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Chandler v. Chandler

Supreme Court of Alabama
409 So. 2d 780 (1982)


Facts

In 1964, J. W. Chandler executed a deed giving an undivided one-half interest in 270 acres land to his wife Maggie for life, reserving an undivided one-half interest to himself for life, with right of survivorship for the survivor’s lifetime, and remainder in fee simple to their son J. P. Chandler (defendant). The parents did not deliver the deed directly to J. P. Instead, J. W. deposited it in a file at his bank, with instructions to deliver it to J. P. at the time of his death. The bank, like all others in the area, had no safe deposit boxes. Based on the bank’s business practices, J. P. could have retrieved the deed at any time, but made no attempt to do so. J. W. and Maggie lived on the property until their deaths in 1972 and 1975. After J. W.’s death, the deed was delivered to J. P., and he took possession of the property after Maggie’s death. In 1980, six of J. P.’s seven siblings (plaintiffs) filed suit to set aside the validity of the deed, arguing inter alia that there was no valid legal delivery of the deed because J. W. could have retrieved the deed from the bank at any time before his death. The trial court held that the deed had been validly delivered, and J. P.’s siblings appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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Dissent (Trobert, C.J.)

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