Question

Joseph McKinley Bryan was an elderly, wealthy, and eccentric man. Before his death, he had made provisions for a testamentary trust for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Under the terms of the trust, each grandchild who survived him was to receive $500,000, and each great-grandchild who survived him was to receive $100,000. By the time of Bryan’s death on April 26, 1995, there had been at least five versions of the trust’s provisions. His will was originally dated June 29, 1990, but the trust agreement was originally made in 1985, with two changes in 1988, one in 1990, and another in 1992. In May 1995, NationsBank Corp., the trustee, notified Bryan’s grandchildren by letter that they would be receiving only $100,000. Because the grandchildren had understood that they were to receive $500,000, they asked to see the trust agreements. The trustee refused, contending that there was no duty to share the agreement with the trust beneficiaries. Was the trustee right? [Taylor v. NationsBank Corp., 481 S.E.2d 358 (N.C. App.)]



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