PROBATE COURTS AND DECEDENTS' ESTATES
UNIFORM PRINCIPAL AND INCOME ACT
DEFINITIONS AND FIDUCIARY DUTIES
564-C:1-105 Judicial Control of Discretionary Power.
(a) The court may not order a fiduciary to change a decision to exercise or not to exercise a discretionary power conferred by this chapter unless it determines that the decision was an abuse of the fiduciary's discretion. A fiduciary's decision is not an abuse of discretion merely because the court would have exercised the power in a different manner or would not have exercised the power.
(b) The decisions to which subsection (a) applies include:
(1) a decision under RSA 564-C:1-104(a) as to whether and to what extent an amount should be transferred from principal to income or from income to principal.
(2) A decision regarding the factors that are relevant to the trust and its beneficiaries, the extent to which the factors are relevant, and the weight, if any, to be given to those factors, in deciding whether and to what extent to exercise the discretionary power conferred by RSA 564-C: 1-104(a).
(c) If the court determines that a fiduciary has abused the fiduciary's discretion, the court may place the income and remainder beneficiaries in the positions they would have occupied if the discretion had not been abused as equity requires, according to the following guidelines:
(1) to the extent that the abuse of discretion has resulted in no distribution to a beneficiary or in a distribution that is too small, the court may order the fiduciary to distribute from the trust to the beneficiary an amount that the court determines will restore the beneficiary, in whole or in part, to the beneficiary's appropriate position.
(2) to the extent that the abuse of discretion has resulted in a distribution to a beneficiary which is too large, the court may place the beneficiaries, the trust, or both, in whole or in part, in their appropriate positions by ordering the fiduciary to withhold an amount from one or more future distributions to the beneficiary who received the distribution that was too large or ordering that beneficiary to return some or all of the distribution to the trust.
(3) to the extent that the court is unable, after applying subsection (c)(1) and (2), to place the beneficiaries, the trust, or both, in the positions they would have occupied if the discretion had not been abused, the court may order the fiduciary to pay an appropriate amount from its own funds to one or more of the beneficiaries or the trust or both.
(d) A fiduciary may petition the court having jurisdiction over a trust or estate for a determination by the court whether a proposed exercise or nonexercise of a discretionary power conferred by this chapter will result in an abuse of discretion. If the petition describes the proposed exercise or nonexercise of the power and contains sufficient information to inform the beneficiaries of the reasons for the proposal, the facts upon which the fiduciary relies, and an explanation of how the income and remainder beneficiaries will be affected by the proposed exercise or nonexercise of the power, a beneficiary who challenges the proposed exercise or nonexercise has the burden of establishing that it will result in an abuse of discretion.
(e) A fiduciary shall be reimbursed for any and all costs, including without limitation all attorneys' fees and costs of defense, and all liabilities that the fiduciary may incur in connection with any claim or action relating in any way to the fiduciary's exercise of its discretion under this chapter, except to the extent that the beneficiary establishes that the fiduciary did not exercise its discretion in good faith and with honest judgment. All attorneys' fees and costs shall be advanced to the fiduciary as incurred and shall only be collected from the fiduciary after it has been determined that the fiduciary did not exercise its discretion in good faith and with honest judgment.
Source. 2006, 320:68, eff. Aug. 19, 2006.