Brief Fact Summary. Allen created a will that disposed of property to her living brother and sisters.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In the absence of ambiguity, courts will construe a will based on the expressed language used in the will.
In the absence of ambiguity, we must construe the will based on the express language used.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the words in a will, “to my living brothers and sisters: John Allen Claude Allen, Lewis Allen, Lera Talley, and Juanita Jordan, to share and share alike..”, create a class gift or a survivorship interest?
Held. The phrase created a survivorship interest because the testator used the phrase “share and share alike” which is not relevant if the gift was a class gift?
Discussion. In upholding the testator’s intent, the court strongly prefers interpreting a will based on its face value rather than inferring an intent that would go against the face of the will. If the court determined that the deceased made a class gift, a great amount of her estate would have passed to parties not named in the will.