Cherniack v. Home Nat'l Bank and Trust Co.
Connecticut Supreme Court
198 A.2d 58 (1964)
Abraham and Rose Cherniack (plaintiff) married in 1943. In 1957, Abraham placed $200,000 representing all his assets into a revocable trust with the Home National Bank and Trust Company (defendant) as trustee. The trust provided that Abraham would receive the income for life and directed the trustee to distribute any remaining principal upon Abraham’s death to his brothers. Six days later, Abraham executed a will that gave Rose the use of their marital home for life, but gave the house to Abraham’s brothers upon Rose’s death and divided the remainder of Abraham’s estate one-third to Rose and two-thirds to his brothers. Abraham’s will also named the bank as executor. Shortly before he died, Abraham wrote a letter to his attorney explaining that he wanted most of his property to go to his brothers and their children, reducing the amount that he left his wife. Abraham did amend the trust once, but only to allow the trustee to pay additional support for Abraham if he became incapacitated and pay any legal obligation to support Rose during his life. Rose did not know about the trust or the will until Abraham passed away. After the will was admitted to probate, Rose petitioned the court to declare the trust agreement invalid and void, either as an attempted testamentary disposition or as a fraud on her rights to Abraham’s estate as his wife.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (King, J.)
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