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First National Bank of Chicago v. King

Illinois Supreme Court
651 N.E.2d 127 (1995)


Facts

Louis Swift’s will established a trust, with the proceeds to be paid to his daughter-in-law, Lydia Niblack Swift (Niblack), the widow of Louis’s deceased son Alden Swift. The will stated that if Niblack died prior to the trust’s termination, the proceeds should go to the “lawful descendants” of Alden and Niblack in equal shares per stirpes. Alden and Niblack had three children, Lydia, Nathan, and Narcissa. Nathan predeceased Niblack, leaving a biological son, Nathan Jr., and an adopted daughter, Martha (defendant). After Niblack’s death, trust proceeds were paid to Lydia, Narcissa, and Nathan Jr. Martha requested that the trustee, First National Bank of Chicago (trustee) (plaintiff), pay her as a beneficiary to the trust. The trustee refused to pay any of the corpus to Martha, deciding that because she was adopted, she did not qualify as a lawful descendant of Alden and Niblack. The trustee brought suit for a declaratory judgment on that issue. The circuit court found in favor of the trustee. The appellate court reversed. The trustee appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harrison, J.)

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