Friday, September 21, 2012

Shapira v. Union National Bank case brief

Shapira v. Union National Bank
39 Ohio Misc. 28, 315 N.E.2d 825 (Com. Pl. 1974)

FACTSDavid Shapira, M.D., the testator, conditioned his son, Daniel Jacob Shapira, (P), inheritance under his will upon Plaintiff being married to, or marrying within seven years of testator’s death, a Jewish girl with two Jewish parents.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the condition was unconstitutional, based upon the premise that the right to marry is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

ISSUE
-Is a condition upon inheritance, based on marriage, unconstitutional, contrary to public policy, and unenforceable because of its unreasonableness?

HOLDING
-No.
-Upholding and enforcing the provisions of the decedent’s will conditioning the bequests to his sons upon their marrying Jewish girls does not offend the Constitution of Ohio or the United States.
-The conditions contained in decedent’s will are reasonable restrictions. His unmistakable testamentary plan was for his possessions to be used to encourage the preservation of the Jewish faith.
-The condition did not pressure plaintiff into marriage by the reward of money because the seven year time limit is a reasonable grace period, which would give plaintiff ample time for reflection and fulfillment of the condition without constraint or oppression.

RULES-A gift conditioned upon the beneficiary marrying within a particular religious class or faith is reasonable.

ANALYSIS
-It is a fundamental rule of law in Ohio that a testator may legally disinherit his children. This demonstrates that, from a constitutional standpoint, a testator may restrict a child’s inheritance.

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