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Will of Carroll

Court of Appeals of New York
8 N.E.2d 864 (1937)


Facts

William Carroll’s will directed his assets to be placed into a trust for his wife’s benefit, and that upon her death the assets were to be placed in a trust for the benefit of his daughter, Elsa, for her lifetime. The will gave Elsa the power, by will, to dispose of the trust property to her children or any surviving relatives. In her will, Elsa left $250,000 to her cousin, Paul Curtis. The attorney who drafted Elsa’s will later drafted a letter from Curtis to Elsa, acknowledging the bequest and, in consideration of the bequest, promising to pay Elsa’s husband $100,000 from that bequest. Elsa’s husband was not a permissible appointee under the power of appointment granted by Carroll’s will. Curtis testified that he and Elsa came to this agreement about her husband before Elsa executed her will. The drafting attorney (plaintiff), who was the executor of Elsa’s will, petitioned the court to determine the effect of the provision for Elsa’s husband on Elsa’s bequest to Curtis. The lower court found that Curtis’s promise to Elsa constituted a fraud on the power of appointment, and voided Elsa’s bequest to Curtis. The Appellate Division found that Elsa intended to give $150,000 to Curtis and $100,000 to her husband, and voided only the $100,000 gift to the husband as an unlawful appointment.

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Holding and Reasoning (Hubbs, J.)

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