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Giving The Same Property Twice In A Will

February 25, 2015

Authors

Luke Lantta

Giving The Same Property Twice In A Will

February 25, 2015

by: Luke Lantta

There are clearer ways to create a life estate than what Hodge King used in his will.  The problem with Mr. King’s will was that he appeared to leave his real property to his wife, Mrs. King, in fee simple but then also appeared to leave that same property to his son and son’s children after Mrs. King’s death.  In Thompson v. Blackwell, the Georgia Supreme Court was tasked with interpreting Mr. King’s will to figure out what happens when you give the same piece of property to people, apparently to both in fee simple, in succession.

Let’s start where we always start: the language within the four corners of the will.  In Item II of his will, Mr. King provided:

I give, devise and bequeath to my wife, Hattie F. King, all my property, both real

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Language In Holographic Will Conveyed Property In Fee Simple – It Did Not Create A Condition Precedent Or A Testamentary Trust

January 5, 2012

Authors

Luke Lantta

Language In Holographic Will Conveyed Property In Fee Simple – It Did Not Create A Condition Precedent Or A Testamentary Trust

January 5, 2012

by: Luke Lantta

There isn’t some magic language necessary to create a trust.  Generally, all you need is an expressed intent to create a trust and some property.  Sure, trust codes and common law  require a trustee, trustee duties, and adherence to the rule against perpetuities, but you get the idea.  Nevertheless, there is always a surprising amount of litigation over whether certain language in a will or other document creates a trust.

In Estate of Brill, the Mississippi Supreme Court was tasked with construing some language in a holographic will to determine what, exactly, the testator meant by the language.  The question was whether the language conveyed property in fee simple, created a condition precedent or created a testamentary trust.

Let’s take a look at the contents of Bobbye N. Brill’s holographic will.

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Georgia Supreme Court Interprets “Per Stirpes” Language In Will

September 19, 2011

Authors

Luke Lantta

Georgia Supreme Court Interprets “Per Stirpes” Language In Will

September 19, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

Instead of making specific bequests of specific property to specific beneficiaries, testators often simply distribute their personal property “per stirpes” to a group of beneficiaries, such as their children or nephews and nieces.  In these circumstances, the executor is typically given discretion in how the property is divided so long as it is divided equally.  This distribution scheme is begging for a fight between siblings on who gets dad’s gun with the executor stuck in the middle.  Of course, conflict increases tenfold when the executor is one of the legatees who might receive the property.

In Stewart v. Ray, the Georgia Supreme Court had occasion to interpret language in a will that set up one of these distribution schemes and confirmed how we were all probably interpreting them anyway.

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