In light of the above, the court concluded that the syndic`s evidence was sufficient to raise real factual questions about what was known or disclosed to the plaintiff. The court was of the view that, even if a trustee acts at his own risk to apply for a general discharge without accounting, there is nothing in the law that requires this to be a necessary condition for its validity. Nothing prevents a trustee from looking for a quick and cost-effective way to do without accounting when requested and agreed upon by informed beneficiaries. In addition, the court rejected the idea that only the trustee could make the necessary disclosure in order to obtain a release to the beneficiary. Rather, the court held that the appropriateness of a disclosure must be determined in light of the circumstances, the touchstone being fairness. The lawyer should determine whether it is appropriate to settle an estate or trust on the basis of an agreement such as the one above. Although this process may involve less legal advice and can be done more quickly, the protection afforded to the trustee is significantly lower than that of a court file. Longer and more complete forms of such an agreement with the accounting and the corresponding documents can be used. Receipts and customs clearances have been used both as a shield and as a sword in probate procedures when trustees are faced with claims that have already been, or at least allegedly resolved. Although it is instinctively assumed that a release is an absolute obstacle to the continuation of a dispute, the actual circumstances associated with obtaining release, as well as the conditions of the release itself, often determine the outcome. With respect to Merrill Lynch, the court held that the Alternate Court had duly determined that the authorizations executed by the applicants were valid, since the applicants confirmed the receipt of informal accounts during the execution of the instruments and released Merrill Lynch from any liability and right to formal accounting on the advice of a lawyer and after negotiations. „The lawyer who was dealing with my uncle`s estate in Delaware County sent me a receipt, release, refund and compensation agreement.
The discharge document does not contain details of the amount he spent or other expenses. If I sign this, will I waive my right to ask questions? The opinion of Surrogate`s Court, New York County, in In re Bronner, NYLJ, January 21, 2016, p. 32, is revealing. In particular, three contested mandatory invoicing proceedings were pending before the court, in which the defendant/agent refused the exemption on the ground that the plaintiff/beneficiary had previously executed receipts and exemptions that relieved him of his liability. The Grievor sought a summary judgment in which he asserted in part that the authorizations had not been obtained equitably from him due to allegedly insufficient disclosure and an explanation of the transaction by the trustee. A year later, the co-executors of the deceased`s estate, including the deceased`s spouse, reimbursed their administration to the beneficiaries of the estate and the trustee of the trust created by the deceased`s will. In this context, the petitioner and his brother entered into a reception and release agreement which stated that they had verified the account of the executors, that they had deemed it complete and that „the executors, individually and as executors, had released and forever exonerated the executors of all claims and charges, commitments and obligations of all kinds… I hope this article has been helpful in explaining the exemption from liability. . . .