The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District affirmed the decision of a Cook County judge who granted summary judgment. The ruling came in favor of John Gearhart on the declaratory judgment that trust assets were to be distributed by David Gearhart, one of the grantor’s (Lloyd E. Gearhart) sons. Lloyd Gearhart died on Jan. 9, 2012, one week after making the final trust amendments leaving David Gearhart as trustee.
John Gearhart, another son, filed suit against David on Nov. 2, 2015 seeking declaratory judgment that the trust’s principal was to be distributed per stirpes among his children. He also sought an order restoring assets, alleging that David made distributions to the other two children but then insisted that John was only an income beneficiary of the trust and distributed the remaining trust assets to himself.
At trial seeking the order restoring assets, John argued that David had distributed assets to the other two children as though the trust’s assets would be distributed four ways and then denied John his portion of the assets, effectively claiming 50% of the trust’s assets for himself.