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Cooper v. Trust Company Bank, 257 Ga. 272 (1987)

Trust Company Bank was named trustee of a trust created by Nancy Cooper in 1968. The trust provided that the settlor had no right to alter, amend, or revoke the trust. Nonetheless, she attempted to revoke the trust in 1985. The bank filed a declaratory judgment action because it believed the trust was irrevocable. Cooper argued she was the sole beneficiary and could, therefore, revoke the trust despite its terms. The court agreed that a sole beneficiary could revoke a trust even if irrevocable, but found she was not the sole beneficiary since it provided that upon her death “the Trustee shall distribute the property in this trust to or among such of my descendants, and in such proportions, as I may by my Last Will and Testament direct or appoint and if I do not have any descendants living at the time of my death, then to or among such of my relatives related to me by blood (I specifically exclude my husband, if any), as I shall direct or appoint. If I should die without exercising the aforesaid power of appointment, then all of the property in this trust shall be distributed per stirpes among my descendants then living, if any, and if none then per stirpes among the descendants then living of my mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Lanier.” Citing Restatement (Second) of Trusts, ยง 127, the court held that this language manifested an intention to give Settlor’s descendants a beneficial interest in the trust.

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