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Trammell v. Elliott

230 Ga. 841, 199 S.E.2d 194 (1973)

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Trammell v. Elliott

Georgia Supreme Court

230 Ga. 841, 199 S.E.2d 194 (1973)

Facts

Clem Boyd’s will established scholarship trust funds at the Georgia Institute of Technology and two private universities to benefit “poor white boys and girls.” The trustees could use only interest to provide scholarships, but they could give preference to descendants of Boyd’s parents and pay them up to $500 annually from principal for college. Boyd did not specify that the trustees could administer the trust only in the manner described, nor did she include a reverter clause or gift over if the grant failed. Instead, Boyd said adults did not need her life savings and that she wanted to benefit children needing education. Other parts of the will indicated Boyd did not want any provision to fail and included reverter clauses. The Georgia attorney general conceded a state interest because the Georgia Institute of Technology is a publicly funded university, and so the racial restriction violated equal protection. Boyd’s executor (plaintiff) brought suit asking the court to construe the will and provide direction. The court applied the cy pres doctrine to remove the racial restriction and entered summary judgment upholding the trust as otherwise written. The executors of the estate of one of Boyd’s heirs appealed, arguing the trust should fail and the funds revert to Boyd’s heirs.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hawes, J.)

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