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Holmes v. Conn. Tr. & Safe Deposit Co. - 92 Conn. 507, 103 A. 640 (1918)

Rule:

A testator has the right to impose such conditions as he pleases upon a beneficiary as conditions precedent to the vesting of an estate in him, or to the enjoyment of a trust estate by him as cestui que trust. He may not, however, impose one that is uncertain, unlawful, or opposed to public policy.

Facts:

The will at issue was left by a testator, who bequeathed his farm to his son. If the son neglected to comply with certain conditions, including abstention from tobacco and liquor, the farm was to be sold by the trustee and the proceeds added to trust property. In the event of the son's death, the income of the trust was to be divided between the son's two children, under the same conditions. The son survived the testator, and, upon his death, the executor of the testator's will demanded from the trustee the principal of the trust fund. The trustee filed suit, and the trial court reserved the case and propounded questions to the court.

Issue:

Was the trust subsisting, and if it was, were the conditions prescribed in the will valid?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the trust committed to the trustee was a subsisting one since the testator's intent in the bequest to the son's children was to provide for the contingency of the son's death whenever it occurred. The Court further ruled that the conditions prescribed by the will as prerequisites of the receipt of income were valid insofar as they are made dependent upon the conduct of the son's children, but were void as to their spouses.

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