Henderson v. Collins, 245 Ga. 776 (1980)

In 1977, Collins took a judgment against Hunt for $300,000. Collins then sought to enforce the judgment against a Louisiana trust created in 1941; Henderson was the trustee and Hunt was a beneficiary. Both Hunt and Henderson took the position that the trust was not subject to the judgment. The trial court disagreed and ordered the sheriff to sell Hunt’s interest in the trust. The court found that Hunt’s interest was vested rather than contingent because there was no condition precedent to his receipt except termination of preceding estates; this was significant since a contingent interest cannot be attached. The court also found that the trust was not a discretionary trust since Hunt was entitled to a mandatory distribution of some portion of the trust when the trust is dissolved. The creditor could reach Hunt’s interest in the trust, but not the trust property.

See also Avera v. Avera, 253 Ga. 16 (1984) (Appellant, seeking alimony and support payments, argued that the legal and equitable interests merged and, therefore, the trust was subject to the claims of the settlor’s creditors. The court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the trust interest had not merged because there was an additional beneficiary); Blanchard v. Gilmore, 208 Ga. 846 (1952) (Trust estate was vested in sole remainderman who was sui juris. Trust estate merged and, therefore, purported trust amendment was not effective); Robinson v. Lindsey, 184 Ga. 684 (1937) (If the trust be executed, the legal and equitable titles meet and merge, and there is no need of any equitable proceeding or special statutory remedy; it is only when executory that such proceedings are necessary).

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