Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

Walker v. Walker

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
744 N.E.2d 60 (2001)


Donald Walker created a revocable trust, which provided that, upon his death, the trust property was to pass to one of three trusts: a general marital trust, a special marital trust, and a nonmarital deduction trust. The general marital trust and special marital trust were to be funded only to the extent necessary to minimize federal estate taxes. However, Donald’s estate was not large enough for estate taxes to apply, and all of the estate passed into the nonmarital deduction trust. The nonmarital deduction trust gave Donald’s wife Virginia, as trustee, the power to make discretionary payments of principal to herself, as beneficiary. Upon Virginia’s death, any remaining trust principal was to be paid to Donald’s issue. After Donald’s death, Virginia became the sole trustee, and appointed Rockland Trust Company (trust company) as co-trustee. Virginia and the trust company (trustees) (plaintiffs) brought suit against the identifiable beneficiaries (defendants) to seek reformation of the trust, arguing that the trust failed to accomplish Donald’s goals because the provision giving Virginia a general power of appointment was included by mistake. The attorney who drafted the trust submitted an affidavit stating that Donald’s and the attorney’s intent was to draft the nonmarital deduction trust in such a way that the trust property would not be included in Virginia’s gross estate. The trustees request reformation of the trust to include an ascertainable standard that limits Virginia’s power as trustee to make payments to herself as beneficiary, which would negate any general power of appointment Virginia has.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 509,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 509,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial