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Valley National Bank v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co.

Supreme Court of Arizona

May 16, 1941

VALLEY NATIONAL BANK, a National Banking Association, as Trustee of the Estate of George W. P. Hunt, Deceased; and CARLTON HUNT BRANNAN, a Minor, by Wm. G. Christy, His Guardian Ad Litem, Appellants,
v.
HARTFORD ACCIDENT AND INDEMNITY COMPANY, a Corporation; and HELEN DUETT BRANNAN, a Minor, by Loretta C. Savage, Her Guardian Ad Litem, Appellees

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. G. A. Rodgers, Judge. Judgment reversed in part and affirmed in part.

Messrs. Baker & Whitney and Mr. Lawrence L. Howe, for Appellant Valley National Bank.

Carlton Hunt Brannan, a minor, by Mr. Wm. G. Christy, his guardian ad litem, in propria persona.

Messrs. Conner & Jones, for Appellee Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company.

Helen Duett Brannan, a minor, by Miss Loretta C. Savage, her guardian ad litem, in propria persona.

OPINION

Page 360

[57 Ariz. 277] ROSS, J.

A question having arisen as to who the beneficiaries are under the will of the late Governor George W. P. Hunt, the Valley National Bank, trustee of the trust set up in the decedent's will, brought this action in the Superior Court of Maricopa County, under the declaratory judgments act, sections 27-701 to [57 Ariz. 278] 27-706, Arizona Code, 1939, to have a declaration of its rights and the rights of the defendants in and to said trust ascertained and determined by a judgment of the court.

Another question we are asked to decide is this: In his will the decedent directed the trustee to give bond, after his estate was distributed by the executor to the trustee, "in an amount equal to 110% of my trust estate, excluding therefrom the value of my house on East McDowell Street." The question is, has the probate court power, the necessity for so large a bond not appearing, to reduce it to a sum less than stipulated in the will?

These questions will be considered in the order stated.

Governor Hunt's will is dated July 7, 1931. He died December 24, 1934. In his will he named as his executor and as the trustee of his estate the same banking corporation (the Valley Bank and Trust Company, which later became the Valley National Bank) and directed that after his funeral expenses and debts were paid the balance of the estate should be turned over to the trustee for the purposes therein named. The order of distribution to the trustee was made on June 2, 1936. The trust estate thus created consisted of liquid assets in excess of $150,000 and the home on East McDowell Street valued at $15,000. We here quote the portions of the will providing for the trust estate and designating the beneficiaries thereof:

"First: After the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses, which I direct to be paid out of my personal estate in the first instance, if the same is sufficient, and if the same is insufficient then out of my real property. I give, devise and bequeath all of my property and estate, real, personal and mixed whatsoever and wheresoever, which is hereinafter called the 'trust estate' unto my trustee hereinafter named and [57 Ariz. 279] designated, to have and to hold the same upon and for the following trusts and purposes, namely:

"One-half of my said trust estate shall be held in trust for the benefit of my daughter, Virginia Hunt Brannan, to be so held by my said trustee until January 1st, 1945, and at said date to be paid to and distributed to said Virginia Hunt Brannan free of any and all trust; and said trust upon said one-half of my trust estate shall terminate and cease; provided, however, that during the continuation of said trust my said trustee shall pay to my said daughter all of the income and profits of said one-half of my trust estate;

"The other half of my said trust estate shall be held in trust for the benefit of any child or children of my said daughter, Virginia Hunt Brannan, then in being, share and share alike, the income from such half of my trust estate shall accumulate and be added to such half of my trust estate until any such child or children, the lawful issue of my said daughter, Virginia Hunt Brannan, then in being, reaches the age of twenty-one years, at which time the income and net profits of said one-half of my trust estate thereafter accruing shall be paid to said child or children, the lawful issue of said Virginia Hunt Brannan, then in being, until said child or children, or either of them, attain the age of thirty years, at which time said one-half of said trust estate shall be distributed to said child or children, and, if more than one, shall be distributed share and share alike, and this trust shall cease and terminate. Each child upon attaining the age of thirty years shall receive his or her proportion of said one-half of said trust estate free and clear of this trust. It is my intent that if more than one child of said Virginia Hunt Brannan is in being at the time this trust takes effect the income of this one-half of my trust estate shall be held for the benefit of all of said children, share and share alike, and upon each child attaining the age of twenty-one years he or she shall receive his or her proportion of the income as ...


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