STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Indiana court upholds marriage limit on son's inheritance

The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a woman’s will that made her adult son’s inheritance dependent on whether he was married.

Posted: Oct 12, 2021 1:04 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a woman’s will that made her adult son’s inheritance dependent on whether he was married.

The court said in a 5-0 ruling last week that nothing in state law prohibits a will from making an inheritance based on certain behavior that must be undertaken, or avoided, by the beneficiary, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

The question reached the Indiana Supreme Court after a woman from southern Indiana’s Jackson County died in 2016. Her trust awarded her adult son his share of her estate outright if he was unmarried at the time of her death, but required his share go into a subtrust controlled by her adult daughter if the son still was married to his third wife.

The Indiana Court of Appeals had ruled last year those conditions were an illegal restraint on marriage.

While state law prohibits wills from limiting marriages by the spouse of the deceased, the Supreme Court said no such restriction applies to trusts, an increasingly popular substitute for wills, and the terms of a trust are permitted to set marriage conditions for a spouse, an adult child, or anyone else set to benefit from the trust.

“In fact, the trust code does not prohibit conditions in restraint of marriage at all,” Justice Geoffrey Slaughter wrote for the court. “What it prohibits is ignoring the settlor’s intent (and where relevant, the trust’s purpose) as manifested in the trust’s plain terms.”

Justice Christopher Goff said he agreed with the outcome in the case but warned about a potential “Pandora’s Box of unintended and harmful consequences” that could follow the court’s ruling if the General Assembly doesn't tighten the trust code.

Goff suggested someone could create a trust with conditions such as the recipient not marrying a person from a different race, refusing to pay property taxes, or participating in another illegal act.

“Surely, the Legislature would not have intended such an unjust or absurd result,” Goff said.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 53°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Fowler
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 53°
Williamsport
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Frankfort
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 52°
Delphi
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 53°
Monticello
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 53°
Logansport
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Cooler, gray weather with spits of rain...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1003647

Reported Deaths: 16423
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1351072116
Lake661851159
Allen57674800
Hamilton46217464
St. Joseph44210611
Elkhart35807508
Vanderburgh32162480
Tippecanoe27859258
Johnson25007444
Hendricks23795357
Porter22856365
Madison18694408
Clark18505252
Vigo17393303
Monroe15218199
LaPorte15101250
Delaware15024261
Howard14681289
Kosciusko12260147
Hancock11682175
Bartholomew11548180
Warrick11270189
Floyd11059214
Wayne10946253
Grant10019219
Morgan9438176
Boone8891116
Dubois8249131
Dearborn819893
Henry8174152
Noble8003106
Marshall7891135
Cass7519121
Lawrence7433171
Shelby7171119
Jackson695889
Gibson6567115
Harrison646691
Huntington636899
Knox6360106
DeKalb628699
Montgomery6229109
Miami591498
Putnam577678
Clinton572171
Whitley563455
Steuben558976
Wabash5309103
Jasper527879
Jefferson509297
Ripley498686
Adams479775
Daviess4653114
Scott438473
Greene423596
Wells422588
Clay421360
White417364
Decatur4152102
Fayette405787
Jennings385961
Posey375844
Washington356150
LaGrange356078
Randolph343499
Spencer338743
Fountain333860
Sullivan327852
Starke315570
Owen313970
Fulton309167
Orange292663
Jay283445
Franklin265143
Perry264852
Rush260832
Carroll260633
Vermillion257254
Parke230426
Pike228443
Tipton227259
Blackford191841
Pulaski183157
Crawford159023
Newton156848
Benton150217
Brown145747
Martin138019
Switzerland134811
Warren120816
Union107016
Ohio84213
Unassigned0540

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events