In re Freihofer
172 Misc. 2d 260, 658 N.Y.S.2d 811 (1997)
Freihofer died. His will gave
everything to his wife.
Two months later, Mrs.
Freihofer filed a renunciation and
moved some of the estate into a testamentary trust for their sons.
The trust was placed in the
care of Steiner, as sole trustee.
A testamentary trust (aka a will trust) is trust which arises upon the death of the testator, usually under his will. Testamentary trusts
are distinguished from inter vivos trusts, which are created during the settlor's
Apparently Steiner wasn't very
communicative about what he was doing with the trust. 15 years later, the
sons filed a petition to compel Steiner to account for the trust's assets.
Steiner was acting as the
son's personal attorney, corporate attorney for Freihofer's company
(which was held in the trust), trustee and executor of several trusts and
wills by various Freihofer family members, and sat on the board of
directors for Freihofer's company.
Sounds like a conflict of
Steiner made a motion to
dismiss the petition.
The Trial Court found for the
son and ordered Freihofer to disclose how he was handling the assets in
The Trial Court found that
an attorney-fiduciary has a duty to provide full disclosure of his
stewardship to the beneficiary.