Case Summary: Upon his death, Raymond Rech’s trust gave three-quarters of his multi-million-dollar estate to three charities. The remaining quarter was held in trust to support his sister during her lifetime, after which the trust stated the remainder should be divided equally between the three charities. The sister’s grandchildren fought the distribution, claiming that a seemingly conflicting provision of the trust gave them the remainder, and the probate court agreed.
Resolution: Kemp Klein appellate attorney Ronald S. Nixon successfully represented the trustee in appealing the decision, winning over a million dollars back for the charities and defending Raymond Rech’s intent. The lesson learned from this case is that your estate planning documents need to be clear and not include unnecessary language that could be leveraged by those whom you do not want to receive your inheritance.