Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Foster v. Reiss case brief

Foster v. Reiss
∆ is the husband of a deceased woman who's estate and will are being settled by π. Right before submitting to an operation, the woman wrote a letter to her husband stating the location of several stashes of money and passbooks around the house, and her desire for him to have them in the event of her death. This note was contrary to her will. The ∆ read the note, found the money, and took possession. The woman then underwent the surgery. After the surgery, she fell into a coma, and never recovered before her death.
Def. claimed ownership of cash/passbook/loan book, based on allegation of causa mortis from his wife.
-There is a gift causa mortis when a person in his last sickness, apprehending his dissolution near, delivers or causes to be delivered to another the possession of any personal goods, to keep in case of his decease.
1. Has there been an “actual, unequivocal, and complete delivery during the lifetime of the donor, wholly divesting him of the possession, dominion, and control of the property?
-No delivery of any kind.
-Satisfied only by delivery by the donor, calls for an affirmative action on her part.
-Writing does not fulfill the requirement of delivery of the property.
-Cannot be said he possessed the property, because he had no knowledge of the presence of the property in the house, let alone it’s precise location.
Note failed as an authorization to the Def. to take possession of the chattels, since at the time he took the note, she was unable to transact business.

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