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In re Estate of Damato

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division
206 A.2d 171 (1965)


Joseph Damato opened two savings accounts in banks located in Florida. The accounts were to be held in trust for Joseph’s son, Philip, until after Joseph’s death. Joseph died a resident of New Jersey. Joseph’s other son, James, was named the executor of his father’s estate. James filed a petition in New Jersey probate court seeking instruction regarding the disposition of the two savings accounts in Florida. James argued that the probate court should apply Florida’s conflict-of-law rules but not Florida substantive law. The probate court disagreed and applied Florida substantive law. Under Florida law, the court held that Joseph’s savings accounts were Totten trust accounts, which require that the balance be paid to a specific beneficiary upon the individual’s death. The probate court awarded the balance in each savings account to Philip. James appealed, arguing that the probate court should have applied the doctrine of renvoi to determine ownership of the Florida accounts.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Labrecque, J.)

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