Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont
Submitted on August 21, 2019
Appeal from the 60th District Court Jefferson County, Texas
Trial Cause No. B-201,069-A
McKeithen, C.J., Kreger and Horton, JJ.
CHARLES KREGER JUSTICE.
P. Cormier, individually, and Robert P. Cormier and David
Olson, in their positions as co-trustees to the Paul J.
Cormier Family Trust for the benefit of Robert P. Cormier and
the Paul J. Cormier Family Trust GST Exempt for the benefit
of Robert P. Cormier, filed a Petition for Modification of
Trust Agreement. Robert sought to
modify the terms of the trust agreement created by Paul
Cormier on November 12, 1993, and each of the subtrusts
created thereunder pursuant to Texas Property Code section
112.054(a). See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §
112.054(a) (West Supp. 2018). Co-trustees of Trusts for the
benefit of Carlene Cormier subsequently intervened seeking
modification consistent with Robert's requested relief
and sought a declaratory judgment to that effect. Following a
hearing, the trial court granted the requested modification.
Darlene Ann Hoffpauir, a beneficiary of the trusts, appeals
the trial court's Order Directing the Modification of
Trust Agreement. We affirm the trial court's Order
Directing the Modification of Trust Agreement.
November 12, 1993, Paul Cormier created the "Paul J.
Cormier Family Trust." Paul established the trust for
the benefit of his three children, Carlene Ann Swensen,
Darlene Ann LeFleur (Hoffpauir), and Robert P. Cormier. Paul
named Robert and W.T. Edgar co-trustees. The original trust
agreement divided the initial Trust Estate into three equal
shares, "one for the benefit of each Beneficiary."
The terms of the original trust agreement provided that ten
years after the end of the month in which Paul died, the
principal and income of the trust should be delivered to the
beneficiaries. Paul died on October 30, 2009, and thereafter,
additional assets were added to the corpus of the Trust and
the Trust Estate was split into six separate subtrusts for
tax purposes in satisfaction of the trust terms. These
subtrusts are as follows:
1. Paul J. Cormier Family Trust fbo Robert P. Cormier;
2. Paul J. Cormier GST Exempt fbo Robert P. Cormier;
3. Paul J. Cormier Family Trust fbo Carlene A. Cormier;
4. Paul J. Cormier GST Exempt fbo Carlene A. Cormier;
5. Paul J. Cormier Family Trust fbo Darlene Hoffpauir; and
6. Paul J. Cormier GST Exempt fbo Darlene Hoffpauir.
their Petition for Modification of Trust Agreement, Appellees
contended there were two specific and material purposes of
the Trust. First, they argued that the Grantor created the
trust to provide spendthrift and creditor protection for the
trust estate. They point out that those provisions are
designed to ensure the assets held by the Trustees are
safeguarded from creditor claims and are available to provide
for the support, ...