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Judges rule in favor of bank on request to end trust

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A beneficiary of a trust couldn’t prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that the purpose of the trust, created by her mother, was to benefit any grandchildren and because there are no grandchildren, the trust should be terminated.

Sally Jean Kristoff established the Sally Jean Kristoff Trust in 1985 and amended the trust document in 1988. Upon her death in 2000, two separate trusts were created in the names of her daughters, Amy Kristoff and Laurie Ann Kristoff, with each trust funded with an amount equal to the then-existing generation skipping tax exemption.

Amy sought to terminate the Amy Jean Kristoff Trust in November 2010, arguing that the trust was created to benefit her and her sister’s children. Since neither sister had children, these circumstances weren’t forseen by Sally Jean Kristoff and the continuing existence of the trust is impractical and wasteful.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Centier Bank and denied Amy’s request to terminate the trust.

After reading the terms of the trust set up by Kristoff’s mother, the judges rejected Kristoff’s claim that the purpose of the trust was to provide for grandchildren while avoiding consequences of the generation-skipping tax. Tax avoidance was a part of the trust’s purpose, but the main purpose was to provide for the health and welfare of the beneficiaries and his or her dependents, Judge Paul Mathias wrote.

Also, the trust document anticipates that all the assets in the trust may be distributed before the death of the beneficiary, leaving nothing for any children of the beneficiary. The trust doesn’t require that any assets be distributed to Sally Jean Kristoff’s grandchildren.

The judges held that the lack of children by Kristoff and her sister is not an unforeseen circumstance to support the termination of the trust.

“The terms of the trust document are clear and unambiguous, and the primary purpose of the trust was not for the benefit of the beneficiaries’ children. Nor was the beneficiaries’ failure to have children an unforeseen circumstance. Amy has identified no genuine issue of material fact, and the Bank has demonstrated that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law,” the judge wrote in Amy Jean Kristoff v. Centier Bank, 45A03-1204-TR-186.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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