National Foundation for Special Needs Integrity, Inc. v. Reese

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 17-1817
Decision Date: 
February 7, 2018
Federal District: 
S.D. Ind., Indianapolis Div.
Reversed and remanded

Dist. Ct. erred in finding that language in special needs trust agreement entitled plaintiff-trustee of said trust to remaining assets of said trust after trust beneficiary died, where beneficiary had failed to name surviving remainder beneficiary. Trust agreement was ambiguous as to whether plaintiff would retain money from trust if there was no remainder beneficiary, and beneficiary’s designation of herself as remainder beneficiary evidenced intent that remaining assets in trust go to her estate (and hence to her children) rather than to plaintiff-trustee, especially where: (1) by time of beneficiary's death, plaintiff merely provided management services over trust assets for few weeks; and (2) beneficiary expressed desire to spend money on her children prior to funding instant trust.