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In re Dorrance's Estate

309 Pa. 151 (1932)

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In re Dorrance’s Estate

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

309 Pa. 151 (1932)

Facts

John T. Dorrance (defendant) was born in Pennsylvania. After his education, he became employed in New Jersey. There, he was immensely successful as the head of Campbell Soup Company. Between 1911 and 1925, Dorrance and his wife lived in a country home in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, with their children. In November 1925, Dorrance, his wife, and their four children (aged 18, 16, 14, and 10) moved to a much larger, luxurious estate in Pennsylvania known as Woodcrest. The family lived at Woodcrest, the children went to school there, and their social lives centered around Woodcrest. Dorrance commuted to work in New Jersey. Dorrance continuously owned Cinnaminson, where his mother and sister lived from 1926 until their deaths in 1928 and 1929. Many of Dorrance’s friends and acquaintances believed he was a Pennsylvania resident after 1925. Dorrance, however, took measures to claim a New Jersey domicile, such as executing formal documents to that effect, on account of New Jersey’s favorable inheritance and estate laws. On his death, the state (plaintiff) sought to establish that Dorrance was domiciled in Pennsylvania for tax purposes. A trial court agreed, and the matter was appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Frazer, C.J.)

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