Fontain v. Ravenel - 58 U.S. 369 (1854)
U.S. Supreme Court
Fontain v. Ravenel, 58 U.S. 17 How. 369 369 (1854)
Fontain v. Ravenel
58 U.S. (17 How.) 369
A resident in Pennsylvania made his will in 1829, giving annuities to his wife and others and directing that his executors, or the survivor of them, after the decease of his wife, should provide for the annuitants then living and dispose of the residue of his property for the use of such charitable institutions in Pennsylvania and South Carolina as they or he may deem most beneficial to mankind.
His wife and three other persons were appointed executors.
The three other persons all died during the lifetime of the wife. No appointment of the charity was made or attempted to be made during the lifetime of the executors.
The charity cannot now be carried out.
The executors were vested with a mere power of appointment, without having any special trust attached to it. In England, the case could only be reached by the prerogative power of the Crown acting through the sign-manual of the King.
The English and American cases upon this subject examined.
This was a bill filed by Fontain, as administrator de bonis non cum testamento annexo of Frederick Kohne, deceased, against Ravenel, one of the executors of Mrs. Kohne, the widow of the deceased Frederick. The object of the bill was to recover from the defendant certain sums of money which came into the hands of the widow, as executrix of her husband, for the purpose of applying them to some charitable bequests made in the will of Frederick Kohne. These are stated, as well as the other circumstances of the case, in the opinion of the Court, and need not be repeated.
The circuit court dismissed the bill, and the complainant appealed to this Court.