Estate of Lohrie, Matter of, 97-112

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Citation950 P.2d 1030
Docket NumberNo. 97-112,97-112
PartiesIn the Matter of the ESTATE OF Alexander LOHRIE, Deceased.
Decision Date22 December 1997

Page 1030

950 P.2d 1030
In the Matter of the ESTATE OF Alexander LOHRIE, Deceased.
No. 97-112.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Dec. 22, 1997.

Page 1031

William D. Bagley, Cheyenne, for Beverly Joan Copeland.

Gregory C. Dyekman and Brandin Hay of Dray, Thomson & Dyekman, P.C., Cheyenne, for Vera E. Hjelm.

Before TAYLOR, C.J., and THOMAS, MACY, GOLDEN and LEHMAN, JJ.

GOLDEN, Justice.

The personal representative for the estate of Alexander Lohrie petitioned the district court for an order of distribution for property named in the Alexander and Marguerite Lohrie Revocable Trust and in the Last Will and Testament of Alexander Lohrie. Appellant Beverly Joan Copeland was a devisee to a house under the will. Appellee Vera E. Hjelm was the sole beneficiary of that same house under the trust. The district court held that the will and the trust were inconsistent, the will did not revoke the trust, the house belonged to the trust, and it should be given to Hjelm as directed by the trust. The district court dissolved the trust and vested Hjelm with sole title to the house. Copeland appeals.

We affirm.

ISSUES

Copeland provides this issue for our review:

Is the clear intent of the 1995 Will of the deceased frustrated by a prior contrary provision in his Revocable Trust?

Hjelm contends that Copeland's arguments result in the following issues requiring review:

I. Was the district court correct in finding that Alexander and Marguerite Lohrie effectively conveyed their interest in real property located at 908 Stevens Drive, Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming to the Alexander and Marguerite Lohrie Revocable Trust?

II. Was the district court correct in finding that Alexander Lohrie's January 5, 1995 Last Will and Testament did not revoke the Alexander and Marguerite Lohrie Revocable Trust?

III. Did the Alexander and Marguerite Lohrie Revocable Trust fail for want of a successor trustee?

IV. As a matter of Wyoming law, are revocable trusts (rendered irrevocable upon the death of the grantor) enforceable?

FACTS

Lohrie and his wife, Marguerite, established the Alexander and Marguerite Lohrie Revocable Trust with Alexander Lohrie as Trustee on December 23, 1983. The trust provided that it could be revoked at any time during the lifetime of the last of the settlors to die as long as the revocation was in writing and delivered to the trustee. The trust contained two assets, a house at 311 Vaughn Court in Cheyenne and a house located on 908 Stevens Avenue in Cheyenne. Mrs. Lohrie died on August 23, 1986. On November 3, 1987, Lohrie amended the trust and named Copeland as the primary beneficiary of the trust if she survived Lohrie. On June 9, 1988, Lohrie amended the trust again naming the First Wyoming Bank, later known as Key Bank, as successor trustee. On August 22, 1988, Lohrie amended the trust for the third time, providing that Copeland would still be the primary beneficiary if she were not married to someone else at the time of Lohrie's death.

Lohrie executed a fourth amendment to the trust on December 20, 1989, providing that the successor trustee was to distribute a house at 311 Vaughn Court in Cheyenne

to Beverly Joan Copeland for life (a legal life estate), with remainder over to those of her children who survive Alexander Lohrie. If Beverly Joan Copeland does not survive Alexander Lohrie, then Successor Trustee shall distribute said real estate, in equal shares, share and share alike, to those children of Beverly Joan Copeland who survive Alexander Lohrie.

The fourth amendment also provided that the successor trustee distribute the rest and remainder

Page 1032

to Vera E. Hjelm. Lohrie later sold the house at 311 Vaughn Court.

On January 5, 1995, Lohrie executed a last will and testament. It provided in part as follows:

I direct that my house at 908 Stevens Drive, Cheyenne, Wyoming, be sold along with the contents not devised elsewhere in this Will. The proceeds from said house and said contents shall pass in equal shares to my friend Jody Copeland, of 2400 Missile Drive, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and my friend Vera E. Hjelm of 224 Prospect Land, Apartment 8, Billings, Montana, or the survivor of them.

Lohrie died on April 13, 1996. Hjelm claimed that the house at 908 Stevens Drive should be distributed according to the trust, not the will, because Lohrie never revoked the trust. Copeland claimed that the will revoked the trust so the house should be distributed according to the will or, in the alternative, that the trust was invalid because the named successor trustee refused to accept and because the house was not properly deeded to the trust.

Lohrie's personal representative petitioned the court for a declaration concerning the distribution of the property, and a hearing was held. The attorney who drafted the 1995 will testified at the hearing that Lohrie had told him of the trust but refused to let him see it. He drafted the will's provisions distributing the house upon the instructions of Lohrie. The court determined that the will and the trust were inconsistent, and the issue before it was whether Lohrie effectively revoked the trust. Finding that a will can revoke a trust under specific circumstances, the court ruled that none of those circumstances were present in this case, and the trust controlled distribution of the house because of the inconsistency. It held the house belonged to the trust and was to be distributed to Hjelm, and because the purpose of the trust was fulfilled, the...

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5 cases
  • Poland v. Nalee (In re Estate of George) , s. S–11–0086
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 17 Noviembre 2011
    ...stated that a trust agreement is governed by the plain language contained in the four corners of the document. In re Estate of Lohrie, 950 P.2d 1030 (Wyo.1997). In Lohrie, we noted that we have construed and given effect to revocable trusts after the death of the settlor made them irrevocab......
  • Royal v. First Interstate Bank (In re Trierweiler), BAP No. WY–11–111.
    • United States
    • Bankruptcy Appellate Panels. U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, Tenth Circuit
    • 28 Diciembre 2012
    ...added). 46.Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 34–2–123 (emphasis added). 47. Appellant's Brief at 15. 48.Id. at 15–16. 49.In re Estate of Lohrie, 950 P.2d 1030 (Wyo.1997). 50.Id. at 1033. 51.Lagae v. Lackner, 996 P.2d 1281, 1285 (Colo.2000). 52.Id. at 1286. 53.Marital Trust Under Will of Casto v. Lungaro, 2......
  • In re Haworth, Bankruptcy No. 99-10085
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Tenth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Wyoming
    • 3 Mayo 2000
    ...and trustee, an intention to create a trust, an ascertainable beneficiary, a legal purpose and a legal term. Matter of Estate of Lohrie, 950 P.2d 1030, 1032 (Wyo.1997). Likewise, a trust created by federal common law also requires certain elements, including an identifiable beneficiary. Uni......
  • Royal v. First Interstate Bank (In re Trierweiler), BAP No. WY-11-111
    • United States
    • Bankruptcy Appellate Panels. U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, Tenth Circuit
    • 28 Diciembre 2012
    ...added). 46. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 34-2-123 (emphasis added). 47. Appellant's Brief at 15. 48. Id. at 15-16. 49. In re Estate of Lohrie, 950 P.2d 1030 (Wyo. 1997). 50. Id. at 1033. 51. Lagae v. Lackner, 996 P.2d 1281, 1285 (Colo. 2000). 52. Id. at 1286. 53. Marital Trust Under Will of Casto v. L......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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