Coulter v Revenue Commissioners

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date01 Jan 1937
[S. C., I.F.S.],
Coulter
and
Revenue Commissioners

Policies of life assurance on life of wife - Premiums paid by husband under marriage settlement - Nature of interest passing on death of wife - Construction of s. 2 (1) of the Finance Act, 1894.

A number of assurance policies upon her own life had been taken out by a woman immediately prior to her marriage for the purpose of being included in the subject-matter of her marriage settlement and were assigned by her to the trustees thereof. The terms of the settlement contained a covenant by both her husband and herself to pay the premiums on the policies, and provided that the policies should be held in trust for the husband absolutely should he survive his wife subject, in the event of his bankruptcy during her lifetime, to a trust for the issue (if any) of the marriage, or, if none, for her statutory next-of-kin, and, in the event of his predeceasing her (which event happened), subject to a general power of appointment by him by deed or will. The premiums were after the marriage paid by the husband alone until his death, upon which event estate duty was paid on the saleable value of the policies as being "property of which the deceased was at the time of his death competent to dispose" within s. 2 (1) (a) of the Finance Act, 1894. The subsequent premiums were paid by the wife down to the time of her death. Held (FitzGibbon and Murnaghan, J.J., Kennedy, C.J., dissenting): —(1) That since the interest of the wife in the property out of which the policies were originally effected was not a legal interest in the nature of a separate estate, but was...

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