Trusts – Spendthrift Trusts – Deviation from Trust Terms on the Basis of Unforeseen Emotional Emergencies

Plaintiff and her son were the principal beneficiaries of a testamentary spendthrift trust which had been created by plaintiff’s husband. The son, Montgomery Ward Thorne, was found dead under unusual circumstances. His will left a portion of his interest in the trust to his fiancée and her mother. A contest over the son’s will developed between plaintiff and the designated beneficiaries in the will which caused intense bitterness between the parties. A compromise agreement was entered into, and plaintiff brought suit to obtain (1) court approval of the will contest settlement and (2) a direction to defendant trustee to invade the corpus of the spendthrift trust to provide funds for the settlement. The chancellor approved the settlement and directed defendant trustee to invade the corpus. On appeal, held, affirmed. The chancellor had authority to deviate from the trust terms on the basis of an emotional emergency engendered by the son’s death and the subsequent dispute between plaintiff and her son’s beneficiaries. The existence of spendthrift provisions did not prevent deviation. Thorne v. Continental Ill. Nat. Bank b Trust Co., (Ill. App. 1958) 151 N.E. (2d) 398.