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In re Estate of McCauley
California Supreme Court
71 P. 512 (1903)
On February 12, Jennie McCauley executed a will that left several gifts to charities. On March 16, McCauley executed a codicil that made changes to some gifts designated for individual recipients but did not alter the charities’ gifts in any way. McCauley died 28 days later, on April 14. If McCauley’s gifts to the charities failed, those gifts would escheat, i.e., transfer, to the state of California (state) (plaintiff). The state challenged the validity of the charities’ gifts, relying on a mortmain statute that voided any charitable bequests that were made less than 30 days before the testator’s death. The state argued that McCauley’s March 16 codicil had republished the entire will, including the charities’ gifts. Because the republication date was less than 30 days from McCauley’s death, the state contended that the charities’ gifts were void and that the money should go to the state. The trial court ruled that the charities’ gifts were valid, and the state appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Chipman, J.)
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