Estate of Genecin v. Genecin
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
363 F. Supp. 2d 306 (2005)
Rita Genecin was an art collector who died in August 2000, leaving behind two adult sons, Victor Genecin and Paul Genecin (defendant). Upon Rita’s death, Victor became the representative of her estate (plaintiff), which divided her assets in a 55/45 split between Victor and Paul. Throughout her life, Rita often gifted artwork to her sons. When she did so, Rita executed a deed of gift, a written instrument effectuating the gratuitous transfer of title in an artwork from one party to another. In December 1999, Rita executed a deed of gift purporting to give the most valuable artwork she owned, a lithograph by Toulouse-Lautrec (the Lautrec), to Paul. She gave this deed to Paul. Shortly after executing this deed, Rita made her sons joint owners of her home with her, following the advice of a financial advisor who suggested that such a transfer would assist in effectuating her gift of the Lautrec because the Lautrec was housed there. After Rita died, Paul informed Victor that his mother had given him the Lautrec. Victor sued Paul on behalf of the estate to recover the Lautrec into the estate’s holdings. The case proceeded to trial, where Rita’s grandson testified that his grandmother had told him she had given the Lautrec to his father for Christmas. A Ms. Sherlock also testified that Rita had told her she had given the Lautrec to Paul. Finally, Victor acknowledged in his testimony that his mother appeared to want to give Paul the Lautrec when she executed the deed of gift. The estate argued, however, that there was not a valid inter vivos gift because the artwork had never been delivered to Paul.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kravitz, J.)
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