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In re Estate of Houston

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
201 A.2d 592 (1964)


Henry F. Houston died intestate on June 21, 1895. His will, drafted with the help of his attorney, stated that the remainder of the net income of his estate would be paid out to his wife and children equally. It further stated that “On the death of my last surviving child, I direct the whole of the principal of the trust estate shall be distributed in equal portions to and among my grandchildren.” After the last of Houston’s children passed, an action was brought by Houston’s grandchildren to determine whether the gift mentioned above vested upon the birth of each grandchild, or was contingent upon the grandchild being alive at the time all of Houston’s children passed. If the gift vested upon birth, the gift would be split into twelve equal parts, to account for deceased grandchildren. If it was contingent, it would only be split into nine equal parts. The court below ruled that the gift vested upon the birth of Houston’s grandchildren.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bell, C.J.)

Dissent (Roberts, J.)

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