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Commissioner v. Estate of Bosch

387 U.S. 456 (1967)

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Commissioner v. Estate of Bosch

United States Supreme Court

387 U.S. 456 (1967)

Facts

In 1930, Bosch created a revocable trust, with payment of the trust corpus to his wife (Mrs. Bosch) for her lifetime. The trust gave Mrs. Bosch a general power of appointment. In 1951, Mrs. Bosch transformed her general power of appointment into a special power of appointment. In 1957, Bosch died. When paying federal estate taxes, the executor of Bosch’s estate (plaintiff) claimed a marital tax deduction in the amount of the value of Mrs. Bosch’s trust. The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (defendant) ruled that the trust corpus did not qualify for the marital deduction because of the transformation of Mrs. Bosch’s general power of appointment into a special power of appointment. The executor claimed that the transformation was invalid, which would enable the trust to qualify for the deduction and appealed the IRS decision to federal tax court. While the appeal was pending, the executor petitioned the New York Supreme Court for an accounting of the trust. This state court held that Mrs. Bosch’s transformation of the power of appointment was invalid. As a result, the federal tax court held that the state court’s judgment on the issue was final and thus the trust corpus qualified for the marital deduction. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clark, J.)

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