Future Interests-Powers of Disposition-Some Practical Considerations in Using Powers of Disposition for Testamentary Purpose

Testators, in an effort to retain control of their property from beyond the grave, have often developed schemes by which they attempt to alter the normal devolution of title to, and the utilization of, that property by their beneficiaries. One of the primary motives giving rise to such schemes is the desire to give the immediate object of a testator’s bounty a great deal of flexibility and control in the use of the testamentary property, while reserving to the testator the possibility of controlling its further disposition upon the death of such person. The most theoretically suitable device by which testators have yet implemented this desire is the gift of a life estate with a power of disposition to the first taker and a gift over in the event that the property so given is not entirely consumed during his lifetime. A number of practical and theoretical problems are involved in the use of such an arrangement, problems which have been the cause of extensive litigation resulting in little uniformity of decision. The practitioner, faced with a choice of using this or some other method of fulfilling a testator’s desires, should not be unaware of these problems.