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Dreyer v. Lange

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 21, 1952

DREYER
v.
LANGE

Judgment affirmed.

Bryon M. Partridge and Head & Palmer, all of Prescott, for appellant.

Morgan & Locklear, of Prescott, for appellee.

Phelps, Justice. Udall, C. J., and Stanford, De Concini and La Prade, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Phelps, Justice.

[74 Ariz. 40] This is an appeal from a judgment of the superior court of Yavapai County granting the prayer of appellee's complaint to terminate a trust created by her, and directing that the trustee, appellant herein, file an accounting with the court and that he return to her the property belonging to the trust estate.

Page 469

The facts are that appellee in 1947 was unmarried and not in good health. Her mother had recently died leaving appellee a considerable estate. The mother was a good business woman and had successfully managed her property during her lifetime. Appellee was wholly untrained in business affairs and was further handicapped at the time by the illness of her father who died within a few months thereafter.

On May 20, 1947, upon the advice of her father and others she entered into a trust agreement with her uncle, Robert Dreyer, appellant herein, in which she granted, transferred and set over to him all of her property wherever situated and of whatsoever kind, reserving therein the right to have paid to her the sum of $ 200 per month for the support of herself and her father during the time they were both alive and upon the death of either, $ 175 per month to be paid to the survivor during his or her lifetime. She further reserved the right to designate the beneficiaries under the trust, either by will or other suitable instrument, in writing, who were to receive the balance of the estate, if any, after the death of herself and her father. In the event, however, that she did not so designate such beneficiaries, the balance of the trust, if any be left, was to go to her heirs in equal shares on the Dreyer side of her family. The trust agreement further provided that appellant was to be paid out of the trust estate for his services, a commission of not in excess of 3% of the gross estate per annum. He has charged during this period the full amount allowed. The [74 Ariz. 41] agreement further provided that: "This trust shall be considered to be irrevocable."

According to appellant's accounting it is disclosed that at the time the trust was established the value of the corpus was $ 63,271.85 and that during the three and a half years of its existence the expenses and drawings in excess of revenues, amount to $ 9,866.75. During this three and a half year period according to appellee's statement, there was paid to her the sum of $ 8,075.00 and to the trustee the sum of $ 7,040.71 as and for costs of administration.

Appellee, in her cause of action, seeks to revoke the trust created by her and the attempt to do so is resisted by the trustee. The only question presented for our consideration is: Does appellee have the power of revocation under the terms of the trust created?

Counsel agree that if appellee (settlor) is the sole beneficiary under the trust created she has the right to revoke it at any time whether the purposes of the trust have been accomplished or not and even though the trust is declared to be irrevocable.

Appellee contends here that she is the sole beneficiary of the trust and appellant asserts she is not. The issue is one of law and was resolved in favor of appellee by the trial court. The solution of the question must be found in the interpretation ...


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