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In re Dorrance's Estate

170 A. 601 (1934) aff'd mem. Dorrance v. Thayer-Martin, 176 A. 902 (1935)

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In re Dorrance’s Estate

New Jersey Prerogative Court

170 A. 601 (1934) aff'd mem. Dorrance v. Thayer-Martin, 176 A. 902 (1935)

Facts

John T. Dorrance (defendant) was born in Pennsylvania. After his education, he became employed in 1907 and worked thereafter in New Jersey. Between 1911 and 1925, Dorrance, his wife, and their children had as their family residence a home in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. Dorrance owned and maintained the Cinnaminson home until his death. In late 1925, Dorrance and the family moved to a much larger estate in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Dorrance believed there were educational and social advantages for his children by living in Radnor, but he continuously expressed his intention of returning to live in the Cinnaminson home. Likewise, in New Jersey, Dorrance maintained his church roles, voted, and was politically active. Dorrance effectuated numerous legal documents declaring New Jersey as his domicile. On his death in 1930, New Jersey levied a transfer inheritance tax on Dorrance’s estate based on finding that he was domiciled in New Jersey at his time of death. Pennsylvania authorities also levied taxes on Dorrance’s estate based on finding that he was domiciled in Pennsylvania. The state (plaintiff) sought to establish that New Jersey’s inheritance tax was authorized, which depended on Dorrance’s domicile at his time of death.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Buchanan, J.)

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