Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Simon v. Grayson case brief

Simon v. Grayson case brief summary
102 P.2d 1081 (1940)

Appellant, the residual legatees under a testator's will, sought review of a decision of the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), which found in favor of respondent, the executrix of the decedent named in the testator's will, on an action to for the construction and effect to be given a provision in a will purporting to incorporate a letter by reference.


The testator's will left a sum of money to his executors to be paid as directed in a separate letter dated the same day as the will. A large portion of this money was to be paid to the decedent. A letter was found, but it had a different date than the will. No letter with the same date as the will was found. The decedent's executrix claimed the funds mentioned in the letter, and this was challenged by the residuary legatees under the testator's will.


  • The trial court found in favor of the executrix, and on appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • Despite the discrepancy in dates, the evidence of identity was sufficient to overcome the effect of that discrepancy. 
  • The letter did not have to be identified with exact precision; it was enough that the words and circumstances combined to produce a reasonable certainty that it was the one referred to by the testator in his will. 
  • The letter was written by the testator, its terms conformed to the one described in the will, it identified itself as the letter mentioned in the will, and it dealt with the identical subject matter referred to in the will.


The judgment in favor of the executrix on her action for the construction of the testator's will was affirmed.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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