Wills, Trusts and Estates – Part 2

Church Law and Tax 1989-05-01 Recent Developments Wills, Trusts, and Estates Richard R. Hammar, J.D.,

Church Law and Tax 1989-05-01 Recent Developments

Wills, Trusts, and Estates

A Louisiana state appeals court refused to recognize a provision in a last will and testament that attempted to bequeath the decedent’s home to a church. The will left the decedent’s home to a sister, and then provided that “in the event of my sister’s death after mine … I do hereby bequeath said residence to the First Presbyterian Church” (of which the decedent had been a member). The court observed that “it is apparent that although the decedent intended to donate property to the church, she clearly attempted to do so in a prohibited fashion.” The court quoted Article 1520 of the Louisiana Code in support of its ruling: “Substitutions are and remain prohibited …. Every disposition not in trust by which the donee, the heir, or the legatee is charged to preserve for and to return a thing to a third person is null, even with regard to the donee, the instituted heir, or the legatee.” The contested will provision, concluded the court, was “an attempt by the decedent to give ownership to one, to have and to hold for a lifetime, and then to will it to yet another. This clearly fits the section 1520 definition of a prohibited transfer.” Succession of Flowers, 532 So.2d 470 (La. App. 1988).

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