Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scheffel v. Krueger case brief

Scheffel v. Krueger case brief summary
782 A.2d 410 (2001)

Plaintiff mother sued defendant tortfeasor, alleging that the tortfeasor had, inter alia, sexually assaulted the mother's minor child. The court entered a default judgment against the tortfeasor. The mother sought an attachment of the tortfeasor's interest in a trust. The Superior Court, Hillsborough-southern judicial district (New Hampshire), dismissed the trustee process action. The mother appealed.


The tortfeasor was the beneficiary of a trust containing a spendthrift provision. The trial court held that the spendthrift provision barred the mother's claim against the trust.


  • The appellate court held that N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 564:23(I) provided two exceptions to the enforceability of spendthrift provisions, neither of which was applicable. 
  • Nothing in the language of the statute suggested that the legislature intended that a tort creditor should be exempted from a spendthrift provision. 
  • New Hampshire did not recognize a public policy tort creditor exception to the statute. 
  • Further, the statute did not place any limitation on the rights a beneficiary was granted under the trust instrument. 
  • Rather, by its plain language the statute applied where a trust's governing instrument provided a beneficiary was not able to transfer his or her right to future payments of income and principal, and a creditor of a beneficiary was not be able to subject the beneficiary's interest to the payment of its claim.


The judgment was affirmed.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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