Alger v. North End Sav. Bank

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Citation146 Mass. 418,15 N.E. 916
PartiesALGER v. NORTH END SAV. BANK, (WOOD, Claimant.)
Decision Date06 March 1888

146 Mass. 418
15 N.E. 916


Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.

March 6, 1888.

Reported case from superior court, Suffolk county; MASON, Judge.

Action of contract by Edwin A. Alger, administrator of George C. Trumbull, against the defendant, to recover $1,000 deposited by the plaintiff, testator, with the defendant. Achsie J. Wood intervened as claimant under the provisions of Pub.St. c. 116, § 31, and the court, hearing the case without a jury, found for the claimant, and by agreement of parties reported the case to the supreme judicial court. The facts are stated in the opinion.

[146 Mass. 421]J.G. Abbott and A.B. Alger, for plaintiff.

The case comes here precisely in the same way as Sherman v. Bank, 138 Mass. 581, came before this court, under Pub.St. c. 153, § 14. The only question is whether the deposit in question was given to the claimant by the plaintiff's testate, Trumbull, in his life-time, so that she can claim it against Trumbull, if living, and, he being dead, against his administrator. The plaintiff claims that there was never a perfected gift; that there never existed even the intention on the part of Trumbull to put the control of the deposit out of his power during his life-time; that, at most, it was but an attempt to make a testamentary disposition of the money without complying with the provisions of law required to make a valid will. The whole evidence to sustain the gift comes from the claimant. An intention to make a gift, or even the most clear and distinct promise to make one, is never sufficient to pass the title to personal property. There must be an actual delivery of the thing, if capable of delivery, and in all other cases some act by law equivalent to delivery. Sherman v. Bank, supra; Nutt v. Morse, 142 Mass. 1, 6 N.E.Rep.

[15 N.E. 917]

763; Hayden v. Hayden, 142 Mass. 448, 8 N.E.Rep. 437; Snowden v. Reid, 8 Atl.Rep. 661. The deposit of money in a savings bank in the owner's name as trustee for another is never sufficient to make a gift. There must be other acts proved to make a perfected gift. Nutt v. Morse, supra, and cases there cited. The burden to prove a perfected gift or conveyance is upon the defendant, and very clearly she does not sustain that burden.

Wm. C. Williamson, for claimant.

The deposit in the case at bar was made in strict accordance with the provisions of Pub.St. c. 116, § 32, and therefore it “may be paid to the person for whom such deposit was made, or to his legal representative,” unless there is extraneous evidence to control it. It was made in accordance with a bylaw of the bank. The deposit book contained the following among the bylaws of the bank: “Art. 11. Any depositor may designate at the time of making the deposit the period for which he is desirous that...

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