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Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations

Boston Bar Files Amicus Brief Urging SJC to Say It's OK for Trustee to Distribute Property From One Trust to Another

In a case with significant ramifications for trusts and estates practitioners and the clients they serve, the Boston Bar Association today filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) to recognize that the power of a trustee to distribute trust property to beneficiaries also includes the power to distribute that property to another trust for the benefit of the beneficiary under Massachusetts law. The case before the court, Richard Morse, Trustee v. Jonathan A. Kraft, et al. was brought as a non-adversarial proceeding by a trustee of a trust for the purpose of having the SJC answer the question: Does a trustee have the power to make distributions in further trust for any beneficiary's benefit without the consent or approval of any beneficiary or court?

In its amicus brief the BBA makes the case that a trustee's broad discretion to distribute property outright to a beneficiary includes the authority to distribute property to a new trust for the benefit of the same beneficiary, subject to fiduciary limitations based upon the nature and purposes of the trust and the beneficiary's best interests.

The BBA's amicus brief was drafted by a committee formed by the Trusts and Estates Section and comprised of the following individuals:

Andrew D. Rothstein of Goulston & Storrs, P.C.
Allison M. McCarthy of Riemer & Braunstein LLP
Marc J. Bloostein of Ropes & Gray LLP
George L. Cushing of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton P.A.
Joan B. Di Cola of Boston, Massachusetts
Michelle B. Kalas of Riemer & Braunstein LLP
Robert G. Stewart of Robert G. Stewart, P.C.
Brian P. Thurber of Goulston & Storrs, P.C.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.