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Hartman v. Hartle

New Jersey Court of Chancery
122 A. 615 (1923)


Facts

Dorothea Geick died with a will directing her executors to sell her real estate and divide the proceeds between her five children. Her will also named her two son-in-laws as the executors of her estate (defendants). The executors sold some of Dorothea’s real estate known as “the Farm” at auction to Lewis Geick for $3,900. Lewis had purchased the property for his sister, Josephine Diecker (defendant), whose husband was one of the executors of Dorothea’s estate. Josephine then sold the Farm two months later for $5,500. When the executors presented their final accounts ten days later, one of Dorothea’s daughters (the Daughter) (plaintiff) raised her concern to the deputy surrogate that the Farm was not sold to Josephine for a fair price. Approximately one year later, the Daughter filed an action alleging that the sale of the Farm by the executors to Josephine was fraudulent and improper and asked that the Farm be returned to the estate to be resold, or that she be awarded one-fifth of the $1,6000 profit Josephine realized from her sale of the Farm. The Daughter made further allegations regarding an agreement between the heirs to place a bid at the auction of the Farm for the benefit of all the heirs, but these allegations disproved at the hearing. The question remaining for the court was whether the sale of the Farm by the executors to the wife of one of the executors without leave of the court was in and of itself improper and void.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Foster, J.)

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