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Estate of Feinberg

Illinois Supreme Court
235 Ill. 2d 256, 335 Ill. Dec. 863, 919 N.E.2d 888 (2009)


Under Max Feinberg’s will, a trust was established for his wife, Erla’s, benefit. The terms of the trust directed that upon Erla’s death, half of the trust assets would remain in trust, to be used for their grandchildren’s benefit. However, under the trust terms, if any grandchild married a non-Jewish spouse, that grandchild would be considered deceased and would no longer benefit from the trust. The trust gave Erla a limited power of appointment to change the trust terms, as long as none of the remaindermen she named were deemed deceased under the original trust terms. Erla exercised her power of appointment and directed that $250,000 should be given, upon her death, to each of Max and Erla’s children, and to each of their grandchildren who were not deemed deceased under the original trust terms. When Erla died, four of her five grandchildren were deemed deceased under the terms of the trust because they had non-Jewish spouses. Erla and Max’s son, Michael (plaintiff), was the executor of his parents’ estates. Michele (defendant), one of the grandchildren who was deemed deceased, challenged the restrictions contained in the trust. The lower courts held that the trust’s beneficiary restriction was invalid as contrary to public policy, and Michael appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Garman, J.)

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