Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bellows v. Page case brief

Bellows v. Page case brief summary
88 N.H. 283, 188 A. 12 (1936)

-The Petitioner is a beneficiary under two wills: one her father’s, the other being her aunt’s. 
-The father left all his property to his wife and petitioner half held in trust by wife with power to use it for the daughter’s maintenance. 
-The aunt left a one quarter interest to the petitioner, to be held in trust by the mother. 
-The petitioner was a minor child at the time and after the drafting of the wills, the petitioner's mother died.  
-The defendant, Page, is her successor as trustee.

Procedural History:
-Petition for declaratory judgment by petitioner, Bellows against the defendant, Page, the trustee.  -The case was transferred to Supreme Court of N.H.
-The Supreme Court of N.H. discharged case until further proceeding were held by trial court.

-Did the father’s will created a valid trust?
-Did the aunt’s will created a valid trust?
-If either is valid, have they been terminated, and if so, what are the plaintiff's rights to the trust funds?

Holding: The trust created by the will of Petitioner's aunt is executed and the petitioner is entitled to full legal title to all property held by the defendant trustee.
Rule: The beneficiaries of a trust, if all consent and none are under an incapacity, can compel the trust’s termination if the continuance of the trust is not necessary to carry out a material purpose of the trust, although a fixed period has not expired.

-The aunt’s will imposed no duties on the trustee, no discretionary power, and no action was required by the petitioner's mother to effectuate any purpose of the testatrix.
-The will created a Use or a passive trust which is governed by the Statute of Uses. 
-The Statute of Uses applies only to trust created on freehold interests in land, however where the aunt’s will does not indicate whether real property, personal property, or both, it is not impossible for the court to dispose of the case. 
-Modern courts execute passive trusts of personalty either by analogy to the Statute of Use or on the theory that any trust without a purpose is automatically executed.
-The Statute of Uses was passed before the American Revolution and it is susceptible to judicial change.
-The trust of the father does not fall under the Statute of Uses. 
-The words used are insufficient to create a spendthrift trust, but they do impose active duties on the trustee.
-It is an active trust and as such it is not executed under the statute of uses.
-The will gives the beneficiary full equitable title to the trust fund, for life and in remainder. 
-She is the only person with an interest in it -- she is the sole owner. 
-The rule regarding the termination of the trust cannot be applied until after the facts constituting further evidence are determined by the trial court.

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