Jackson County District Court File No. 32-PR-08-46
Matthew T. Nielsen, Krahmer & Nielsen, P.A., Fairmont, Minnesota (for appellant)
Bradley W. Anderson, Handevidt & Anderson, P.A., Jackson, Minnesota; and Daniel J. Bellig, Farrish Johnson Law Office, Chtd., Mankato, Minnesota (for respondent trustees)
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Larkin, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.
In this appeal from a probate order regarding the management of a trust established by a will, appellant argues that the district court erred by (1) refusing to remove respondent trustees; (2) determining that certain assets were properly merged into the trust; (3) refusing to order the trustees to reimburse the trust for mileage resulting from their unauthorized use of a trust vehicle; and (4) refusing to require the trustees to personally pay the attorney fees in this matter. Because the district court erred by holding that certain assets were properly merged into the trust, we reverse and remand that portion of the district court's order. We affirm the remaining portions of the district court's order.
Appellant Rosalyn Rosenbrook is the only child of Perry Rosenbrook, who died on November 17, 2008, and the sole beneficiary of the Perry Rosenbrook Family Trust (PRFT), which Perry Rosenbrook established in his will. Although it is somewhat unclear from the record, it appears that appellant was born in July 1988 and was 24 years old when the district court issued the order that is now before us for review. Perry Rosenbrook was one of five sons of Arthur Rosenbrook, who died on December 30, 2009. Perry Rosenbrook is survived by three of his brothers, respondents Lon, Dave, and Brent Rosenbrook, who are co-trustees of the PRFT; he was predeceased by his brother Steven Rosenbrook.
Following Perry Rosenbrook's death, Lon Rosenbrook initiated the informal probate of Perry Rosenbrook's will and was appointed personal representative of his brother's estate. In article III of his will, Perry Rosenbrook devised and bequeathed all of his assets to the PRFT, named his three surviving brothers as joint trustees, and designated appellant as the trust's sole beneficiary. According to the terms of the trust, the trustees were directed to use the assets of the trust for the proper care, support, maintenance, and education of appellant until she reached the age of 30 and to distribute any remaining assets to appellant at that time.
During the administration of the Perry Rosenbrook estate, Arthur Rosenbrook died. Although Arthur Rosenbrook's will primarily named his five sons as equal beneficiaries of his estate, it also established the Arthur and Delores Rosenbrook Family Trust (ARFT) to provide for his grandchildren if any of his sons predeceased him. According to article VII of his will, the share of any son who predeceased him and left issue under the age of 24 was to be placed in trust to provide for the care, support, maintenance, and education of that son's children until they reached the age of 24, at which point the remaining assets would be distributed to the beneficiaries. Because Perry Rosenbrook predeceased his father and appellant was under the age of 24 at the time of her grandfather's death, Perry Rosenbrook's share of the Arthur Rosenbrook estate was to be distributed to the ARFT, with appellant as the beneficiary.
The PRFT's assets include cash, investments, a $25, 000 promissory note, a house, a boat, a motorcycle, a truck, and a four wheeler. The trust also contains $178, 667.21 in proceeds from the Arthur Rosenbrook estate, which was Perry Rosenbrook's share of his father's estate. The proceeds from the Arthur Rosenbrook estate were deposited into the PRFT—instead of the ARFT as provided in Arthur Rosenbrook's will—pursuant to an agreement executed in the summer of 2011. The agreement was signed by appellant, a daughter of Steven Rosenbrook, Brent Rosenbrook, Dave Rosenbrook, and Lon Rosenbrook acting individually and as trustee of the PRFT. The agreement, entitled Agreement for Partial Distribution of Estate by Heirs (distribution agreement), provides in relevant part:
The assets for distribution from the estate shall be divided into five equal shares, one share for each of the decedent's sons, namely: Steven Rosenbrook, Perry Rosenbrook, Brent Rosenbrook, Dave Rosenbrook and Lon Rosenbrook. The share for Steven Rosenbrook, now deceased, shall be divided between his two surviving daughters, Shannon Rosenbrook and Coral Rosenbrook. The share for Perry Rosenbrook, now deceased, shall be distributed to the Perry Rosenbrook Trust, in trust for the benefit of his sole surviving daughter and only child, Rosalyn Rosenbrook.
On December 23, 2011, appellant petitioned the district court for an inventory and order of complete settlement of her father's estate and decree of distribution. Appellant also sought an order prohibiting the trustees of the PRFT from using trust vehicles for personal purposes. Lon Rosenbrook filed an inventory and appraisal and a final account on March 5, 2012. By order dated March 7, 2012, the district court ordered Lon Rosenbrook to ...