Successful Defense of Trustee

Pierce Atwood successfully defended the trustee of two trusts established for distribution of the estate of the beneficiaries’ father. Plaintiff beneficiary of the trusts sued her co-beneficiary (the trustee) for an accounting, alleging that the trustee had wrongfully withheld distribution of assets. We moved to dismiss the complaint on statute of limitations grounds based on the pleadings and record testimony taken in a prior bankruptcy proceeding involving the plaintiff, which showed that the plaintiff’s interest in the trusts had terminated nearly 10 years ago.

We argued that the New Hampshire Trust Code’s three-year limitation period for actions against trustees barred the claim. The Probate Court agreed and, in a complete victory, dismissed the complaint and invited the trustee-defendant to move for an award of her attorney’s fees.

This is a significant win for our New Hampshire probate litigators, as early dispositive motions typically are not favored in the New Hampshire state trial courts.