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Trust payments to third parties not consistent with the trust's purpose of ensuring the health, support, or maintenance of beneficiary

The court reversed the trial court's order allowing certain payments to third parties from the trust at issue because the payments were not consistent with the trust's purposes - the "health, support or maintenance" of the petitioner's mother (Edwina). After Edwina died, the trust residue was to be split between petitioner and three of her grandchildren. Petitioner challenged certain payments from the trust to the grandchildren and to a church scholarship fund. He argued that the trustee, respondent-Brooks, "failed to follow the law when he arranged for approximately $542,000 to be distributed from Edwina's trust." He claimed that "the distribution to the grandchildren was a violation of the trust because the language in the trust refers only to Edwina's 'health, support, and maintenance[.]'" The trial court determined that the word "health" included Edwina's "mental and spiritual health, including the health of her soul." However, the court disagreed, finding the trial court's interpretation of "mental health" to be "overly inclusive." The court agreed with the petitioner that "by allowing trust payments to people and charities for such a subjective reason as Edwina's mental health, Brooks as trustee breached his duty to abide by the trust terms and protect the trust." These financial gifts Edwina wished to give her grandchildren and the church "were not within the scope of the trust as the language provided. Brooks discussed these gifts with Edwina, and he improperly wrote checks from the trust in order to accommodate her desires. Brooks' intent was to be generous; however, he was misguided with regard to Edwina's use of the trust." The court concluded that "Brooks failed to act, in accordance with its terms and purposes for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries, . . . and to control and protect the property of the trust." Further, the court found that the trial court failed to give effect to the settlor's intention - the "trust was for Edwina's health, support and maintenance not for the health, support and maintenance of third parties."

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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