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Estate of Hamilton

Appellate Division of New York
190 A.D.2d 927 (1993)


Facts

Milton Hamilton executed a will in 1966 which transferred a portion of his estate into a trust for the benefit of his wife, Anita Hamilton. The will gave Anita a general power of appointment, which was to be exercised only by specific reference in Anita’s will to that power of appointment. If Anita failed to exercise the power of appointment, the remaining trust assets would pass to Milton’s daughters. Anita executed a will in 1967, which stated that the was exercising the power of appointment given to her in Milton’s 1966 will in favor of her son. Milton executed two more wills, in 1972 and 1982, both of which provided a power of appointment to Anita with the same requirement that it be exercised by specific reference in her will to that power. Both of Milton’s later wills revoked all prior wills. The petitioner  (plaintiff) brought an action to determine whether Anita had exercised her power of appointment, and Milton’s daughters and Anita’s son (defendants) responded. The lower court held that Anita had failed to exercise the general power of appointment given to her by Milton’s 1982 will, because her will did not make specific reference to the power provided in the 1982 will, and that the remainder of the trust therefore passed to Milton’s daughters. Anita’s son appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Crew, J.)

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