Law of Waste (5) Baker v.
Weedon (Duk 197-201) ○ Facts: Decedent leaves his 3rd wife Anna his farm in a life estate with a contingent remainder to her children or if she had no children, to his grandchildren from previous marriages. Anna never has any children. Anna is old now and destitute, and she cannot run the farm, so it has no use to her, and she wants to be able to sell it because she needs the money now to live. Also, the farm is now worth a lot of money, and is increasingly gaining value. So, if Anna continues to hold it, there will be economic waste b/c she is not using it to full potential. However, the remaindermen don’t want the farm to be sold yet b/c they see that the value is increasing. ○ Issue: Can someone holding a life estate convert it into a fee simple under the law of economic waste, when the remaindermen have a stake in the property? No. ○ Holding: Since the land is becoming valuable as commercial property, the court finds that the remaindermen have a substantial interest which they stood to lose were the land sold prematurely. The court thus articulates the necessity test and requires that the best interests of all parties be considered in a decision over whether or not to sell property with future interests attached. ○ Rule: Court will only force a sale if in the best interest of ALL parties with interests in a life estate, otherwise life tenant and remaindermen must agree Notes § He leaves estate to 3rd wife Anna, and to her children. He encourages he to get remarried; and she does, but no children. § Grants farm to Anna for life, and then to her children. If no children, will says farm goes to his grandchildren from 1st marriage. Anna has a life estate. § Issue is that Anna is destitute, and it would be ok if she money for the farm, but no one wants to buy a life estate from an old woman. Gov't wants to take the property (and they can, but you have right to fair compensation). ○ Property value is increasing. Anna needs $ right away and wants to sell right away. But grandchildren don’t yet want to sell b/c its value is increasing (law of waste) § Property gets sold, and the proceeds are divided up btwn Anna & the grandchildren. § How to equitably divide property btwn a life tenant and the remainders