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Henslee v. Union Planters Nat. Bank & Trust Co., 335 U.S. 595 (1949)

Henslee v. Union Planters National Bank & Trust Co.

No. 90

Argued December 14, 1948

Decided January 3, 1949

335 U.S. 595


Under a will, the testator's entire estate was left in trust for his 85-year-old mother during her lifetime, after which certain specific bequests were made and the residue of the estate was to be divided equally among four named charities. The trustees were directed to pay the mother a stated monthly income, even if it should become necessary to invade the corpus of the trust, were further authorized to utilize any portion of the corpus for her "pleasure, comfort, and welfare," and were admonished that the "first object to be accomplished" was to provide for her "in such manner as she may desire." She died three years later without invading the corpus of the trust.

Held: under § 812(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, the charitable bequests were not deductible from the gross estate for estate tax purposes. Merchants Bank v. Commissioner, 320 U. S. 256. Pp. 335 U. S. 595-600.

166 F.2d 993, reversed.

A federal district court dismissed a suit for refund of federal estate taxes. 74 F.Supp. 113. The Court of Appeals reversed. 166 F.2d 993. This Court granted certiorari. 335 U.S. 811. Reversed, p. 335 U. S. 600.

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