Saturday, April 25, 2009

Merger Doctrine Inapplicable Due to Beneficiaries Interests

Noting that "[t]he polestar of trust interpretation is the settlors' intent," the Second DCA reversed the circuit court's decision applying the merger doctrine in Hansen v. Bothe (2D08-2688). The Second DCA held "Merger is inapplicable here. To the extent that Andreas Bothe became the sole grantor/trustee upon divorce, he held sole legal title; his intended remainder beneficiaries, however, retained an equitable interest. See Wells, 259 B.R. at 779; see also Denver Found. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 163 P.3d 1116, 1125 (Colo. 2007)(emphasizing that for the doctrine of merger to apply, the legal and beneficial interests must be completely coextensive; if other equitable interests remain, the trust will not terminate).


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