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Opinion of the Court.
power. She was entitled to bequests and legacies under the will and codicil of Mrs. Calhoun, which they spoke of as property," and which Mrs. Clemson was authorized to dispose of as she pleased. It was lawful for her to execute such power in favor of her husband. The interest to which the power applied was at the time personal property, and was a legacy or bequest. Her will refers to the fact that she is entitled to legacies under the will of her mother, and to a distributive share in the estates of her sister and brother. This is the property which she believed she had; this is what she really had; and this is what she intended to dispose of by her will. The will, therefore, in referring to the legacies to which she is entitled under the will of her mother, refers expressly to the subject matter of the power. The second article of the codicil to the mother's will, after bequeathing to Mrs. Clemson, for life, the three-fourths interest in the bond and mortgage debt, gives her the power "to dispose of this bequest," thus applying that word to the remainder which the daughter took no interest in, but merely a power to dispose of; and Mrs. Clemson, in using the word "legacies," must have intended to include the interest in remainder, which her mother had called a "bequest."
As to the legacy of the three-fourths interest for life in the bond and mortgage debt, she had only a power of appointHer property in it had only that extent; but it had that extent; and to that extent she regarded it as her property, which consisted of the right to the use of it for her life and of the power of disposing of it by her will. The statement that, notwithstanding her coverture, she had “full testamentary power to dispose of the same," refers to the fact that, although she was a married woman, she had power to dispose of the same by a will, such power being given to her by the will of her mother. The expression has the same meaning as if it had read "full power to dispose of the same by will."
This power so to dispose of the subject of the power created by the will of her mother she possessed fully, without the aid of the provision of the constitution and legislation of South Carolina enabling married women to dispose of their own
Opinion of the Court.
property by will, because without a statute of that kind married women could always execute powers of appointment. The provision of the constitution and statute might have been necessary to authorize her to dispose by will of her distributive shares of the estates of her sister and her brother; but with her power to dispose of such shares by her will we are not here concerned. By the constitution, adopted in 1868, and the legislation in pursuance thereof, Mrs. Clemson had as full legal capacity to make a will as if she were a feme sole, and she needed no other power to enable her to do so. Her mother died in 1866, and the power conferred by that will and codicil upon Mrs. Clemson was conferred upon her as a married woman, and was afterwards exercised by her as a married woman.
We then come to the following language in the will: "I will, devise and bequeath the entire property and estate to which I am now in anywise entitled and which I may hereafter acquire, of whatever the same may consist, to my beloved husband, Thomas G. Clemson, absolutely and in feesimple." Outside of her interest in the bond and mortgage on the property in question, to which she was entitled as a legacy under the will of her mother, she had practically no property, her interest in her brother's and sister's estates being of such small value. Unless, therefore, by referring to legacies under the will of her mother, she refers to the interest in the bond and mortgage, all that she could refer to as having come to her under the will of her mother would be, at most, the oil portrait of her grandmother. It cannot be reasonably supposed that that is the proper construction of the will. As for the interest or income she had derived during her life from the bond and mortgage property, the moment it was received it became her property; and it could not properly be regarded as covered by the expression of legacies to which she was entitled under the will of her mother.
The question of the execution of a power is very fully discussed by Mr. Justice Story in Blagge v. Miles, 1 Story, 426. The rule laid down in that case is, that if the donee of the power intends to execute it, and the mode be in other respects
Opinion of the Court.
unexceptionable, that intention, however manifested, whether directly or indirectly, positively or by just implication, will make the execution valid and operative; that the intention to execute the power must be apparent and clear, so that the transaction is not fairly susceptible of any other interpretation, but if it be doubtful, under all the circumstances, then that doubt will prevent it from being deemed an execution of the power; and that it is not necessary, however, that the intention to execute the power should appear by express terms or recitals in the instrument, but it is sufficient that it appears by words, acts or deeds demonstrating the intention. Judge Story states, as the result of the English authorities, that three classes of cases have been held to be sufficient demonstrations of an intended execution of a power: (1) Where there has been some reference in the will, or other instrument, to the power; (2) Or a reference to the property, which is the subject on which it is to be executed; (3) Or where the provision in the will or other instrument, executed by the donce of the power, would otherwise be ineffectual, or a mere nullity; in other words, it would have no operation, except as an execution of the power. The rule thus stated was referred to with approval by this court in Blake v. Ilawkins, 98 U. S. 315, 326; and in Warner v. Connecticut Mutual Life Ins. Co., 109 U. S. 357, 366; by the Court of Appeals of New York, in White v. Hicks, 33 N. Y. 383, 392; and by the Supreme Court of Illinois, in Funk v. Eggleston, 92 Illinois, 515, 538, 539, 547. See, also, Meeker v. Breintnall, 38 N. J. Eq. 345.
Nor is the rule different under the decisions of the courts of South Carolina. Hopkins' Executors v. Mazyck, Rich. Eq. Cas. 263; Porcher v. Daniel, 12 Rich. Eq. 349; Boyd v. Satterwhite, 10 So. Car. 45; Bilderback v. Boyce, 14 So. Car. 528; Moody v. Tedder, 16 So. Car. 557.
The.counsel for the appellant relies with great confidence on the case of Bilderback v: Boyce, supra, where real estate was devised by a father to trustees, to permit his son to take the income for life, with remainder to such persons as the son by his will might appoint, and, in default of appointment, to the children of the son. The son by his will gave, derised and
Opinion of the Court.
bequeathed "all the rest and residue of my estate, whatever and wherever,” to persons named, but did not mention the power or the trust property. He had real estate in his own right. The court held that there was no execution of the power, on the ground that the will disposed in general terms of the whole estate of the donee of the power, without any reference in terms to the power or the property, and that the donee's own property satisfied the terms of the will. The land to which the power related was not mentioned in the will, nor was the power referred to, and the terms of the will. were satisfied by the property which the son left, without including that as to which the power existed. But the court cites with approval the case of Blagge v. Miles, supra, and quotes the passage from it before referred to, and takes as its
, guide, as the result of all the American authorities, the principle, that “the intention to execute must be apparent and clear, so that the transaction is not fairly susceptible of any other interpretation."
In the subsequent case of Moody v. Tedder, supra, one Griggs, by his will, devised and bequeathed to his wife, for life, all his property, both real and personal, empowering her to use and dispose of so much of it as might be necessary for her comfortable support and maintenance, in such style and manner as she might see fit, and gave whatever portion might be remaining of the property after the death of his wife to the wife of one Tedder. The widow of Griggs, for a consideration, conveyed to Tedder all her “interest and life estate" in the property left to me for life” by the will of Griggs. It was held, that the widow of Griggs, as life tenant, had an absolute power of disposing of the property, and that the conveyance to Tedder carried not only the life estate but also the power of disposal, and must be referred to the power which the widow possessed, whether it purported to be an execution of the power or not. The view of the court was that, as the words of the conveyance were “all my interest and life estate," and as Mrs. Griggs had, besides the life estate, no other interest in the property, and as express reference was made to the property as to which the power existed, by.
Opinion of the Court.
describing it as "property left to me for life" by the will of Griggs, her deed must be considered as conveying all her rights in the estate, including her power of disposal, although the conveyance made no reference in terms to such power. The court said, that while it was true that the word "interest was not the technical term to express the idea of a power, it was broad enough, in its ordinary acceptation, to cover it, and that the conveyance was intended to include such power. The opinion added that the question of the execution of a power was one of intention, and it then cited the case of Bilderback v. Boyce, supra, as establishing the principle, that "if the devisee of the power intends to execute it, that intention, however manifested, whether directly or indirectly, positively or by just implication, will make the execution valid and operative," although "the intention to execute the power must be apparent and clear, so that the transaction is not fairly susceptible of any other interpretation."
In the present case, the will of Mrs. Clemson recites that she is entitled to legacies under the will of her mother. It refers to bequests left to her for life, with the power of disposition. It thus refers to the power and also to the property which is the subject of the power, namely, the legacies left to her in her mother's will. Furthermore, the statement in the will of Mrs. Clemson that she has full testamentary power to dispose of those legacies is, in view of the fact that the will of her mother does give her the power to dispose of those legacies as she pleases, an express and direct reference to such power, because under the constitution and statute of South Carolina, in force at the time Mrs. Clemson made her will, she could have disposed by will of any other property which she had, without the aid of any special power to do so. Her will then states that she wills, devises and bequeaths to her husband, absolutely and in fee-simple, "the entire property and estate to which I am now in anywise entitled, and which I may hereafter acquire, of whatever the same may consist." She does not here say "my property and estate," but the language she uses is adequate to include not only what was her own in feesimple and in full right, but also all that in which she was in