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Clark v. Campbell

New Hampshire Supreme Court
133 A. 166 (1926)


Facts

Reasoning that his “trustees” were “competent by reason of familiarity with the property, my wishes and friendships, to wisely distribute” his personal property, the testator bequeathed in the ninth clause of his will all of his personal property to his trustees to be distributed “to such of my friends as they, my trustees, shall select.” While the will enumerated a list of examples of personal property to be distributed, it did not indicate any specific intended beneficiaries other than the “friends” to whom the trustees were to distribute these items “by the way of a memento from myself.” The will further provided that any property not distributed by the trustees to the testator’s friends was to be distributed as part of the residue of his estate. A question arose before the court of whether the testator’s bequest to his “friends” failed for lack of certainty in defining the beneficiaries of the trust that the terms of his will seemed to establish. The New Hampshire Supreme Court addressed the following arguments: (1) that the ninth clause of the testator’s will made an outright gift to the trustees rather than establishing a trust and (2) alternatively, that the ninth clause granted the trustees an optional power to distribute the property as they chose.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Snow, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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