Login

Login

To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library

Add

Search

Login
Register

Morse v. Blood

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff’s husband passed away, leaving Plaintiff a will, granting her his entire estate. In the will, there was a condition, which forbid Plaintiff from giving or bequeathing “one cent” of the estate to any of her family members or to any of Henry’s family members. Plaintiff’s husband’s heirs, Defendants, claim they have a right to the estate. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant. The trial court sustained Plaintiff’s objection to the defendants’ answer, and defendants appealed.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    When a condition on a will prevents the beneficiary from leaving property to any relative of the beneficiary or the testator, the condition constitutes an impermissible restraint on alienation.

    Facts.

    When Henry Blood, Jr. passed away, he left a will granting his entire estate to his wife, Margaret E. Blood, Plaintiff. In the estate, there were several parcels of land. Further, in the will, there was a provision that prohibited Plaintiff from giving or bequeathing “one cent” of the estate to any of her family members or to any of Henry’s family members. Henry’s heirs, Defendants, contend that they have a right to the estate. Plaintiff initiated this action to determine the defendants’ claims. The defendants’ filed an answer asserting their right to the estate, based on Plaintiffs violation of the condition in the will. The trial court sustained an objection to the defendants’ answer, and defendants appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether a condition constitutes an impermissible restraint on alienation when a condition on a will prevents the beneficiary from leaving property to any relative of the beneficiary or the testator.

    Held.

    Yes, a condition constitutes an impermissible restraint on alienation when a condition on a will prevents the beneficiary from leaving property to any relative of the beneficiary or the testator.

    Discussion.

    When a condition on a will prevents the beneficiary from leaving property to any relative of the beneficiary or the testator, the condition constitutes an impermissible restraint on alienation. Further, a condition that results in alienationconstitutes a violation of the law and public policy. Also, certain conditions on alienation, even when the condition is only enforceable upon particular classes of individuals, maystill result in a substantial prohibition on all alienation. Conditions that form the risk of forfeiture confine fee-simple titles, prohibit the development and appropriate use of land, and constrain the country’s growth. Additionally, the rule against perpetuities is founded upon the same policy objectives. In this case, the estate encompasses several parcels of land. If the condition in the Henry’s will is deemed to be valid, then a person unrelated to Plaintiff or the testator who buys one of the parcels may be obligatory to forfeit the parcel upon Plaintiff’s breach of the condition. Plaintiff could simply breach the condition by giving a family member a meal from one of the parcels. Thus, Plaintiff would be obligated to give up her interest in the estate, as well as the portions of the estate conveyed to the non-family member. Consequently, a purchaser would not purchase the land under these conditions. Precedent establishes that a condition is void if it results in a complete restrain on the alienation of a fee-simple title for a long period of time. In this case, the Henry’s will’s condition is an issue because it restrains alienation and it is internally inconsistent. If Plaintiff acts in a manner that breaches the condition, the property will vest in Defendants. If Plaintiff dies intestate, the property will vest in her heirs. Overall, both circumstance create a result, which is precisely what the condition is seeking to prevent. Therefore, the condition is void as a violation of public policy, and the trial court’s finding is affirmed. 


    Create New Group

      Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following