224 S.W.2d 945 (Mo. 1949), 41482, Hastings v. Hudson

Docket Nº41482
Citation224 S.W.2d 945, 359 Mo. 912
Opinion JudgeWESTHUES
Party NameClyde V. Hastings, Administrator of the Estate of Charles T. Keyes, Deceased, Ruth Taylor, Marjorie Keyes Sparks, and Russell L. Keyes, a Person of Unsound Mind, by Marjorie Keyes Sparks, his Guardian, Appellants, v. Walter Hudson and Peter Hudson, Respondents
AttorneyEllis Beavers for appellants. William S. Hogsett, Alvin C. Trippe, Hale Houts, Hogsett, Trippe, Depping, Houts & James and Lewis W. Sanders for respondents.
Judge PanelWesthues, C. Bohling and Barrett, CC., concur.
Case DateNovember 14, 1949
CourtSupreme Court of Missouri

Page 945

224 S.W.2d 945 (Mo. 1949)

359 Mo. 912

Clyde V. Hastings, Administrator of the Estate of Charles T. Keyes, Deceased, Ruth Taylor, Marjorie Keyes Sparks, and Russell L. Keyes, a Person of Unsound Mind, by Marjorie Keyes Sparks, his Guardian, Appellants,

v.

Walter Hudson and Peter Hudson, Respondents

No. 41482

Supreme Court of Missouri

November 14, 1949

Motion for Rehearing or to Transfer to Banc Overruled December 12, 1949.

Appeal from Worth Circuit Court; Hon. Ray Weightman, Judge

Reversed and remanded (with directions).

SYLLABUS

The facts and holding of the opinion are adequately summarized in the headnote.

Ellis Beavers for appellants.

(1) Defendants, by their own personal testimony, confessed the fraud alleged. By this they are conclusively bound, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. The trial judge could not have reached the conclusions of fact or law upon which he based his judgment had he observed this principle of law. Pickel v. Pickel, 243 Mo. 641; Woods v. Washington Fidelity Natl. Ins. Co., 113 S.W.2d 121; De Lorme v. St. Louis Pub. Serv. Co., 61 S.W.2d 247; Steele v. Railroad, 265 Mo. 97. (2) The trial judge misconceived the nature of plaintiff's property rights. Plaintiff's interest in the property is "Dower." Sec. 324, R.S. 1939; Waddle v. Frazier, 245 Mo. 391; Ferguson v. Gentry, 206 Mo. 189; Headington v. Woodward, 214 S.W. 963; Strock v. Eagle, 48 S.W.2d 851. (3) Plaintiff's share in the property, for which he sued, attached when he married. It vested then contingently and matured when his wife died. It is his as a consideration in his marriage contract with Mrs. Keyes. Sec. 3306, R.S. 1939; Bank v. Galbraith, 149 Mo. 529; Coy v. Humphreys, 142 Mo.App. 92; Walker v. Walker, 66 N.H. 390; Thayer v. Thayer, 14 Vt. 104. (4) It is his by plain mandate of the law. An essential of his marriage. Holt v. Hanley, 245 Mo. 352; Chrisman v. Linderman, 202 Mo. 605. (5) Plaintiff stands here as his deceased wife's creditor seeking to recover property which she placed beyond his reach. The trial court erred in holding a "valuable consideration" such as is pleaded here, cleansed Mrs. Keyes' transfers of fraud. Donaldson v. Donaldson, 249 Mo. 228; Hach v. Rollins, 158 Mo. 182; Walker v. Walker, 66 N.H. 390; Thayer v. Thayer, 14 Vt. 104; Maze v. Griffin, 65 Mo.App. 377; McGehee v. Garringer, 284 Mo. 465; Wanstrath v. Kapel, 190 S.W.2d 241; Knights v. Knights, 300 Ill. 618; 27 C.J. 473. (6) Plaintiff's rights, for which he sues, are within the protection of the statutes declaring what shall be deemed "Fraudulent Conveyances," to-wit: Secs. 3506 and 3507, R.S. 1939. (7) Mrs. Keyes' transactions with defendants, transferring all her property to them in return for their promise to provide her with future support, are void as to plaintiff because they were no more than grants for her own use. Sec. 3506, R.S. 1939; Oldham v. Wright, 85 S.W.2d 483; Bank v. Guthrey, 127 Mo. 189; Walther v. Null, 233 Mo. 104. (8) Mrs. Keyes' transfers of all her money and property to defendants, when defendants knew their purpose was to defeat plaintiff's marital rights (and in which purpose they participated), renders the conveyances void as to plaintiff. Sec. 3507, R.S. 1939; Emlet v. Gillis, 63 S.W.2d 12; Pickel v. Pickel, 243 Mo. 641; Gust v. Hoppe, 201 Mo. 293. (9) It is the public policy of this state, evidenced by its statutory law, that plaintiff should have the property for which he sues. It is the duty of courts to save dower for those upon whom the statutes confer it. The object, rather than the letter, of the law is the goal of our courts. The trial judge erred in not applying this principle of law in this case. Stone v. Stone, 18 Mo. 389; Rice v. Waddill, 168 Mo. 99; Merz v. Tower Grove Bank & Trust Co., 130 S.W.2d 611; Blanchard v. Hamblin, 162 Mo.App. 242; Moorehead v. United Rys. Co., 203 Mo. 121; St. Louis v. Christian Brothers College, 257 Mo. 541; Egger v. Egger, 225 Mo. 116; Secs. 324, 519, R.S. 1939. (10) Courts will hold void those transactions which destroy the efficacy of Sec. 324, R.S. 1939. Stone v. Stone, 18 Mo. 389; Rice v. Waddill, 168 Mo. 99; Merz v. Tower Grove Bank & Trust Co., 130 S.W.2d 611. (11) Courts will also hold void those schemes which circumvent Sec. 519, R.S. 1939 -- A statute designed to preserve to a limited degree the efficacy of Section 324. Davis v. Davis, 5 Mo. 183; Tucker v. Tucker, 29 Mo. 350; Dyer v. Smith, 62 Mo.App. 606; Newton v. Newton, 162 Mo. 173; Kerwin v. Kerwin, 204 S.W. 925; Straat v. O'Neil, 84 Mo. 68; Crecelius v. Horst, 89 Mo. 356. (12) Defendants, by their own personal testimony, confess they received the property, here involved, in a transaction designed to defeat the dower which the Statute 324 confers upon plaintiff. Their so-called purchase of the property to carry the design into effect is void, because it too is opposed to the public policy of the state. Rice Bros. & Nixon v. Natl. Bank of Commerce, 98 Mo.App. 696; Wiggins Ferry Co. v. C. & A. Ry. Co., 128 Mo. 224. (13) She abused it when she set out to take from him his dower, which the law bestowed on him out of her possessions. This breach of duty was known to defendants; so they hold the property impressed with plaintiff's equities in it. Under the evidence the trial court should have so held. Headington v. Woodward, 214 S.W. 963; Egger v. Egger, 225 Mo. 116; Clifford Banking Co. v. Donovan Comm. Co., 195 Mo. 262; Hamilton v. Armstrong, 120 Mo. 597; 25 C.J. 1119-1120; Martin v. Baker, 135 Mo. 495. (14) Plaintiff being of infirm mind, a fact known to defendants, the transactions here complained of will be deemed void. The trial court should have so held. Cadwallader v. West, 48 Mo. 483; 25 C.J., p. 1120; Hendricks v. Vivion, 118 Mo.App. 417; Porter v. United Railways, 165 Mo.App. 619; Doty v. Mumma, 264 S.W. 656. (15) Defendants, by their own sworn testimony, admit Mrs. Keyes, with their aid, gave them all her property to save it from the effect and operation of Sec. 324, R.S. 1939. The trial court erred in holding that such fact alone would not constitute her conveyances void. He erroneously required further proof (which he mistakenly concluded was lacking) that her disposition of property was also testamentary in character. Merz v. Tower Grove Bank & Trust Co., 130 S.W.2d 611; Stone v. Stone, 18 Mo. 389; Rice v. Waddill, 168 Mo. 99. (16) The trial court erred in holding that such disposition -- if made actually divesting herself of title -- would negative fraud. It is the intent to defeat dower which made her conveyance fraudulent, not whether her disposal of her property was actual or illusory. Merz v. Tower Grove Bank & Trust Co., 130 S.W.2d 611. (17) The trial court erred in denying plaintiff his dower in the property in suit on the grounds that he had not earned or preserved any part of it. The statute which confers plaintiff's share for which he sues makes no requirement of that kind. Sec. 324, R.S. 1939; Stone v. Stone, 18 Mo. 389. (18) The trial court erred in denying plaintiff's dower because plaintiff's children would get a part of her estate against Mrs. Keyes' wishes and desires. It is the mandate and object of the statute which must control the courts, not the "chimney corner" equities in a particular case. Stone v. Stone, 18 Mo. 389; Egger v. Egger, 225 Mo. 116. (19) The "Married Women's Act" (Secs. 3385 and 3390, R.S. 1939) did not confer upon Mrs. Keyes the right to dispose of all her property for the purpose of depriving plaintiff of his dower interest in it. These statutes merely place husband and wife on an equality in furtherance of our public policy with respect to their mutuality. The trial court erred in considering a wife has a greater legal privilege of defeating her husband's dower under Section 324, than a husband has of defeating hers under Section 325. In re Estate of Henry Wood, 288 Mo. 588; Headington v. Woodward, 214 S.W. 963.

William S. Hogsett, Alvin C. Trippe, Hale Houts, Hogsett, Trippe, Depping, Houts & James and Lewis W. Sanders for respondents.

(1) This court defers to findings of the trial chancellor supported by substantial evidence and never rejects findings based upon oral evidence unless contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Scheer v. Gerleman, 221...

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16 practice notes
  • 235 S.W.2d 844 (Mo. 1951), 41779, Zinser v. Lucks
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 15, 1951
    ...de novo and reach its own conclusions as to the facts and law giving due deference to the findings of the trial court. Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W. 2d 945. The subject matter on appeal in this case is the establishment of an easement by prescription. An easement implies an inte......
  • 238 S.W.2d 346 (Mo. 1951), 42059, Cowherd Development Co. v. Littick
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 12, 1951
    ...and determination by this court de novo. Connell v. Jersey Realty & Inv. Co., 352 Mo. 1122, 180 S.W.2d 49; Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W.2d 945; Davidson v. Eubanks, 354 Mo. 301, 189 S.W.2d 295; Sec. 114 (d), Civil Code of Missouri. (2) Assuming that it was otherwise valid, t......
  • 369 S.W.2d 592 (Mo.App. 1963), 8109, Edgar v. Fitzpatrick
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals of Missouri
    • June 27, 1963
    ...See cases at West's Missouri Digest, Descent and Distribution, k69. [16] Headington v. Woodward, Mo., 214 S.W. 963; Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W.2d 945. [17] 49 A.L.R.2d Anno. 521(5); 64 A.L.R. supra, Anno. 466(IV); 1 Scott on Trusts, supra, Sec. 57.5, p. 350; Newman v. Dore, 27......
  • 232 S.W.2d 219 (Mo.App. 1950), 6879, Murr v. Maxwell
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals of Missouri
    • July 6, 1950
    ...evidence does so convince us, then we must make our own findings of fact. Trett v. Lambeth, Mo.App., 195 S.W.2d 524; Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W.2d 945, 950. In determining the issues we are guided by certain definite legal principles. In Commission Row Club v. Lambert, Mo.App.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • 235 S.W.2d 844 (Mo. 1951), 41779, Zinser v. Lucks
    • United States
    • Missouri United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 15, 1951
    ...de novo and reach its own conclusions as to the facts and law giving due deference to the findings of the trial court. Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W. 2d 945. The subject matter on appeal in this case is the establishment of an easement by prescription. An easement implies an inte......
  • 238 S.W.2d 346 (Mo. 1951), 42059, Cowherd Development Co. v. Littick
    • United States
    • Missouri United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 12, 1951
    ...and determination by this court de novo. Connell v. Jersey Realty & Inv. Co., 352 Mo. 1122, 180 S.W.2d 49; Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W.2d 945; Davidson v. Eubanks, 354 Mo. 301, 189 S.W.2d 295; Sec. 114 (d), Civil Code of Missouri. (2) Assuming that it was otherwise valid, t......
  • 369 S.W.2d 592 (Mo.App. 1963), 8109, Edgar v. Fitzpatrick
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 27, 1963
    ...See cases at West's Missouri Digest, Descent and Distribution, k69. [16] Headington v. Woodward, Mo., 214 S.W. 963; Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W.2d 945. [17] 49 A.L.R.2d Anno. 521(5); 64 A.L.R. supra, Anno. 466(IV); 1 Scott on Trusts, supra, Sec. 57.5, p. 350; Newman v. Dore, 27......
  • 232 S.W.2d 219 (Mo.App. 1950), 6879, Murr v. Maxwell
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 6, 1950
    ...evidence does so convince us, then we must make our own findings of fact. Trett v. Lambeth, Mo.App., 195 S.W.2d 524; Hastings v. Hudson, 359 Mo. 912, 224 S.W.2d 945, 950. In determining the issues we are guided by certain definite legal principles. In Commission Row Club v. Lambert, Mo.App.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results