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In re Estate of Lahren
Montana Supreme Court
886 P.2d 412 (1994)
Sylvester Lahren deposited the bulk of his estate in four certificates of deposit (CDs). One of the CDs listed the depositor as both Sylvester and his granddaughter, Signe Lahren (plaintiff). The other three CDs listed the depositor as “S. L. Lahren P.O.D. Signe Lahren.” In this context, P.O.D. meant payable on death to the named beneficiary, Signe. Sylvester also executed a will that designated a few specific gifts and gave the residuary estate to three of Sylvester’s four sons. After Sylvester’s death, Signe sought an order that the three CDs listing her as the P.O.D. beneficiary were not part of Sylvester’s estate. Signe claimed that she had held these three CDs in joint tenancy with Sylvester and that they had passed to her at his death without any probate involvement. The trial court held that (1) the CDs were held in joint tenancy by both Sylvester and Signe and (2) the P.O.D. designation meant that the CDs passed to Signe at Sylvester’s death outside the probate proceedings as a valid nontestamentary transfer. These rulings were appealed to the Montana Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Nelson, J.)
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