Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, TRIAL No.
McCaslin, Imbus and McCaslin and William M. Cussen, for
Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP, and Elizabeth E.W. Weinewuth,
Plaintiff-appellant Scott Hasselbring, appeals the May 31,
2018 judgment entry of the Hamilton County Court of Common
Pleas, which granted summary judgment to his sister and
defendant-appellee, Bonnie Bernard, the sole trustee of the
"June Hasselbring Living Trust." For the following
reasons, we affirm.
Hasselbring and Bernard are beneficiaries of the revocable
trust of their mother, June Hasselbring. Under the terms of
the trust, they will each receive an equal distribution of
the trust's assets upon their mother's death.
Concerned about mismanagement, Hasselbring sued Bernard for a
full report of the trust's assets. Hasselbring complained
that he, as a beneficiary, was entitled to information
pertaining to the trust property, liabilities, receipts, and
disbursements. Bernard prevailed on summary judgment by
arguing that as a trustee of a revocable trust she only owes
a duty to report information regarding the trust to the
settlor, her mother. In a single assignment of error,
Hasselbring argues that trial court erred in finding that he
was not entitled to the requested information.
Appellate review of a trial court's decision granting
summary judgment is de novo. Duell v. City of
Cincinnati, 2018-Ohio-4400, 122 N.E.3d 640, ¶ 3
(1st Dist.). Under Civ.R. 56(C), summary judgment is
appropriate when (1) there are no genuine issues of material
fact; (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law; and (3) when all evidence is construed in
favor of the nonmoving party, reasonable minds can come to
only one conclusion, and that conclusion is adverse to the
nonmoving party. Zivich v. Mentor Soccer Club, Inc.,
82 Ohio St.3d 367, 369-370, 696 N.E.2d 201 (1998).
The facts of this case are not in dispute. The only dispute
before us is a matter of law: whether a beneficiary of a
revocable trust is entitled to information concerning the
trust while the settlor of the trust is still living.
Trusts are governed by the Ohio Trust Code, R.C. Chapters
5801 to 5811. R.C. 5808.13, which is entitled "Keeping
beneficiaries informed - requests -required reports,"
generally requires trustees to keep beneficiaries of a trust
informed, fulfill requests for information concerning a
trust, and make required reports of the trust property.
R.C. 5808.13 provides, in relevant part:
(A) A trustee shall keep the current beneficiaries of the
trust reasonably informed about the administration of the
trust and of the material facts necessary for them to protect
their interests. Unless unreasonable under the circumstances,
a trustee shall promptly respond to a beneficiary's
request for information related to the administration of the
(C) A trustee of a trust that has a fiscal year ending on or
after January 1, 2007, shall send to the current
beneficiaries, and to other beneficiaries who request it, at
least annually and at the termination of the trust, a report
of the trust property, liabilities, receipts, and
disbursements, including the source and amount of the
trustee's compensation, a listing of the trust assets,
and, if feasible, the trust assets' respective market
In addition, R.C. 5808.13(G) provides:
During the lifetime of the settlor of a revocable trust,
whether or not the settlor has capacity to revoke the trust,
the trustee's duties under this section ...