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In re Trust of Stuchell

Oregon Court of Appeals
801 P.2d 852 (1990)


Facts

J.W. Stuchell’s will created a testamentary trust that provided for some of his family members during their lives, including Edna Rogers Harrell (plaintiff). According to the terms of the trust, the trust assets were to be distributed to Edna’s four children or their descendants after the last life beneficiary died. Edna’s twenty-five year old son, John Harrell, who was mentally disabled and unable to live independently, relied on public assistance to pay for his care which he would need for the rest of his life. Since the trust was structured to be distributed in equal shares to Edna’s children when the last life beneficiary died, John would receive an outright distribution of his share of the assets at that time, which would disqualify him for public benefits. The beneficiaries executed an agreement under which the trust would continue if John survived the life beneficiaries and Edna asked the court to approve the beneficiaries’ agreement to modify the terms of the trust. The trial court dismissed the petition and Edna appealed, asserting that the Restatement (Second) of Trusts § 167 (1959) allows a trustee to deviate from strict compliance with the terms of a trust when circumstances unknown or not anticipated by the settlor result in a circumstance where compliance with the trust would impair or be inconsistent with the trust purpose.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Buttler, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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