Master Recommends that Individual Trustee be Suspended and Ordered to Return Assets to the Trust

Hurd v. Hurd, C.A. No. 4675-MA (September 20, 2016)

This case involved a trust (the “Trust”) that was established to provide income for the health, education, support or maintenance of the settlor’s wife following the settlor’s death in 2000. At the same time, irrevocable lifetime trusts were established for the benefit of the settlor’s son from a previous marriage. According to the terms of the settlor’s revocable trust agreement, upon his wife’s death, the principal of her trust will be distributed to the lifetime trusts. The settlor’s son is the trustee of his stepmother’s Trust.

After trial, Master in Chancery Ayvazian recommended that the Court (a) enjoin the trustee from committing further breaches of trust; (b) order the trustee to return assets he removed from the Trust, to trace the Trust’s property, and to recover the cash and securities or the proceeds therefrom, including any interest; (c) appoint a receiver to administer the Trust; (d) order the trustee to provide an accounting; (e) suspend the trustee; (f) award attorney’s fees and costs to the beneficiary of the Trust; and (g) order the immediate release of all Trust income in escrow to the beneficiary of the Trust.

Among the breaches that the Master found were the trustee’s refusal to provide free access to books and records of the Trust, underfunding the Trust, improperly and selfishly removing assets from the Trust, and charging an unreasonable rate for his services as trustee ($350 per hour).


William M. Kelleher, Director
Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A.