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In re Hyde Trust

Supreme Court of South Dakota

December 30, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE DONALD HYDE TRUST

Considered on Briefs: November 17, 2014.

Page 334

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 335

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT LAWRENCE COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE RANDALL L. MACY, Judge.

Affirmed.

DYLAN A. WILDE of Wilde & Hunt Prof., LLC, Spearfish, South Dakota, Attorneys for appellant Wilma Van Order.

JOHN K. NOONEY, MARLI A. SCHIPPERS of Nooney, Solay & Van Norman, LLP, Rapid City, South Dakota, Attorneys for appellees Baptist Children's Home and Shepherd's Ministries.

ZINTER, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and KONENKAMP, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.

OPINION

Page 336

ZINTER, Justice

[¶1] Donald Hyde had a will and later created a revocable trust tat he funded with real estate and a brokerage account containing stock. Hyde also executed five codicils before and after he created the trust. In one post-trust codicil, he bequeathed the stock to his siblings. However, the stock was in the trust, and under the trust, the stock was to be distributed to charities upon his death. During his life, Hyde also deeded trust real estate to siblings and loaned his sister money that he obtained from the trust brokerage account. Following Hyde's death, the circuit court supervising the trust ruled that: (1) the post-trust codicil did not modify the trust to conform to the codicil's dispositional provision bequeathing the stock to the siblings, (2) the trust should not be reformed to distribute the stock to the siblings, (3) the loan to the sister should be repaid to Hyde's estate rather than his trust, (4) the deeds conveying property to Hyde's siblings were delivered, and (5) the charities failed to meet their burden of proving that some of Hyde's dispositions were the result of undue influence. One of Hyde's siblings appeals the first three rulings, and the charities appeal the latter two rulings. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Donald Hyde died on December 19, 2011. He never married and had no children, but he had five siblings--James Hyde, Jesse Hyde Jr., Ann Laughlin, Mary Riley, and Wilma Van Order. Hyde was an extremely frugal man. Due to his frugality, he often engaged in estate planning without the use of an attorney. Hyde was, however, generous in giving to Baptist charities. During his life, he donated over $640,000 to Baptist Children's Home. He also provided for various Baptist organizations upon his death.

[¶3] On December 6, 1999, Hyde executed a will. The will specifically devised real property in Florida, Arizona, West Virginia, and South Dakota. Hyde's Florida property was to go to Citranell Baptist Church; his Arizona property was to go to his siblings; his Spearfish residence was to go to Dianna Keester; his Spearfish Creek property was to go to the First Baptist Church in Spearfish; and the residue of his estate was to go to the First Baptist Church of West Virginia (25%), to Baptist's Children's Home (50%), and to Shepherd's Ministries (25%). On August 15, 2003, Hyde prepared his first hand-written codicil. When Hyde died, these two documents were found together in an envelope that had the words " updated" and " outdated in 2006" written on it.

[¶4] In September 2006, Hyde had executed a revocable trust. The trust was prepared by Spearfish attorney Reed Richards to avoid probate. Richards testified that he explained the difference between a trust and a will to Hyde, and Richards gave Hyde a letter explaining the steps (like funding the trust) that were needed to make the trust effective. According ...


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