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Morse, trustee v. Kraft, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-140-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11233     RICHARD MORSE, trustee,[1]  vs.  JONATHAN A. KRAFT & others.[2]       Suffolk.     April 1, 2013.  ‑  July 29, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Trust, Irrevocable trust, Distribution.  Minor, Guardian ad litem.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on April 23, 2012.   The case was reported by Cordy, J.     Daniel L. Goldberg (Charles L. Solomont with him) for the plaintiff.       SPINA, J.  Richard Morse, the trustee of The Kraft Irrevocable Family Trust (1982 Trust), commenced this action before a single justice of this court pursuant to G. L. c. 231A, § 1, and G. L. c. 215, § 6, and the single justice reserved and reported the case to the full court.[3]  See Hillman v. Hillman, 433 Mass. 590, 590 (2001), and cases cited; Walker v. Walker, 433 Mass. 581, 581-582 (2001), and cases cited.  “We have regularly recognized the appropriateness of granting declaratory relief to fiduciaries seeking instructions concerning the manner in which an instrument . . . should be construed in connection with the possible application of Federal estate tax provisions.”  First Agric. Bank v. Coxe, 406 Mass. 879, 882 (1990).  See Walker v. Walker, supra at 582 & n.5, 583.  All of the parties have stipulated to the relevant facts, and each of the defendants, with the exception of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue,[4] has assented to the relief sought.   1.  Background.  By declaration of trust dated January 4, 1982, the plaintiff established the 1982 Trust, and each of four separate subtrusts created therein, for the benefit of the four sons of Robert and Myra Kraft (the Krafts).[5]  Each of the four sons is an income beneficiary of his subtrust, and also is a potential object of the powers of appointment held by each son as the income beneficiary of his respective subtrust.  The sons’ children (the Krafts’ grandchildren) are the contingent remainder beneficiaries of the subtrusts, and also are the potential objects of the sons’ powers of appointment.  The 1982 Trust permits only “Disinterested Trustee[s]” — defined in the 1982 Trust as “all those trustees who are not transferors of property to [the] trust and who are not eligible, and who are not legally obligated to support any person who is eligible, to […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm

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