In re Estate of JablonskiAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the decree and order of the superior court in this probate action, holding that there existed a genuine issue of material fact precluding the grant of partial summary judgment.
The decedent's will left her entire estate to a testamentary trust for the benefit of her dog, Licorice, and any other pet she might have at the time of her death. At the time of her death, however, no pet survived the decedent. Under the terms of the trust, the trustees were required to designate a charity to receive the remainder of funds in the trustees' control after the death of all beneficiaries. At issue was whether the remainder of the decedent's estate to charity was valid despite Licorice having predeceased the decent or whether Licorice's failure to survive the decedent rendered the pet trust void. On partial summary judgment, the judge held that the pet trust provision failed because Licorice predeceased the decedent. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case, holding that the provisions for Licorice in the testamentary trust lapsed, leaving a genuine issue of material fact whether there was a clear intention that the charitable remainder not be conditioned on Licorice's survival of the decedent.