Monday, November 11, 2013

Beals v. State Street Bank & Trust Co. case brief

Beals v. State Street Bank & Trust Co. case brief summary
326 N.E.2d 896 (1975)

Petitioner trustees sought a determination of the proper distribution to be made of a portion of a trust created under a residuary clause of a will establishing the trust. The Probate Court for the County of Norfolk (Massachusetts) reserved decision, and the case was transferred to the court.


The petition concerned the distribution of the trust portion held for the testator's daughter, who asked the trustees to exercise their discretionary power to make principal payments by transferring substantially all of her trust share to her family. She then executed an instrument that partially released her general power of appointment under the will of her father. When she died, it was thought that she did not expressly exercise her power of appointment under her father's will.


  • The court determined that the applicable law was that which governed the administration of the trust. 
  • It held that the residuary clause of the daughter's will should be presumed to have exercised the power of appointment based on the canons of construction applicable to general and special testamentary powers of appointment.


The court entered a decree determining that the decedent daughter did exercise the power of appointment partially released by an instrument given to her by the will of her father.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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