A case in New York is a good reminder that it is very important to make sure that trusts details are specific, in order to make the settlor's wishes crystal clear.
The story had a Hollywood beginning. A schoolteacher and a wealthy real estate investor met through a singles ad, fell in love, got married and had a child.
From that beginning, things quickly turned south.
According to court records filed by the child of that marriage, Elizabeth Marcus, her mother refused to sleep with her father after she was born. The two divorced after a few years and the father passed away, when Marcus was nine years old.
The father did not want his ex-wife to receive any of his assets and instead left half his estate in trust to Marcus. Another child from a previous marriage received the other half.
The trust was originally overseen by Citibank, but after fighting for several years, the mother took control of the trust in 2003, according to the Daily Mail in "Daughter sues her 'self-involved' mother for 'frittering away more than $13m of her inheritance - so she could buy cars and a $6m mansion next to Gwyneth Paltrow in the Hamptons'."
Marcus is suing her mother now, claiming that her mother has stolen her inheritance to buy expensive items for herself, including a mansion and fancy cars. Most of the original inheritance is now alleged to be gone.
The mother, of course, denies the accusations.
The missing piece of the puzzle from the reports is how the mother was able to gain control of the trust, if the father did not wish her to have it. He might have neglected to be clearer about his wishes in the trust documents.
Reference: Daily Mail (April 23, 2017) "Daughter sues her 'self-involved' mother for 'frittering away more than $13m of her inheritance - so she could buy cars and a $6m mansion next to Gwyneth Paltrow in the Hamptons'