Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shapira v. Union National Bank case brief

Shapira v. Union National Bank case brief summary

decedent’s will said that P, his son, could only inherit if he was married to a Jewish girl whose parents were both Jewish at the date of decedent’s death or within 7 years thereafter. P was a 21 year old college student.

ISSUE: is a partial restraint on a marriage in a will a violation of the constitutionally protected right to marry? >>>NO<<<

ISSUE: is a partial restraint on marriage which imposes only reasonable restrictions valid and not contrary to public policy? >>>YES<<<

- Constitutional argument: while the right to marry is a const protected right, there is no state action present here which would trigger DP14 or EP. The court is not being asked, like in Shelley, to enforce any restriction on P’s const right to marry. Rather, the court is being asked to enforce the testator’s restriction upon his son’s inheritance. It is a fundamental rule of law that a testator may legally, entirely disinherit his kids. This would seem to demonstrate, that from a const standpoint, a testator may restrict a kid’s inheritance. Not a const violation because the decedent never said that P could not get married, the decedent never took away the P’s fundamental right to marry. It was a limitation only if the P wanted to get the $ that his dad said he could have if he got married to a Jew. Therefore this was not a limit on the P’s const rights. It was called a partial restriction on marriage.

- Public policy argument: pp does not prohibit a limited restriction on the right to marry restricted to members of one religion. A partial restraint on marriage which imposes reasonable restrictions is not void as violative of pp.

1. P asserts that the # of jewish females in this country would be a small minority compared to the entire population of jewish women. The court did not accept this because the P was not confined to this country.

2. P asserts that this condition may encourage P to marry for the $ then divorce. Court did not accept this – surely the son should not gain the advantage of the avoidance of the restriction by the possibility of his own impropriety.

3. P asserts that 7 years is not enough time to mature and reflect, and he would jeopardize his college education. Court said no, it seems a reasonable time period.

- It is the duty of the court to honor the testator’s intentions within the limitations of the law and pp. The ded’s prerogative to dispose of his estate according to his conscience is entitled to as much judicial protection and enforcement as the prerogative of the benefit to receive the inheritance.

- The dead hand did continue to rule in this case. These type of provisions only cause bitterness and distrust, you should avoid these at all costs. However, the biggest problem here is a change in circumstance, like can conversion be considered Jewish?

- Another problem that arises is about what decedants can and cannot do. Remember that it is against pp to keep property out of commerce. There is an economic burden that should not be allowed after death.

-Note 1: restatement of property 2nd.: restraint to induce a person to marry within a religious faith is valid if and only if under the circumstances, the restraint does not unreasonably limit the transferee’s opportunity to marry.

-Comment a to section 6.2.:the restraint unreasonably limits the transferee’s opportunity to marry if a marriage permitted by the restraint is not likely to occur. This likelihood is a factual question (case based). The motive or purpose of the testator is irrelevant.

-Provisions encouraging separation or divorce have usually been held invalid, however, provisions requiring a beneficiary to change his name have usually been upheld unless the dominant purpose is to separate the beneficiary from his family.

See also: http://www.lawschoolcasebriefs.net/2013/11/shapira-v-union-national-bank-case-brief.html

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1 comment:

  1. See Also: http://www.lawschoolcasebriefs.net/2013/11/shapira-v-union-national-bank-case-brief.html


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