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Harris Trust and Savings Bank v. Beach

Supreme Court of Illinois
513 N.E.2d 833 (1987)


Facts

Prior to marrying, Frank Hixon created a trust (defendant) for his fiancée, Alice Green. The trust stated that if Ms. Green survived Mr. Hixon, the trust would be paid to Mr. Hixon’s heirs upon Ms. Green’s death. If Mr. Hixon survived Ms. Green, the trust would revert to Mr. Hixon. After marrying, a second trust with similar terms was created. Mr. Hixon died in 1931. At the time of his death, Mr. Hixon was survived by his two daughters, and his three grandchildren. Ms. Green died fifty-one years later. Upon Ms. Green’s death, only two of Mr. Hixon’s grandchildren (plaintiffs) were alive. A dispute subsequently arose over who was to be considered an heir according to the trust. If the heirs were to be those existing at Mr. Hixon’s death, the trust would be divided equally between his two children. Since one of his children never had children, her share would be paid out through her estate. This would result in the trust being paid out to several charities. Mr. Hixon’s grandchildren brought this suit, alleging that the trust was intended to be paid to his heirs at the time of Ms. Green’s death. The trial and appellate courts determined that the heirs according to the trust would be those heirs of Mr. Hixon at this death. Mr. Hixon’s grandchildren petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court of Illinois.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Simon, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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