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In re Estate of Bonardi
New Jersey Superior Court
871 A.2d 103 (2005)
William Bonardi created two testamentary trusts in his will and appointed a friend as trustee (defendant) for both. The first trust named William’s wife, Donna Bonardi (plaintiff), as the beneficiary of the trust’s income during her lifetime. After Donna died, the couple’s two daughters, Jessica and Danielle, would receive whatever remained in that trust or, if they died first, their children would receive their share. The second trust named the daughters as beneficiaries directly. Under both trusts, the daughters could not receive their respective interests in the trust property until they each turned 25. William was concerned about both Donna’s drinking habits and the possibility that his estate might go to her potential future boyfriend or new husband. Accordingly, the first trust stated that William expected Donna to continue to work to support herself and that the trust income was meant to be supplemental support only. Similarly, the second trust contained a notation that William expected Donna to provide primary support for their daughters. The trustee was instructed to try to preserve the first trust’s principal to give to the daughters at Donna’s death and, therefore, was allowed to distribute the first trust’s principal to Donna only if necessary. After William died, Donna sued to have the first trust terminated and the principal distributed to her. At that time, Jessica and Danielle were 18 and 20 years old and still living with Donna. Both daughters signed a waiver giving up their interests as future beneficiaries of the first trust’s principal in order to allow Donna to have it. The trial court ruled that this was enough to terminate the first trust. The trustee appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Parrillo, J.)
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