Surrogate Kristin Booth Glen

In this action concerning a trust created by the Solomons, respondent son Jeffrey asserted eight affirmative defenses to petitioners’ request for a declaration that he and Williams were not trustees. Original trustee, Ronni, the Solomon’s daughter, resigned, and Miller, the only successor named in the trust, succeeded her. Miller resigned, and purported to appoint Jeffrey his successor, who purported to appoint Williams as co-trustee. These appointments were made without a written designation from a majority of the adult income beneficiaries, as required by the trust terms, thus were invalid. In 2012, three of the five adult beneficiaries appointed Ronni’s children, Daniel and Laurie, as successor trustees in a written instrument signed and acknowledge by the three petitioners, and delivered to Miller, Williams, Jeffrey and Ronni’s daughter, Samantha. The court found the appointment fully complied with the trust’s terms and Daniel and Laurie became the trustees. The court dismissed Jeffrey’s defenses, including that the claims were time-barred, barred by laches or the doctrine of unclean hands, noting Jeffrey did not allege he was prejudiced by any delay, or identified any applicable statute of limitations.