Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shelley v. Shelley case brief

Shelley v. Shelley case brief summary
354 P.2d 282 (1960)

The Circuit Court, Multnomah County, Oregon, granted an injunction to plaintiff second wife restraining defendant trustee from disbursing any of the assets of a trust of which defendant ex-husband was a beneficiary. Defendant first wife also brought a garnishment proceeding against the trustee. The trustee, a bank, finally brought a bill of interpleader tendering to the court for disbursement all of the funds held in trust.


The ex-husband had disappeared and his location was not known at the time of the suit. The trust placed no conditions upon the right of the ex-husband to receive the trust income during his lifetime. 

  • The court held that public policy required that the interest of the beneficiary of a trust should be subject to the claims for support of his children. 
  • The court also held that the duty of the husband to support his former wife overrode the restriction called for by the spendthrift provision. 
  • The court held that the beneficiary's interest in the income of the trust was subject to the claims of the second wife for alimony and to the claims for the support of the ex-husband's children as provided for under both decrees for divorce. 
  • The court also held that the ex-husband's interest in the corpus was not made immune from the claims. 
  • However, by the terms of the trust, the disbursement of the corpus was within the discretion of the trustee, and therefore, the ex-husband's right to receive any part of the corpus did not arise until the trustee had exercised his discretion and had decided to invade the corpus.


The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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