The terms of the conveyance specifically stated that if the parcels were no longer used for this purpose the trustees were to convey the land back to the grantor or his heirs or their assigns. The Boy Scout Troop disbanded and its successor in interest, as well as the trustees, brought suit to quiet title to the parcels.
Issue: Do the words “so long as” used in the conveyance necessarily indicate that the trustees held title in fee simple determinable or is there a possibility that they held title in fee simple absolute despite the phrasing of the document?
Rule: Generally the words “so long as” are interpreted as creating a fee simple determinable but the particular terms of a conveyance cannot stand on their own and must be interpreted in light of the general purposes of the instrument as a whole.City Bank & Trust Co. Morrissey (1983)
Facts: A testamentary trust gave the trustee discretion to distribute it in kind or after a cash conversion to the beneficiary’s heirs at law following the beneficiary’s death. The defendant contended that the trustee’s power to convert the assets resulted in creating two estates of unequal kind, realty and personalty, and that therefore, the Rule in Shelley’s Case is inapplicable.Issue 1: Does the discretionary power of a trustee to distribute assets in kind or in cash effect an equitable conversion triggering the Rule in Shelley’s Case?Rule 1: To effect an equitable conversion, the trustee must be mandated to convert the assets.