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Delaware Trust Co. v. Bradford

59 A.2d 212 (1948)

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Delaware Trust Co. v. Bradford

Delaware Court of Chancery

59 A.2d 212 (1948)

Facts

Edward Bradford created a testamentary trust that was intended to provide income to his wife, Helen Bradford (defendant), during her lifetime and, after Helen’s death, to donate the remaining principal to Yale College. Delaware Trust Company (trustee) (plaintiff) was appointed as the trustee. When Edward died, the trust contained a piece of property that did not produce any income. However, the property had appreciation potential. The trustee held on to the property for approximately 20 years even though it never produced income and occasionally had expenses. When the trustee sold the property, it had appreciated significantly, and the sale generated a net profit of around $18,500. The trust documents did not provide any instructions for allocating sale proceeds from unproductive trust property. The trustee asked the Delaware Court of Chancery whether to allocate the sale profit to the trust’s principal or to distribute it as income. The trustee determined that the current rate of return on trust investments was 3.7 percent.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Seitz, J.)

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