810 P.2d 259 (Idaho 1991), 18950, McDonald v. Paine

Docket Nº:18950.
Citation:810 P.2d 259, 119 Idaho 725
Opinion Judge:McDEVITT,
Party Name:. Frances McDONALD, Plaintiff-Appellant v. Robert C. PAINE, Parry Robertson, Daly & Larson, a partnership, and Does I through V, fictitiously named, Defendants-Respondents.
Attorney:Ellis, Brown, Sheils & Steele, Boise, for plaintiff-appellant. Stephen C. Brown argued. Ellis, Brown, Sheils & Steele, Boise, for plaintiff-appellant. Stephen C. Brown argued. Quane, Smith, Howard & Hull, Boise, for defendants-respondents. Thomas J. Ryan argued.
Judge Panel:BAKES, C.J., and BISTLINE, JOHNSON and BOYLE, JJ., concur.
Case Date:April 29, 1991
Court:Supreme Court of Idaho
 
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Page 259

810 P.2d 259 (Idaho 1991)

119 Idaho 725

.

Frances McDONALD, Plaintiff-Appellant

v.

Robert C. PAINE, Parry Robertson, Daly & Larson, a partnership, and Does I through V, fictitiously named, Defendants-Respondents.

No. 18950.

Supreme Court of Idaho, Boise.

April 29, 1991

Page 260

[119 Idaho 726] Ellis, Brown, Sheils & Steele, Boise, for plaintiff-appellant. Stephen C. Brown argued.

Quane, Smith, Howard & Hull, Boise, for defendants-respondents. Thomas J. Ryan argued.

McDEVITT, Justice.

This is the saga of a woman who has spent over fourteen years in her quest to obtain what she perceives as her share of the marital estate. Having been unsuccessful in her efforts to obtain her desired relief against her ex-husband, Frances McDonald now seeks relief against the attorney who represented her in the divorce.

On March 3, 1947, Frances McDonald and Ray Barlow exchanged vows and became man and wife. On June 16, 1951, Nellie Barlow, Ray's mother, passed away. In her will, Nellie Barlow bequeathed to her son Ray, 20% of the family business holdings which included ranches in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

In 1963, the Barlow family patriarch, K.C. Barlow, began to fail in health. To insure a smooth transition of the family business, K.C. Barlow established the K.C. Barlow Revocable Trust on July 31, 1963. Into this trust K.C. Barlow transferred all of his business holdings. Ray and Frances Barlow also irrevocably transferred Ray's 20% inherited interest in the family business into this trust. In consideration of this transfer, the trust guaranteed Ray Barlow 30% of the trust corpus upon the death of K.C. Barlow.

On December 22, 1964, K.C. Barlow died. Upon the death of his father, Ray Barlow became irrevocably entitled to 30% of the K.C. Barlow trust corpus. This interest could not be diminished nor enhanced, his interest was subject only to liquidation of the trust assets, payment of expenses, and the eventual distribution of proceeds by the trustee.

While the trust instrument instructed the trustee to liquidate the trust as soon as possible, the trustee's efforts to marshall assets, liquidate those assets, and then make the mandated distributions took well over a decade to accomplish. During this time, the trustee managed the assets, received income, and paid necessary expenses.

It was also during this period that the marriage of Ray and Frances Barlow came upon hard times. On October 22, 1976, Ray Barlow filed for divorce from his wife.

Shortly after the divorce was filed and was still pending, the trustee finally began making distributions as required by the trust instrument. On December 29, 1976,

Page 261

[119 Idaho 727] the trust made its first distribution of approximately $160,000 in cash and other consideration, to Ray Barlow. The divorce was granted on September 2, 1977, dissolving the marriage of Ray Barlow and Frances McDonald. After this date, the trustee continued to make distributions to Ray Barlow totaling approximately $315,000.

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