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Franzen v. Norwest Bank Colorado

955 P.2d 1018 (1998)

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Franzen v. Norwest Bank Colorado

Colorado Supreme Court

955 P.2d 1018 (1998)

Facts

James Franzen created a trust to provide for his and his wife Frances’s needs in their old age. James and Frances’s nephews were beneficiaries of the trust’s remainder. The trust named Norwest Bank Colorado (plaintiff) as trustee. James died four months after creating the trust. The trust provided that if Frances survived James, she had the power to remove the trustee for any reason and modify or terminate the trust. Initially, Frances stated that she wished to keep the trust. Frances needed help managing her finances. Frances’s nephews were reluctant to help. Frances therefore executed a power of attorney authorizing her brother, James O’Brien (defendant), to manage her assets. O’Brien moved Frances into a nursing home near his home and requested Norwest Bank to distribute the trust assets to him. Frances’s nephews doubted O’Brien’s motives. Norwest Bank refused O’Brien’s request. Norwest Bank petitioned the probate court for direction. O’Brien sent Norwest Bank a copy of the power of attorney and letter terminating the trust and removing Norwest Bank as trustee. Norwest Bank petitioned to have a conservator appointed to protect and manage Frances’s assets. The probate court ruled that the power of attorney was valid, the trust was not terminated, and Norwest Bank would serve as special fiduciary absent a conservator. Frances appealed. The intermediate appellate court reversed the probate court’s ruling on termination of the trust. Norwest Bank appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scott, J.)

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