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In re Estate of Carter

760 N.E.2d 1171 (2002)

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In re Estate of Carter

Indiana Court of Appeals

760 N.E.2d 1171 (2002)

Facts

James Carter died before his wife, Lucile Clark. James’s will put property in a trust, with Lucile as a lifetime beneficiary. The trust’s property included a specific 16.19-acre parcel. James’s will also gave Lucile a power of appointment to distribute the trust’s assets through her own will to Robert Carter, Anne Carter, Junior Brownfield, or Virgie Brownfield (plaintiffs). This power of appointment had a specific-reference requirement, which required Lucile to specifically refer to the power when exercising it. At Lucile’s death, her will left the trust’s 16.19-acre parcel to Junior and Virgie Brownfield. However, the will did not specify that Lucile was exercising any power of appointment to accomplish this gift, let alone a specific power. Lucile’s estate (plaintiff) asked the court to determine whether the will’s gift of the property to the Brownfields was a valid exercise of Lucile’s power of appointment. The court determined that Lucile had clearly intended to exercise her power to appoint the trust’s property because she had given the trust’s property, the 16.19-acre parcel, to permitted appointees, the Brownfields. Therefore, even though Lucile had not expressly identified the gift as an exercise of her power of appointment, Lucile had validly exercised the power by using other language to convey her intent to exercise that specific power. Roger Carter (defendant) objected to the court’s finding and appealed. On appeal, Roger argued that Lucile could exercise the power of appointment only by expressly stating that she was doing exactly that and, therefore, that Lucile’s will had not validly appointed the 16.19-acre parcel to the Brownfields.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Garrard, J.)

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