Becker v. St Louis Union Trust Co, No. 262

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSUTHERLAND
Citation56 S.Ct. 78,80 L.Ed. 35,296 U.S. 48
Decision Date11 November 1935
Docket NumberNo. 262
PartiesBECKER, Collector of Internal Revenue, v. ST. LOUIS UNION TRUST CO. et al

296 U.S. 48
56 S.Ct. 78
80 L.Ed. 35
BECKER, Collector of Internal Revenue,

v.

ST. LOUIS UNION TRUST CO. et al.

No. 262.
Argued Oct. 25, 1935.
Decided Nov. 11, 1935.

Page 49

The Attorney General and David E. Hudson, of Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mr. Crawford Johnson, of St. Louis, Mo., for respondents.

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

The decedent in 1921 executed separate declarations of trust in favor of each of his four children, conveying to himself as trustee certain securities. He died in 1928, at which time the entire trust estate conveyed by the four trusts amounted to nearly a million dollars, which amount was included by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue as a part of the gross estate of the decedent and an additional estate tax assessed accordingly. The executors, having paid the additional tax, brought this action in a federal District Court sitting in Missouri to recover the amount. The District Court denied recovery upon the grounds that the transfer effected by each declaration of trust was made in contemplation of death, and that it was intended to take effect in possession or enjoyment at or after decedent's death.

The Court of Appeals, after a very full review of the facts and authorities, reversed the judgment. 76 F.(2d) 851. The case is here on certiorari.

The declarations of trust were in identical terms. By each the grantor declared that he held in trust for the person named certain property which was described. A copy of one of them is set forth in the opinion of the court below. The trust instrument gave the trustee usual discretionary power with respect to sale of the trust property, reinvestment of proceeds, collection of rents, income, and profits, payment of taxes and expenses incident to the

Page 50

care, preservation and management of the property; and provided that he should pay to the beneficiary an allowance of $300 a month, which might be increased or decreased from time to time in his discretion. Income not distributed was to be added to the principal. The final clause of the declaration provided: '6. (a) If the said beneficiary should die before my death, then this trust estate shall thereupon revert to me and become mine immediately and absolutely, or (b) if I should die before her death, then this property shall thereupon become hers immediately and absolutely and be turned over to her and in either case this trust shall cease.'

The government presents for our determination two questions whether, under the provisions of section 302(c), Revenue Act of 1926 (26 USCA § 1094(c) a transfer of the property under each of the instruments here involved (1) was intended to take effect in possession or enjoyment at or after the death of the grantor; (2) was made in contemplation of death.

First. The first of these questions is settled by our decision just rendered in the case of Helvering v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., et al., 296 U.S. 39, 56 S.Ct. 74, 80 L.Ed. 29. By the declaration of trust here under review, the legal title, possession, and control of the trust estate passed irrevocably from the grantor as an individual to himself as trustee. The effect is no different than if the trustee had been another person. Cf. Reinecke v. Trust Co., 278 U.S. 339, 346, 49 S.Ct. 123, 73 L.Ed. 410, 66 A.L.R. 397. By the final paragraph of the declaration, quoted above, the grantor does not...

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137 practice notes
  • M. Witmark & Sons v. Fred Fisher Music Co., No. 123.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • February 11, 1942
    ...Louis Trust cases Helvering v. St. Louis Trust Co., 296 U.S. 39, 56 S.Ct. 74, 80 L.Ed. 29, 100 A.L.R. 1239; Becker v. St. Louis Trust Co., 296 U.S. 48, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80 L.Ed. 35 it had, even by any bill that found its way into a committee pigeonhole. Congress may not have had its attention s......
  • Walker v. United States, No. 10415.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 30, 1936
    ...Industrial Trust Co. et al. v. United States, 296 U.S. 220, 56 S.Ct. 182, 80 L. Ed. ___, and also see Becker v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 296 U.S. 48, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80 L.Ed. ___ (a trust transfer inter Another reason advanced by appellee is that all life insurance is taxable because it "is ......
  • Spiegel Estate v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 3
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 17, 1949
    ...v. Hallock, 309 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 444, 84 L.Ed. 604, 125 A.L.R. 1368; dissenting opinion in Becker v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 296 U.S. 48, 53, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80, 80 L.Ed. 35, and Helvering v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 296 U.S. 39, 46, 56 S.Ct. 74, 77, 80 L.Ed. 29, 100 A.L.R. 1239; Klein ......
  • Bell v. United States, Civ. No. 1087.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • November 7, 1947
    ...expounded by the courts. United States v. Wells, 283 U.S. 102, 51 S.Ct. 446, 75 L.Ed. 867; Becker v. St. Louis Union Trust Co. et al., 296 U.S. 48, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80 L.Ed. 35; Colorado Nat. Bank v. Commissioner, 305 U.S. 23, 59 S.Ct. 48, 82 L.Ed. 20; City Bank Farmers Trust Co. v. McGowan, 32......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
137 cases
  • M. Witmark & Sons v. Fred Fisher Music Co., No. 123.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • February 11, 1942
    ...Louis Trust cases Helvering v. St. Louis Trust Co., 296 U.S. 39, 56 S.Ct. 74, 80 L.Ed. 29, 100 A.L.R. 1239; Becker v. St. Louis Trust Co., 296 U.S. 48, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80 L.Ed. 35 it had, even by any bill that found its way into a committee pigeonhole. Congress may not have had its attention s......
  • Walker v. United States, No. 10415.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 30, 1936
    ...Industrial Trust Co. et al. v. United States, 296 U.S. 220, 56 S.Ct. 182, 80 L. Ed. ___, and also see Becker v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 296 U.S. 48, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80 L.Ed. ___ (a trust transfer inter Another reason advanced by appellee is that all life insurance is taxable because it "is ......
  • Spiegel Estate v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 3
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 17, 1949
    ...v. Hallock, 309 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 444, 84 L.Ed. 604, 125 A.L.R. 1368; dissenting opinion in Becker v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 296 U.S. 48, 53, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80, 80 L.Ed. 35, and Helvering v. St. Louis Union Trust Co., 296 U.S. 39, 46, 56 S.Ct. 74, 77, 80 L.Ed. 29, 100 A.L.R. 1239; Klein ......
  • Bell v. United States, Civ. No. 1087.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • November 7, 1947
    ...expounded by the courts. United States v. Wells, 283 U.S. 102, 51 S.Ct. 446, 75 L.Ed. 867; Becker v. St. Louis Union Trust Co. et al., 296 U.S. 48, 56 S.Ct. 78, 80 L.Ed. 35; Colorado Nat. Bank v. Commissioner, 305 U.S. 23, 59 S.Ct. 48, 82 L.Ed. 20; City Bank Farmers Trust Co. v. McGowan, 32......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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