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Brown v. Independent Baptist Church
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
91 N.E.2d 922 (1950)
Sarah Converse died in 1849. Converse’s will left land to the Independent Baptist Church of Woburn so long as it continued to operate as a church on the land. The will stated that if the church ceased operations, the land should pass to Converse’s other legatees (i.e., the legatees other than the church) (other legatees). The will also left the residue of Converse’s estate to her other legatees. After the church ceased to operate as a church in 1939, a petition was filed to determine the proper owner of the land. A single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the gift over to the other legatees failed on account of the rule against perpetuities. The justice also held that Converse’s residuary clause in favor of the other legatees was invalid for the same reason. Accordingly, the justice held that the land should go to Converse’s heirs. Converse’s other legatees appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Qua, C.J.)
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