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Trust Powers Limited

Court Refuses to Enforce a "Religion Clause"
Trusts are a means of separating the legal and beneficial ownership of property, which allows the beneficiary to enjoy the benefits of ownership without actually owning the asset. Trusts have been around for many years, and are common in estate planning. They allow a person to establish the terms under which someone else receives his property, and to provide for minors by putting an adult in charge of the property until the child is an adult. However, the Illinois Appellate Court recently made clear that a person's right to control property through the provisions of a trust has its limits.

The case involved a wealthy couple who established trusts for their grandchildren. The trusts provided that if the grandchildren married someone of a different religion, they would be treated as if they had died and would receive no inheritance. The court was asked whether such a provision could be enforced.

The court found that the provision could not be enforced. Citing cases stretching back more than 100 years, the court ruled that any provision of a will or a trust that acts as a restraint on marriage was void. Such a provision was found to be against public policy, because it either restricts a person's right to marry or encourages him or her to divorce in order to receive an inheritance. Although the Illinois Appellate Court recognized that courts in some states had reached a different result, the court determined that Illinois should follow the modern trend and refused to enforce such a provision.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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