By a will executed in 1932 testator, who died in 1944, made outright bequests of $2,500 and his personal goods to his widow and $5,000 to each of his sons. He then devised the residue of his estate to trustees to pay the income to his widow for life and, upon her death, to distribute the corpus to his then living issue in equal shares by right of representation, and, in default of such issue, to those who would take if he had died intestate when his widow died. The will gave the trustees broad investment and management powers but no express power to invade principal. As the annual income of the trust fund was only $2,300, the trustees sought authorization to invade the $107,000 principal in an amount not to exceed $4,000 a year, in order to provide the eighty-two year old widow then in need of medical care with reasonable support. Testator's children, unable to use their interests to benefit their mother because of provisions against alienation by anticipation, joined in the petition, as did a grandchild. The latter, a minor, was represented by a guardian ad litem, who was also appointed to represent the possible interests of persons yet unborn. Held, because of changes in circumstances, unforeseen by the testator, "including shrinkage in investment returns, decline in purchasing power, and the expense occasioned by the widow's extreme infirmity," principal might be invaded in order to effectuate the testator's "primary purpose" of providing reasonable support for his widow. Petition of Wolcott, (N.H. 1948) 56 A. (2d) 641.
W. S. Maxwell S.Ed.,
FIDUCIARY ADMINISTRATION -- DEVIATION FROM TERMS OF TRUST--INVASION OF PRINCIPAL FOR BENEFIT OF LIFE TENANT,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol47/iss3/19