When a testator’s trust provided the residue was to be split evenly among three children, but one of them was not to bear liability for taxes, the trial court erred in readjusting the children’s percentage shares of the residue to equalize the taxation burden. Decedent’s trust provided that on his death the trust’s assets were to be divided in thirds to fund a sub-trust for each of the decedent’s three children. But the trust also provided that one particular child’s sub-trust was not to be reduced by payment of estate or gift taxes. So those taxes were subtracted from the other two childrens’ sub-trusts. This decision holds that that is what the decedent intended and how the trust assets should be distributed, contrary to the trial court’s judgment which had approved awarding the two tax-paying children a larger share of the total trust assets to equalize the sums each child ultimately netted from the trust after taxes.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3 (Thompson, J.); March 23, 2016; 2016 WL 1158080