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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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