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Levin v. Fisch

Texas Court of Appeals
404 S.W.2d 889 (1966)


Facts

Bertha Cohen executed a will, which gave the residue of her estate to her children, Suzanne Cohen Levin and Jay Cohen. The will also stated that it was Bertha’s desire that her children pay $2,400 to Bertha’s sister, Laura Fisch, every year out of the revenues of Bertha’s estate property, for the remainder of Laura’s life or until she married. At the time she executed the will Bertha had a substantial amount of assets, while Laura had very few assets and little income. Bertha’s children had recently inherited a substantial sum from their father. In the years leading up to her death, Bertha made regular monthly payments to Laura, and made other gifts of clothing and money to Laura and Laura’s daughter. After Bertha’s death, Laura (plaintiff) brought suit against Bertha’s children (defendants), who were the executors of Bertha’s will, claiming an interest in Bertha’s estate. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Laura. Bertha’s children appealed, arguing that the phrase “it is my desire” in the will did not create a bequest or a mandatory obligation on them to make an annual gift to Laura, and that if Bertha had intended to give Laura a right to the annual revenues from the estate property, she could have directed her children to make such a distribution in their capacity as executors.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Collings, J.)

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