Surrogate Nora Anderson


Read Full-Text Decision

Petitioner sought to modify grantor’s requirement for appointment of a corporate successor trustee in this uncontested application. Decedent entered into the subject trust indenture, as grantor, with U.S. Trust Co. of N.Y. and Young as trustees, in 1984. Grantor died in 2003 and Young died in 1995–with Bank of America (BoA), US Trust’s successor, currently serving as sole trustee of the trust currently worth nearly $465,000. Petitioner noted BoA intended to resign and she had the power to appoint a successor but argued it was impracticable to require BoA’s replacement be a corporate trustee claiming those of similar caliber generally required a minimum aggregate trust corpus of at least $1 million. She thus sought modification to appoint an individual successor trustee. The court noted while the requested relief was not denominated as such, it was being made under the equitable deviation doctrine that permits a court to change administrative terms of a trust if unforeseen changes in circumstance threatened to defeat or impair grantor’s intent. It found the record did not set forth any such change as petitioner failed to show the absence of an appropriate corporate trustee willing to act, or that efforts to secure such trustee were made. The petition was denied without prejudice.