Legal Memorandum: Disposition of a Trust Asset

Issue: Under in North Carolina law, does the disposition of a trust asset depend on where it was found?

Area of Law: Estate Planning & Probate
Keywords: Disposition of a trust asset; Location
Jurisdiction: Federal, Minnesota, North Carolina
Cited Cases: 132 N.C. App. 91
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2011

No case has been located in which the disposition of a trust asset depended on where it was found.  There are cases in which a general description of items “in or about the house” or similar language has been construed.  See In re Estate of Thorne, Nos. Co-92-2255, 2256, (Minn. Ct. App. July 6, 1993) (148 Krugerrands, 100 one-ounce gold “Maple Leaf” coins, and large number of U.S. silver coins and paper currency were wrapped in plastic and buried in crawlspace under house; testator’s girlfriend was to receive property “in or about the house,” which included crawlspace, even though it was technically not in the house). 

The principal rule is that a trust is to be construed in a manner that carries out the settlor’s intent.  Wheeler v. Queen, 132 N.C. App. 91, 510 S.E.2d 195, 198 (1999) (“Our responsibility is to ascertain the intent of the settler and to carry out that intent.  We derive the settlor’s intent from the language and purpose of the trust, construing the document as a whole.”). 


Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)