Industrial Trust Co. v. United States
296 U.S. 220 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Industrial Trust Co. v. United States, 296 U.S. 220 (1935)

Industrial Trust Co. v. United States

No. 213

Argued November 22, 1935

Decided December 9, 1935

296 U.S. 220

Syllabus

1. Acts of Congress must be construed, if possible, so as to avoid grave doubts of their constitutionality. P. 296 U. S. 221.

2. A life insurance policy taken out in 1892 by the insured and paid up in 1912 was payable to others if they survived him, but otherwise to his estate. No power was reserved in him to change beneficiaries, borrow on the policy or surrender it. The others survived him when he died in 1930. Held: that § 302(g), Revenue Act 1926, which is the same as § 402(f), Revenue Act 1918, may not be construed as making the amount receivable by the beneficiaries a part of the gross estate, notwithstanding subdivision (h) of § 302 of the 1926 Act, which declares that subdivision (g) of that section, along with others, shall apply to

"transfers, trusts, estates, interests, rights, powers, and relinquishment of powers, as severally enumerated and described therein, whether made, created, arising, existing, exercised, or relinquished before or after the enactment of this Act."

Bingham v. United States, ante, p. 296 U. S. 211. Pp. 296 U. S. 221-222.

80 Ct.Cls. 647, 9 F.Supp. 817, reversed.

Certiorari to review a judgment dismissing a petition in a suit to recover an amount exacted as part of an estate tax.

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