Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Abrams v. Templeton case brief

Abrams v. Templeton case brief summary
465 S.E.2d 117 (1995)

Appellant testator's daughter's children sought review of a judgment of a circuit court in Laurens County (South Carolina), which modified the testator's will so that her grant to respondent testator's son's children would not violate the rule against perpetuities.

The testator had two children. Her will left half of her land to her daughter's children and the other half to her husband for life and then to her son for life, to his children for life, and to their children. The son had nine children, four of whom died childless. The daughter's children argued that because four of the son's children died childless, they should have received a portion of their share rather than it all going to the other five children's children.


  • The court affirmed the judgment modifying the will so as not to violate the rule against perpetuities. 
  • The court held that S.C. Code Ann. § 27-6-60(B) (Law. Co-op 1991) directed the trial judge to reform the disposition by inserting a savings clause that preserved most closely a transferor's plan of distribution and that brought that plan within the limits of the rule against perpetuities. 
  • The court found that a common sense reading of the provision dealing with the tract showed the testator's intent to create successive life estates in her son and his children with the remainder over to their children. 
  • Clearly the testator wanted this tract to stay with that branch of the family and not to include the daughter's branch.
The court further modified the decedent's will so that it would not violate the rule against perpetuities and as modified, affirmed.

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