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Jenkins v. United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
428 F.2d 538 (1970)
When Ada Jenkins died, her will gave her sister, Martha Jenkins, a piece of real property to use or sell during Martha’s lifetime. If Martha died without selling the property, it would then go to another named recipient. Martha died 17 days after Ada without selling the property, and it went to the recipient named in Ada’s will. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (defendant) insisted that Martha’s estate pay taxes on the property because Martha had a general power of appointment over the property at the time of her death. Martha’s estate (plaintiff) paid approximately $27,000 in estate taxes on the property and then sued for a refund. The trial court found that Martha did not have an active general power of appointment at the time of her death because (1) Martha could transfer the property only while alive and not in her own will and (2) the power was never exercisable because Ada’s will was not probated before Martha’s death. Therefore, the trial court held that Martha did not owe estate taxes on the property. The IRS appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Goldberg, J.)
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