In re Evans’ Estate
274 Wis. 459, 80 N.W.2d 408 (1957)

  • Evans created a testamentary trust. The beneficiaries were “her grandchildren.” The will specified that, “after each grandchild reached the age of 30, he is to be paid his full share of the principle sum of this bequest together with the interested that has accumulated.”
    • “The grandchildren” constituted a class.
  • After Evans died, more grandchildren were born. The Court was asked to determine what restrictions there were on the class.
  • The Trial Court found that the membership of the class opened up each time a new grandchild was born until all trust assets were distributed.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the Trial Court and determined that the number of members in a class is fixed at the time distribution occurs.
    • The Wisconsin Supreme Court found that a class can increase or decrease in membership.
    • However, that membership is fixed once distribution occurs. Otherwise it would be impossible to make fair distributions.
    • In this case, when the first grandchild turned 30, they would get 1/x of the trust assets, where ‘x’ is the number of member of the class. If the class were allowed to increase after that time, ‘x’ would change.
    • Therefore, and grandchildren born after the death of the settlor are allowed to become members of the class, but grandchildren born after the first grandchild turns 30 are not allowed to become members of the class.
  • This is known as the Rule of Administrative Convenience, and it basically says that the class will close whenever a member may demand their share of the trust assets.