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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. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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