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Horsman v. Maden

California Court of Appeal
48 Cal. App. 2d 635 (1941)


Facts

Horsman (plaintiffs) represent the estate of Emile Maden. Emile Maden was married to Marcella Maden (defendant) in 1914. During their marriage, the Madens acquired real property, stocks, and bonds. The property was held in both Mr. and Mrs. Maden’s names, the stocks were kept in a joint safety-deposit box, and the Madens shared joint bank accounts. In 1933, the Madens had marital problems, following which Mrs. Maden removed the stocks from the joint deposit box and put them in her own safety-deposit box. Mr. and Mrs. Maden tried to reconcile, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Mrs. Maden wanted to secure spousal support from Mr. Maden. On Mrs. Maden’s request, Mr. Maden transferred the stocks they had acquired during the marriage into Mrs. Maden’s name. Mr. Maden also provided Mrs. Maden with a deed to their home, transferring title into Mrs. Maden’s name alone. Although Mr. Maden told Mrs. Maden not to record the deed, Mrs. Maden recorded the deed in 1937. In 1939, Mr. Maden passed away and left a will declaring that the stocks and real property were community property. Mrs. Maden countered that the property was her separate property. Horsman sued to establish that certain items of property were part of Mr. Maden’s estate and were not considered Mrs. Maden’s separate property, because Mr. Maden intended neither to change those items into separate property nor to gift them to Mrs. Maden. At trial, the court refused to allow evidence of Mr. Maden’s declarations before and after he transferred the items of property to Mrs. Maden to determine what Mr. Maden’s intent was at the time of the transfer. The trial court granted Mrs. Maden’s motion for a nonsuit and dismissed the case. Horsman appealed the trial court’s judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Spence, J.)

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