Shelton v. King - 229 U.S. 90 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
Shelton v. King, 229 U.S. 90 (1913)
Shelton v. King
Argued March 11, 12, 1913
Decided May 26, 1913
229 U.S. 90
Trustees having the power to exercise discretion will not be interfered with by a court of equity at the instance of the beneficiaries, so long as they are acting bona fide.
In the absence of circumstances and conditions not provided for in the will, there being no question of perpetuities or restriction of alienation and creditors not being concerned, the court should not compel testamentary trustees to anticipate the time of payment of legacies which the testator expressly provided should be held in trust for the legatees until a specified time.
While one may not by his own act preserve to himself the enjoyment of his own property in such manner that it shall not be subject to claims of creditors or to his own power of alienation, a testator may bestow his own property in that manner upon one to whom he wishes to secure beneficial enjoyment without being subject to the claims of assignees or creditors. Clain v. Clain, 149 Mass. 19, approved.
The courts of this country have rejected the English doctrine that
liability to creditors and freedom of alienation are necessary incidents to enjoying the rents and profits from the property by the object of bounty of a testator. One of the highest duties resting upon a court is to carry out the intentions of a testator as expressed in valid provisions not repugnant to well settled principles of public policy. In this case, the court refuses to compel testamentary trustees to pay over legacies prior to the time specified in the will although the property bequeathed had vested in the legatees.
36 App.D.C. 1 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the validity of a testamentary trust and the right of the beneficiaries to have the same terminated prior to the time fixed by the will, are stated in the opinion.