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In re Howard Marshall Charitable
Louisiana Supreme Court
709 So. 2d 662 (1998)
Howard Marshall was a wealthy individual who lived in Texas. Before he died, Marshall transferred all of his personal assets into two trusts, a living trust and a charitable trust. Marshall was an income beneficiary of both trusts. The charitable trust included a provision that the assets that remained in the trust after Marshall’s death would be distributed to Haverford College, George School, and Yale University (the schools) (defendants). The trust documents provided that the corpus was to be distributed according to a set proportion but that any outstanding charitable pledges made by Marshall to each institution would be satisfied first before the proportional distribution was calculated. After Marshall’s death, the trustee of the charitable trust, Finley Hilliard (plaintiff) began the process of distributing the corpus of the trust. Both George School and Haverford College claimed that Marshall had made large charitable pledges that were outstanding, but these pledges exceeded the corpus of the trust. Hilliard filed a petition for instruction in state court, asserting that the trust was not legally bound to fulfill the claimed pledges and that the corpus of the trust should be distributed according to the proportional allotment. George School and Haverford College asserted that the pledges were valid and must be paid by the trust and that they reserved the right to enforce any pledges unpaid by the trust against Marshall’s estate. Hilliard and Marshall’s son, as coexecutors of Marshall’s estate, filed a petition for succession of the estate in Louisiana, where the trusts resided. Haverford College and George School both filed exceptions for a lack of jurisdiction to open the succession for the estate in Louisiana, because Marshall had been a Texas resident. The lower court denied the exception to jurisdiction, and the court of appeal affirmed the denial. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted George School’s writ of certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Knoll, J.)
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