Helping Families Flourish


Looking closer at one that went wrong – Spencer v. DiCola – Part 2

May 12, 2015 9:00 AM | Daniel P. Felix (Administrator)

Here's the viewpoint from the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory on one family who ended up in court against their trustee.    

In the case called Spencer v. DiCola, the family lost their several attempts to remove their trustee.

We’re taking a look at both the legal and practical lessons from a trust relationship that degenerated to the point of court hearing, appeal, and re-appeal.  

In Part 1 of our focus, we studied the facts, legal arguments and the courts’ decisions.   Here in Part 2 we look more closely at what we can learn about trust administration.

Part Two:  Administration and The Family

Executive Summary:

1)   The litigation was expensive, and could have been out of proportion to the size of the trust.

2)   To what extent could the lawsuits have been avoided through:

  a.    the development of a distribution policy statement for the limited funds in the trust?

b.   better communication through the down market?

c.    mediation as the family became increasingly alienated from the trustee?

Read all of Part 2 of our report here:  Spencer v. Di Cola -case analysis - PART 2.pdf

And, here’s Part 1 as well: Spencer v. Di Cola -case analysis - PART 1.pdf


The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory is also staffing a full day seminar using this lawsuit as a case study.   For more details of this offering from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, click here.

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