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Clarke v. Clarke

United States Supreme Court
178 U.S. 186, 20 S. Ct. 873, 44 L. Ed. 1028 (1900)


Upon her death, Mrs. Clarke bequeathed Connecticut real property in equal shares to her husband and her daughters, Julia and Nancy (defendant). All were residents of South Carolina. Julia died a short while after Mrs. Clarke. Acting as executor for Mrs. Clarke’s estate and as trustee for Nancy, Mr. Clarke (plaintiff) sought a construction of Mrs. Clarke’s will in a South Carolina court. A guardian ad litem was appointed to represent Nancy. The court ruled that Mrs. Clarke’s real property, wherever located, was equitably converted into personalty and could be sold. Mr. Clarke then applied to a Connecticut court for instructions in disposing of Julia’s share of the Connecticut property. Pursuant to Connecticut law, the Connecticut court held that there was no equitable conversion of the Connecticut real estate and that Julia’s entire share should be awarded to Nancy. Under South Carolina law, on the other hand, Julia’s share would have been divided equally between Nancy and Mr. Clarke. Mr. Clarke petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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