divorce Issues?

Once a divorce is finalized, there still may be a few legal issues that can happen after the divorce proceeding. It’s even possible that new issues can arise after the divorce. In either event, a divorce lawyer can help guide you through these...

For Sale by Owner: Do You Need an Attorney?

  For sale by owner (FSBO) homes can be a daunting task. However, if you want to do it correctly and smoothly, it’s best done with some assistance from a real estate lawyer. A real estate attorney has the knowledge and experience to...

Michigan Marijuana Statutes

In the state of Michigan, the possession of marijuana is illegal unless you have a medical condition that is debilitating. Below we discuss the marijuana statutes in Michigan. Medical Marijuana The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act states that...

The Most Common Reasons for Real Estate Litigation

Real estate litigation can happen to anyone, from buyers and sellers to real estate agents, there’s always a potential for a lawsuit. With a lot of money on the line, it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney who has a great...

Refusing A Blood Alcohol Test in Michigan

In the state of Michigan, the law requires you to take either a blood, breath or urine test if arrested for an OWI. Michigan has an “implied consent” law which states that if someone lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause...

Do Background Checks Show Misdemeanors?

  Misdemeanors are often considered a less serious criminal offense compared to their felony counterpart. Common misdemeanors include reckless driving, petty theft, public intoxication, trespassing and more. Although misdemeanors don’t...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000