In re Estate of Garver
New Jersey Superior Court
343 A.2d 817 (1975)
Edward Garver and his first wife, Laura Garver, had two children together. Edward and Laura were divorced in Tennessee in 1971. Pursuant to their related property settlement, Edward and Laura released each other from any present or future obligation that might exist or occur due to their marriage. Under Tennessee law, Edward and Laura’s divorce and accompanying property settlement revoked Edward’s will, under which Laura was the beneficiary, as Edward’s Tennessee counsel advised Edward at the time. Edward subsequently moved to New Jersey, where he married Elizabeth Garver (plaintiff). Edward did not make a new will after marrying Elizabeth. Upon Edward’s death, Elizabeth filed suit in New Jersey Chancery Court seeking a determination that Edward’s will was revoked by the Tennessee divorce and property settlement and seeking to be appointed as the administratrix of Edward’s estate or, in the alternative, as executor of Edward’s will if the will remained valid. Edward’s estate consisted solely of personal property in New York and Tennessee. Laura, who knew about Elizabeth’s requests, did not argue against finding Edward’s will to have been revoked. The chancery court ruled that New Jersey law governed because Edward was domiciled in New Jersey when he died and thus rejected Elizabeth’s requests because New Jersey law permitted a will to be revoked only via one of the methods specified by statute. Elizabeth appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Carton, J.)
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