Quiz 52: Decedents Estates and Trusts


Refer to the case Taylor v NationsBank Corp. to answer question as below: Facts to this case • Testate had made multiple wills on how he would like to distribute his wealth. His will originally stated for his grandchildren to receive $500,000. • However, after the testate passed, the bank trustee distributed only $100,000 to his grandchildren. • The grandchildren requested to see the trust agreement their grandfather made, but the bank refused. Case Issue The issue is whether the grandchildren, beneficiaries of the trust, had a right to view the trust agreement. Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Trust - is an agreement where property is transferred to a trustee to hold for the benefit of a beneficiary. E.g. A establishes a trust with $200,000 and transfers it to the trustee T to manage it. Trustee - is someone who manages a trust for a beneficiary. E.g. if A establish a trust with T to manage it for B to receive money from the trust, then T is the trustee B is the beneficiary. Testate - is someone (a male, Testatrix is the female) who have made a will (orders of how to distribute his assets when he dies). Analysis and Conclusion The court held for the grandchildren. They argued that: • Trustee (bank) had the duty to provide beneficiaries (grandchildren) to "complete and accurate information" of the trust. • Also, the beneficiaries have the right to view trust documents. • Furthermore, there was no provision in the trust agreement to limit the right for beneficiaries to view trust documents. Thus, the grandchildren are entitled to inspect the trust agreement.

Case summary: Mr. G usually known as "Pat" was married to Ms. BA and when their separation was pending in court, Pat was diagnosed with brain tumor. They both had no children but Pat had five children from his earlier marriage. But Patricia was the only stable child with Pat since she was born. When Patricia married DD, they both lived in a ranch with Pat. In his last year's will, after he was diagnosed with brain tumor, Pat gave the ownership of his ranch to Patricia as he thought that if this ranch goes to Ms. BA she will sell it off and he did not wanted his ranch to get sold. Thus he gave the ownership of the ranch to Patricia and died. When Patricia was about to probate the will given by Pat, BA challenged it stating that Patricia is not the legal child of Pat and thus she cannot take the ownership of this ranch. Conclusion: As per the law, the will and its contents get transferred to the person who is given the authority of availing it by the will owner. Thus in this case Pat gave the authority of his ranch to Patricia and thus this property is entitled to her. And the challenge given by BA against the transfer of this ranch to Patricia will be dismissed by the court as she is not mentioned in the will by Pat.

In this case, a second will was destroyed unintentionally by the testatrix, i.e. the person writing the will. However, the second will was intended to revoke the first will. Testatrix intended the second will to be valid and she doesn't want the first will to be probated. Thus, the second will should be upheld due to testamentary intent.

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