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Ruotolo v. Tietjen

Appellate Court of Connecticut
890 A.2d 166 (2006)


Facts

John N. Swanson died with a will that left half of his residuary estate to his stepdaughter, Hazel Brennan, “if she survives me.” Hazel Brennan died 17 days before Swanson, survived by her daughter, Kathleen Smaldone (defendant). Swanson’s heirs-at-law (plaintiffs) challenged Smaldone’s right under the Connecticut antilapse statute to receive the bequest that Brennan would have received if she had survived Swanson. The Connecticut antilapse statute provided that if certain relatives, including a stepchild, predecease the testator and “no provision has been made in the will for such contingency,” then the issue of the predeceased devisee will receive the gift intended for the predeceased devisee. The lower court concluded that the antilapse statute did not apply because the language “if she survives me” constituted a provision in the will for the contingency that Brennan might predecease Swanson. Smaldone appealed to the Appellate Court of California.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lavery, C.J.)

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