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Brokaw v. Fairchild

    Citation237 N.Y.S. 6
    237 N.Y.S. 6

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff brought an action for a declaration and judgment granting him the authority to build an apartment building, despite the objections of the remaindermen.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A life tenant cannot use his land in a manner that causes permanent injury to the inheritance.

    Facts.

    A testator passed away, leaving a life estate in the residence to four remaindermen. Plaintiff Brokaw who was the first remaindermen took possession that year. Plaintiff made plans to tear down the residence and construct an apartment building in its place, estimating it would make him a $30,000 profit instead of the annual loss he had sustained maintaining the residence. Plaintiff brought an action for a declaration and judgment granting him the authority to build an apartment building, despite the objections of the remaindermen.

    Issue.

    Whether a life tenant cannot use his land in a manner that causes permanent injury to the inheritance.

    Held.

    No.

    Discussion.

    In this case, the will the testator repeatedly referred to the property as his “residence,” but if plaintiff turns the residence into an apartment building, it would result in waste. Therefore, the residence would not be delivered to the remaindermen upon termination.


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