Trust excluded grandson plans appeal

BY STACI WILSON

The attempt by three adult grandchildren to block the distribution of their grandmother’s trust they were excluded from was denied by a court order issued Aug. 25.

Objections to the final accounting of Bernice Price’s ‘Snow Hollow Trust’ were raised by Craig Stevens, Mark Stevens and Laurie Strawn. The three are the children of Lloyd Stevens, Price’s son.

Craig Stevens said he plans to appeal the decision. His siblings will be listed but he will be pursuing the appeal on his own, he said on Friday.

He said several key witnesses, including attorneys who were involved with the Price and Lloyd Stevens’ estates; refused subpoenas to appear in court.

Stevens also said he would be representing himself on the appeal. He said his attorney for the objection, Patrick Coleman, did not present all of the key evidence in the case.

Stevens said Coleman “just didn’t get done what I wanted him to get into the court.”

“It’s not about the money. It’s about my father and representing his interests,” Stevens said.

The case was presented in court on Aug. 10 with Craig Stevens arguing Price had not been fully informed before making the 2008 changes that eliminated him as a beneficiary.

The ‘Snow Hollow Trust’ created by Bernice Price in 1994 was changed several times with the final change being made in June 2008. Price died Jan. 21, 2010.

A restatement of the trust made by Price in June 2008, removed Lloyd Stevens, who died in 2007, as a beneficiary.

A paragraph was also added at that time that specifically excluded Lloyd’s three children by name from the trust.

President Judge Kenneth Seamans also ordered that trust holder, Pennstar Bank, is permitted to distribute the trust property as directed in the June 2008 restatement.

The five-page opinion rendered by Judge Seamans noted the three grandchildren did not prove Price was subjected to any undue influence regarding changes to the trust by her surviving children, Wayne Stevens and Eloise Krogh.

Judge Seamans also stated in the opinion that no medical evidence and testimony was given that described Price’s physical or mental condition before, during or after the trust was restated.

The judged also wrote: “Additionally, there has been no clear and convincing evidence of fraud presented.”

“Instead… the Objectors (Craig and Wayne Stevens, Laurie Strawn) in this case have relied on nothing more than the limply supported assertions by the Objector, Mr. (Craig) Stevens, himself,” the judge continued.