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Trenton Banking Co. v. Hawley

Decided: January 23, 1950.

THE TRENTON BANKING COMPANY, TRUSTEE UNDER THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ANNA B. STOKES, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BETTY ANN STOKES HAWLEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



Jayne, J.s.c.

Jayne

[7 NJSuper Page 303] The plaintiff in its capacity as testamentary trustee has presented its complaint in this action to elicit the advice and directions of the court in an exigency brought about by an endeavor to accelerate the trust established by the following clause of the will:

"NINTH: I hereby authorize and direct my executors hereinafter named to pay and deliver to The Trenton Banking Company of Trenton, New Jersey, the sum of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars, either wholly in money or wholly in securities or partly in money and partly in securities, in the absolute and uncontrolled discretion of my said executors; and I hereby constitute and appoint the said The Trenton Banking Company of Trenton, New Jersey, as my trustee, to receive the said principal sum of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars and to hold and administer the same as follows:

"(1) During the life of my daughter by adoption, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, who was formerly Anna B. Meyers, the decree for whose adoption by me was made and entered in the Orphans' Court of the County of Mercer, in the State of New Jersey, on March 27th, A.D. 1926, the said The Trenton Banking Company of Trenton, New Jersey, shall hold, manage, invest and reinvest the aforesaid sum of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars as a trust fund, collect and receive the income and profits thereof and, after paying all expenses of administering the said trust, pay the entire net income thereof to the aforesaid Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, in as nearly equal monthly installments as possible, so long as she shall live.

"(2) At and upon the death of my aforesaid adopted daughter, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, the aforesaid trust shall cease and determine and I hereby give and bequeath, and my aforesaid trustee shall pay, the principal of the aforesaid fund of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars, together with all accumulations thereon, outright and discharged from this trust, in equal parts or shares, to her children and to the issue then surviving of any deceased child or children of my said adopted daughter, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, such issue of any deceased child to take the share which their parent would take if living, to be divided among such issue equally per stirpes and not per capita.

"(3) It my aforesaid adopted daughter. Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, shall survive me but die without leaving issue surviving her, then and in that event I give and bequeath, and my said trustees shall pay, the principal of the aforesaid trust fund of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars, together with all accumulations thereon, outright and discharged from this trust, in equal shares to the aforesaid William McKinley Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Mercer Hospital, Orthopaedic Hospital, First Church of Christ Scientists, Indigent Widows' and Single Women's Home Society, New Jersey Children's Home Society and St. James' Day Nursery, all of the aforesaid City of Trenton, as soon as practicable after her decease.

"(4) If my aforesaid adopted daughter, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, shall predecease me leaving issue surviving me, my aforesaid executors, instead of establishing the aforesaid trust fund and paying the aforesaid sum of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars to the said The Trenton Banking Company of Trenton, New Jersey, as trustee, shall pay the said sum, as soon as practicable after my decease, either wholly in money or wholly in securities or partly in money and partly

in securities in the absolute and uncontrolled discretion of my said executors, directly and free and clear of any trust, to such children of my aforesaid adopted daughter, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, as shall survive me, share and share alike, the child or children of any deceased child of hers to take the parent's share, per stirpes and not per capita.

"(5) If my aforesaid adopted daughter, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, shall predecease me without leaving issue surviving me, my aforesaid executors, instead of establishing the aforesaid trust fund and paying the aforesaid sum of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars to the said The Trenton Banking Company of Trenton, New Jersey, as trustee, shall pay the said sum, as soon as practicable after my decease, either wholly in money or wholly in securities or partly in money and partly in securities in the absolute and uncontrolled discretion of my said executors, directly and free and clear of any trust, to the aforesaid William McKinley Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Mercer Hospital, Orthopaedic Hospital, First Church of Christ Scientists, Indigent Widows' and Single Women's Home Society, New Jersey Children's Home Society and St. James' Day Nursery, all of the aforesaid City of Trenton, in equal shares."

It is evident that the testatrix died on October 21, 1946. She was survived by her adopted daughter, Betty Anne Stokes Hawley, the life tenant, and the latter's two children. Thereafter the life tenant gave birth to a third child. The three children, Robert Stokes Hawley, Sandra Jean Hawley, and David Bruce Hawley, are living.

On April 20, 1949, the life tenant executed an instrument in writing in which she agreed to surrender and release to her husband, Robert Bruce Hawley, as "next friend and guardian" of the three children and to the three children, her life estate in the trust, and agreed to execute upon request of the trustee any and all proper and necessary instruments to effectuate the desired release.

The instrument, however, contained the significant qualification that "If, for any reason, the aforementioned trust is not hereby accelerated and terminated so that the corpus thereof shall vest in the grantees ...


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