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Matter of Krooss

Court of Appeals of New York
99 N.E.2d 222 (1951)


Facts

Herman Krooss’s will gave his estate to his wife, Eliese, to hold and use during her lifetime. The will provided that upon Eliese’s death the remainder of the estate was to pass equally to his children, John and Florence, “absolutely and forever.” The will also provided that if either child should die before Eliese, leaving descendants, then those descendants should take the share the deceased child would have received. Florence died before Eliese, without leaving descendants. After Eliese’s death, Florence’s husband (plaintiff) brought an action against John (defendant), as executor of Eliese’s and Herman’s estates, seeking construction of Herman’s will. The Surrogate’s Court held that Florence’s remainder interest in Herman’s estate vested at the time of Herman’s death, and that her interest passed under her will. The Appellate Division reversed, holding that the remainder interests were contingent on the remaindermen surviving the life beneficiary, Eliese, and that because Florence did not survive Eliese, Florence’s interest reverted to Herman’s estate to be disposed of by intestate succession.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Fuld, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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