Firm Secures Court Settlement To Benefit Local Charities

Conway Londregan Sheehan & Monaco, P.C.
Secure Court Settlement to Benefit Local Charities

The late William C. Chelf had provided in his Will that his brother would receive the net income from a trust and that the principal of the trust could be used for the educational costs of his two nieces. Upon the death of the brother the trust would terminate and the balance of any monies would go equally to the Public Library of New London, Saint James Episcopal Church of New London, and the American Lung Association of Connecticut. The concern was that, after reviewing the payments to the nieces, there would be no money left for the charities. Thomas J. Londregan, past president of the Public Library and a partner in the law firm contested the accounting filed by the trustee Bank of America, in the Groton Probate Court n/k/a SE CT Regional Probate Court. The Probate Court accepted and approved the accounting over the objection of Thomas Londregan for the Public Library of New London. Attorney Londregan appealed the decision to the Superior Court. The appeal alleged that the trustee, Bank of America, abused its discretion and failed to act within the bounds of reasonable judgment in making distributions for the education costs of the beneficiaries. The Library claimed that the terms of the trust were to limit expenses for "educational costs" only and were not to be for general welfare, maintenance and support. The Bank of America objected and contested the allegations claiming it had discretion, as trustee, to make payments of principal for the general support of the nieces. The Public Library claimed the payments in excess of educational costs diminished the expectation of the charities in the trust. The Attorney General of the State of Connecticut intervened in the matter and with the assistance of Superior Court Judge James Devine the parties concluded a settlement wherein the trust was terminated and the Bank of America agreed to contribute $110,126.04 to effectuate the settlement. As a result, the Public Library of New London, Saint James Episcopal Church and the American Lung Association will receive $107,500. The Bank of America also agreed to pay legal fees accrued by the Public Library.