The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moss, Justice.
On February 23, 1953, Bessie B. Mahaffey executed an inter vivos trust indenture in favor of the Peoples National Bank of Greenville, South Carolina, as trustee. Simultaneously therewith she transferred to the trustee certain cash and securities of considerable value. On the same day, Bessie B. Mahaffey also executed in favor of the trustee her warranty deed conveying certain real estate to be held pursuant to the terms of the trust indenture. This deed was duly recorded in the proper office of Greenville County.
The trust indenture, in paragraph 4 thereof, contained the following reservation:
"The Grantor hereby reserves unto herself the right and power at any time, and from time to time, during her life, by any instrument executed and probated in the form required by the law of this State for recording a conveyance of real property, to revoke, in whole or in part, this trust indenture or to alter or amend any of the terms and provisions thereof. Upon the elapse of sixty (60) days from delivery to the Trustee by the Grantor of such deed or other instrument this trust indenture shall be deemed to have been revoked, altered, or amended in the manner or to the extent therein set forth."
On November 6, 1953 Bessie B. Mahaffey executed a written instrument entitled "Revocation of Trust" in proper form for recordation, which said instrument was delivered to the trustee on November 7, 1953, and on said date receipt thereof was acknowledged by the trustee. The said instrument was in form as follows:
"Now, Therefore, I, Bessie B. Mahaffey, do hereby revoke the said deed hereinabove referred to and all estates and trusts created therein, and I direct and require the Peoples National Bank of Greenville, South Carolina, Trustee, immediately upon receipt of notice of this revocation to convey and return to me all of the original trust fund, cash, notes, bonds, mortgages and other securities and all investments or reinvestments of same or of the income or proceeds thereof together with all income derived from said trust fund or investment or reinvestment thereof not heretofore legally disbursed by the People National Bank of Greenville, South Carolina, as Trustee."
Bessie B. Mahaffey died on December 16, 1953, some forty days after she had given the trustee notice of revocation of the trust instrument, but twenty days prior to the expiration of the sixty-day period specified in the trust indenture.
This action was instituted in the Court of Common Pleas for Greenville County by the respondent for the purpose of determining the validity and effect of the revocation of the said trust indenture, and seeking instructions with reference to the disposition to be made of the corpus of the trust. In this action there were joined all beneficiaries under the trust indenture and all legatees under a subsequent will of Bessie B. Mahaffey, and all unknown persons claiming any interest in her estate. The appellants, W.M. Guest and Ora Mae Hollingsworth, challenged the efficacy of the revocation.
This issue, along with other issues with which we are not here concerned, was heard by the Trial Judge and on September 16, 1955 he rendered a decree, wherein he held that both the trust indenture and the trust deed were effectively revoked by Bessie B. Mahaffey by the instrument dated November 6, 1953. The appellants come to this court seeking to reverse the decree of the Trial Judge and the exceptions raise two questions. (1) Was the revocation of November 6, 1953 in accordance with the powers of revocation reserved in the trust indenture and deed; and (2) Did the revocation revoke the trust indenture and trust deed or only the trust deed?
In numerous cases it has been held that the right of
the creator of a trust to revoke same is recognized
where the deed contains an express provision permissive
of revocation. Downs v. Security Trust Co., 175 Ky. 789,
194 S.W. 1041; Carter v. Hough, 86 Va. 668,
10 S.E. 1063; McEvoy v. Boston Five Cents Savings Bank,
201 Mass. 50, 87 N.E. 465.
If a particular mode of revocation is specified in a deed of trust, it is essential that the mode specified should be followed in order to make the revocation effective. Downs v. Security Trust Co., supra; Brown v. Fidelity Trust Co., 126 Md. 175, 94 A. 523.
In the case of Broga v. Rome Trust Co., 151 Misc. 641, 272 N.Y.S. 101, 106, the court said:
"A revocable trust may be revoked in any manner which shows a clear and definite purpose on the part of the settlor of the trust to revoke the same, unless the instrument itself prescribed the manner in which the trust may be revoked, in which event the trust becomes irrevocable, ...