Robert Scherer (plaintiff) lived with Catherine Wagner for fifteen years. Wagner received a check from the settlement of a lawsuit related to an automobile accident. On the day she received the check, Wagner committed suicide. Before doing so, Wagner signed the check and left it on the kitchen table of the apartment she shared with Scherer, along with a handwritten note stating that she wanted to leave all her worldly possessions to Scherer, including the settlement check. The trial court overseeing the distribution of Wagner’s estate concluded that Wagner had made an effective gift causa mortis and awarded the check to Scherer. The administrator of Wagner’s estate, Hyland (defendant) appealed and the appellate court upheld the trial court decision. Hyland petitioned the Supreme Court for review.