Strict Compliance under Minn. Stat. Minn. Stat. § 501C.0203 is Required In Trust Matters

In re the Estate of: Randy Brian Sukut, Deceased, Filed January 29, 2018, A17-0748 (Minn.Ct.App. 2018). This is a second marriage case. After the first spouse died the surviving spouse became administrator of the trust. After the spouse/trustee tried to settle the estate at least one beneficiary of the decedent objected. The objector filed a petition for relief and an evidentiary hearing was scheduled. The objector filed an amended petition one day before the hearing and only mailed it to the spouse’s counsel. The notice was not received until after the hearing and no other parties were served. At the hearing the defendant (spouse) did not know that the court may consider removing the trustee and the court did in fact remove the trustee. The district court found that the trustee implicitly consented to the petition. Minnesota precedent finds that an unambiguous statute must be strictly complied with. The court of appeals also noted that the notice was only sent to the trustee’s counsel and not to the trustee personally. The court of appeals seems to imply that failing to send notice to the party may not qualify for strict compliance under Minn. Stat. § 501C.0203. The district court decision was reversed and remanded.

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