Anoka County District Court File No. P6699358
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Stoneburner, Judge,
and Parker, Judge.*fn1
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stoneburner, Judge
Appellants, who are three children of the deceased, Leonard Loverne Evenmo, challenge the district court's denial of their petition to, among other things, declare that their father's will did not create a valid trust. Because a valid trust was established under the will, we affirm.
Leonard Loverne Evenmo's will bequeathed most of his estate, including all personalty and the entire residue of the estate, in equal shares to his five children. The will provided that decedent's shares of stock comprising a 100% interest in decedent's business, Limpro, Inc., would be collected by co-trustees named in the will and held "in trust for the benefit of my children and the issue of predeceased children by right of representation."
My co-Trustees shall manage the business operations of Limpro, Inc., until such time as the business may be sold and a complete transfer of the business operation is made to the purchasers. The co-Trustees shall elect my children, Mark Todd Evenmo and Caryn DeAnn Evenmo as the sole directors and officers of Limpro, Inc. to serve until sale of the businessà
Upon sale of Limpro, Inc., the co-Trustees may, at their option, terminate the trust and transfer all cash assets and accounts receivable rights in equal shares to my surviving children and the issue of my predeceased children per stirpes.
The will further gave the co-trustees all of the powers enumerated in Minn. Stat. §á501.66*fn2 of the Minnesota Trustees Powers Act and the power to invest the trust estate in investments "that incur little or no risk to the trust corpus."
Decedent's children, Caryn Evenmo and Mark Evenmo, were named co-trustees, and Caryn Evenmo and her brother, Michael Evenmo, were named as co-personal representatives under the will. Mark Evenmo resigned as an officer and director of Limpro, Inc. and as co-trustee of decedent's trust several months after decedent's death. The will gave the co-trustees the power to nominate additional or successor trustees and provided that if either resigned as a co-trustee without naming a successor, the other would continue as trustee. Caryn Evenmo has acted as sole trustee since Mark Evenmo's resignation and in that capacity has managed Limpro, Inc. and is president and sole officer of the closely held business. Michael Evenmo is an employee of Limpro, Inc. Appellants Mark Evenmo, Sandra Evenmo, and Cheryl Evenmo petitioned the court for a declaration that the will did not create a valid trust and for distribution of the stock and property of Limpro, Inc. under the residuary clause of the will. The district court denied the petition, and this appeal followed.
On review, appellate courts evaluate the district court's findings concerning wills and trusts under a clearly erroneous standard and review conclusions of law de novo. In re Estate of Simpkins, 446 N.W.2d 188, 190 (Minn. App. 1989). Only limited issues are before us, specifically, whether a testamentary trust was created by decedent's will and, if so, whether the trust is invalid because it violates Minnesota's rule against perpetuities.
Appellants first argue that the district court erred by finding that decedent's will created an enforceable testamentary trust. Appellants assert that the will did not create a trust because there are no enforceable duties or obligations and the language purporting to create the trust is so ...