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In re JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
New York Surrogate Court
956 N.Y.S.2d 856 (2012)
Before her death, Marie H. established a multimillion-dollar discretionary-support trust for the benefit of her disabled 16-year-old son, Mark C. H., who had been placed in a residential institution, had severe autism, and was nonverbal. Marie appointed as cotrustees her attorney, HJP, and JP Morgan Chase Bank, N. A. (Chase) (defendants). The trustees were given absolute discretion to distribute trust income and principal for Mark’s care, comfort, support, and maintenance. Marie died in March 2005. In October 2006, HJP filed a petition to be appointed Mark’s guardian. The initial hearing for the guardianship petition was held in September 2007. At the hearing, it was revealed that although HJP was already serving as cotrustee of Mark’s trust, he had not visited Mark, nor had he contacted the institution where Mark lived to ask about his condition or to inquire about his needs. Chase had similarly not inquired about Mark’s needs or sent anyone to visit him. An attorney appointed to represent Mark’s interests reported that Mark was unable to communicate and that he often acted aggressively, spitting, throwing objects, and hitting himself. The court, sua sponte, ordered Chase and HJP to ascertain Mark’s needs, find out what services were available to meet his needs, and use the trust income to provide appropriate services.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Glen, J.)
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