Abrams v. Templeton

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

465 S.E.2d 117 (S. C. Ct. App. 1995)

If a testamentary gift violates the common-law rule against perpetuities but the state has enacted a reform statute, the court may modify the will so that it complies with the rule against perpetuities while preserving the testator’s presumed intent.

Relevant Facts

Mary Ann Taylor Ramage (the testator) executed a will devising a 160-acre tract of land to her husband for life, then to her son Albert for life, then to her son’s children for life, and then remainder to their children. The testator was survived by her husband, Albert, and her various grandchildren. Additionally, the will devised another 130-acre tract of land to her daughter’s children (the plaintiffs). The plaintiffs argued that the gift to Albert’s grandchildren violated the rule against perpetuities and that because Albert’s children only held life estates, the property would revert to the testator and would thus be distributed through intestate succession. The trial judge determined that the gift to her great-grandchildren violated the rule against perpetuities. However, under South Carolina’s reform statute, the judge inserted a savings clause that enabled the gift to comply with the rule against perpetuities while maintaining the testator’s intent, which was to benefit the two branches of her family equally.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 2, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

465 S.E.2d 117 (S. C. Ct. App. 1995)