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Loring v. Marshall

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
484 N.E.2d 1315 (1985)


Facts

Marian Hovey’s will left the residue of her estate in trust. The trust income was paid in equal shares to her brother and sister, and solely to her sister for life upon her brother’s death. Upon her sister’s death, the income was paid to her two nephews in equal shares, and when one of her nephews died with no spouse or children, the other nephew, Cabot Jackson Morse, who was married and had one child, became the last surviving income beneficiary under Hovey’s will. The will also granted each of her nephews a special power to appoint his share of the trust to his “wife and issue,” payable upon the death of the last surviving income beneficiary with the restriction that the surviving wife could only receive the income for life. If either nephew died without a surviving wife or issue who could be appointees in his will, then the whole trust would be paid to the appointees in the other nephew’s will. However, if both nephews died without a surviving wife or issue, the trust was to be paid in equal shares, with certain restrictions to three charitable organizations. Cabot Jackson Morse (Morse Sr.) failed to fully exercise his power of appointment in his will. Although his son, Cabot Jackson Morse, Jr. (Morse Jr.) survived him and was the sole surviving potential appointee of the trust principal, Morse, Sr.’s will appointed the income to his wife, Anna Braden Morse, but made no appointment of the trust principal. Since the Supreme Judicial Court had determined in a previous ruling that the trust principal was not payable to the charities, the trustees sought instructions when the principal became distributable upon Anna Braden Morse’s death. The trustees asked the court whether the trust principal should be distributed to Morse, Jr., Anna Braden Morse’s estate, the intestate heirs of Hovey’s estate, the charities, or another distribution. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard the matter on reservation and report by a single justice of that court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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