Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wilber v. Owens case brief

Wilber v. Owens case brief summary
65 A.2d 843

CASE SYNOPSIS: Defendant trustees appealed a final decree of the former Court of Chancery (New Jersey), finding that even though decedent testator's express purpose in creating a trust was impossible, his general intent rendered the trust a charitable one, in complainant executor's action to construe the last will of decedent.

FACTS: Decedent testator purported to create a charitable trust to publish his manuscript, but when complainant executor filed for a construction of the will, the lower court held that the manuscript was irrational, unintelligible, and of no scientific or other value. It decreed that the express purpose of the trust created by the will was impossible, but that the general intent was a charitable one.

Defendant trustees appealed, and the appellate court found that decedent's dominant purpose in creating the trust was the devotion of his property to uses that were charitable.

Thus, the bequest was for research in the sciences of philosophy and metaphysics for the ultimate good of mankind, and this was a charitable use wholly devoid of the element of illegality, immorality, or absurdity, even though the matter provided by decedent was without scientific or other value. Hence, the appellate court affirmed the lower court's holding that the trust created by decedent's will was a charitable one.

CONCLUSION: The appellate court affirmed the lower court's holding that decedent testator's intent in creating the trust was a charitable one even though his express purpose was impossible. The court held that the construction of the will, as requested by complainant executor and contested by defendant trustees, was proper.

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