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Court Discusses Marital Trust Connected with a Will


This matter deals with appointing the trustees of the trust for the benefit of Gertrude Feil under the fifth article of the last will and testament of Louis Feil who is deceased. The Surrogates Court of the State of New York located in Nassau County is overhearing this case.

Petitioner’s Motion

A New York Probate Lawyer said the petitioner has motioned for an order to grant the following relief: to dismiss the affirmative defenses that were interposed in the two proceedings, to grant a summary judgment to the petitioner and dismiss the answers and grant the petitions, and to have the letters of trusteeship issued to Jay I. Anderson in connection with the marital trust that was established in the fifth article of the will of Louis Feil and to issue letters of trusteeship to Jay I. Anderson, Erika Feil Lincoln, and Leonard Boxer in connection with the Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts that were established under the sixth article of the will of Louis Feil.

Case Background

Louis Feil passed away on the third of February, 1999. He was a resident of Nassau County at the time of his passing and his will was submitted for probate to the Surrogate’s Court of Nassau County. The two trustees of the marital trust and the charitable lead annuity trusts are Jeffrey Feil and his sister Carole Feil. Jeffrey is attempting to appoint additional trustees for the trusts, but his sister has refused. This brought forth the relief that is being requested in the amended petitions.

In the will the power to appoint additional trustees is given in the ninth article that states that Jeffrey, if acting as fiduciary of the estate or if not, the individual fiduciaries by unanimous action may appoint additional and successor fiduciaries from time to time. Any individual, bank, or trust company can be appointed.

The will goes further to give Jeffrey the power of having to vote in the majority of any action or decision that takes place in regard to the estate.

The will further provides that Jeffrey and Carole will be entitled to receive compensation allowed to a sole executor and any other fiduciary that is named will be entitled to reasonable compensation, which may be more or less than that which is allowable by law.

Case Discussion and Decision

Based on the foregoing powers, Jeffrey has designated additional trustees and because of Carole’s opposition to this has began these two proceedings to confirm these appointments. Jeffrey seeks to have the appointments approved and for the court to rule that only two trustee’s commissions be payable from each of the trusts and these commissions be shared equally among the existing and added trustees.

A Staten Island Probate Lawyer said when reviewing the language of the will it is clear that Jeffrey is acting within his power to add additional trustees. For this reason, this portion of his petition is approved and the additional trustees are added. However, in regard to the commissions, Jeffrey does not have the power to divide up the portion of Carole’s commissions as she is entitled to the full amount. He does have the right to divide his portion of the commissions among the other trustees or to distribute further commissions from the trust as necessary.

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