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In re Trust Created by Inman
Nebraska Supreme Court
269 Neb. 376, 693 N.W.2d 514 (2005)
Harold Inman placed his 189 acres of farmland in a trust for his children and grandchildren, with grandson Robert Brackett serving as successor trustee after Inman died. The trust instrument said the trustee could sell the property, but he could also retain property “without regard to the proportion such property . . . may bear to the entire amount of the trust.” The trust instrument explained that Inman intended to authorize the trustee to act in the trust beneficiaries’ best interests. Brackett wanted to buy 42 acres of the land for himself. He moved an old farmhouse onto the property and petitioned the court to approve the sale at $84,000, which an appraiser testified represented the fair market value. Brackett claimed that the proceeds could be invested to earn a greater return than renting the land as farmland and said he would hire a broker to invest the proceeds for the trust after the sale. Brackett also had an economics and finance expert testify that the trust assets should be diversified to meet Nebraska Uniform Prudent Investor Act (NUPIA) standards. Five trust beneficiaries objected to the proposed sale, claiming Inman intended the farmland to remain in trust for all the beneficiaries and that it would appreciate over time. Other beneficiaries likewise testified that the land should remain in the family and that it already earned enough income. A granddaughter testified that Inman “left the property for everybody to enjoy,” adding, “It has sentimental value to the whole family, not just one person.” The court declined to approve the sale. Brackett appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stephan, J.)
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