McGregor v. Keun, No. 16755.

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation330 Ill. 106,161 N.E. 99
PartiesMcGREGOR v. KEUN.
Decision Date21 April 1928
Docket NumberNo. 16755.

330 Ill. 106
161 N.E. 99

McGREGOR
v.
KEUN.

No. 16755.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

April 21, 1928.


Commissioners' Opinion.

Suit by Fannie McGregor, conservatrix of Christiana Keun against Lawrence Keun. Decree for plaintiff, and defendant appeals.

Reversed and remanded, with directions.


[330 Ill. 107]Appeal from Circuit Court, Cook County; Hugo M. Friend, Judge.

T. Fred Laramie, of Chicago, for appellant.

Murphy O. Tate, of Chicago, for appellee.


CROW, C.

This cause comes by appeal from a decree of the circuit court of Cook county setting aside two deeds executed by Christiana Keun to her son, Lawrence Keun, appellant, on the ground of her mental incompetence to execute them. The first deed, conveying part of the property, consisting of lots in Chicago, was executed January 25, 1922. The second was executed February 18, 1922, conveying the remainder of the lots. Both conveyances were warranty deeds. The latter deed was made subject to a mortgage executed by the grantor securing the payment of a promissory note for $1,000. The first deed recited a consideration of $10; the second, $1 ‘and other good and valuable considerations.’

The grounds for setting aside the conveyances were that at the time of their execution, and for some time previous [330 Ill. 108]thereto, Christiana Keun was of extremely old age and suffering from an advanced stage of senile dementia, ‘completely disoriented,’ and suffering from complete loss of memory both as to recent and past events, wholly without memory, and absolutely incompetent to discuss any affairs involving business judgment or reason; that for state of mind was so unbalanced that she did not know that the so-called warranty deeds which she was signing were, in fact, warranty deeds which transferred the ownership of her property to her son Lawrence, but was led to believe that they were papers which had something to do with the settlement of her deceased husband's estate and which would secure her rights in

[161 N.E. 100]

her property. Other charges in the bill are that Lawrence knew of her incompetency, loss of memory, and senile dementia from which she was suffering, and by the use of undue arts, fraudulent practices, falsehoods, and misrepresentations induced her to execute the deeds in fraud of herself and her other heirs at law, in order that he, alone, might obtain title to and immediate possession of all her property, ‘for his own gain and financial aggrandizement’; that she was at the time of the execution of the deeds under his domination and control and under improper restraint and undue influence by reason of said fraudulent practices. The bill avers that on November 17, 1923, on a hearing before a jury in the probate court, Mrs. Keun was found to be incompetent, wholly incapable of managing her estate or transacting business affairs of any nature or of caring for her personal property, and that she was suffering from an advanced stage of senile dementia, with complete loss of memory as to recent and past events, and that on that day the complainant was appointed conservatrix of her estate.

The answer of defendant admitted the execution of the deeds. It averred they were not without consideration, but that for many years defendant had lived with and supported his father and mother and paid all costs and expenses incident[330 Ill. 109]to the maintenance of the property, including taxes, special assessments, repairs, and general upkeep of the property, and that his mother was living with him and had made her home with him since the death of his father. He stated that it was the wish of his father that the deeds should be made conveying the property to him, and that he was supporting, maintaining, clothing, and caring for his mother in a manner becoming their station in life. He denied specifically all other charges in the bill. He averred that on November 17, 1923, the complainant surreptitiously filed a petition in the probate court by which she was appointed conservatrix of his mother, and that neither he nor his brother had notice of the petition; that on January 5, 1922, one of the daughters, a sister of the complainant, filed a petition asking that Mrs. Keun be declared incompetent, and that upon a hearing on the petition in the probate court on March 9, 1922, a summons having been served upon Mrs. Keun a jury found that:

‘Christiana Keun is not a distracted person, and that she is capable of managing and controlling her estate.’

To the first petition was appended the following:

‘I hereby consent to act as conservatrix as prayed herein-Fannie McGregor.’

The only contention is that on January 25, 1922, and February 18, 1922, Mrs. Keun was incompetent, on account of senile dementia, to execute the deeds conveying the property to her son Lawrence. No evidence was introduced or offered tending to prove the specific charges of misconduct, deceit, or fraud on the part of Lawrence. The decree rests solely upon the charge in the bill of Mrs. Keun's mental incompetence. Much testimony was given at the hearing before a jury on the subject of her mental condition. The insistence is that for a period of time antedating the death of her husband she was incompetent, mentally. Witnesses interested in the result of the suit testified that while her husband lay dead in the home she did not seem to care-that she did not seem sorrowful. At least one witness said [330 Ill. 110]‘she seemed dazed.’ While her husband was in the hospital on account of the injury from which he died, she said he would get well. She did not seem to worry, and after he died she did not seem to ‘show any disturbance or sorrow.’ At the funeral she acted like a woman burying a friend. She did not cry. The witness did not see a tear. Her brother saw her twice after the funeral. She never mentioned her husband and seemed to be pleasant and did not seem to bother any. At her daughter's home on Chicago avenue, she appeared to be happy. She said she was glad to be with the girls; that she had been a prisoner where she was; that she was perfectly happy with her daughters; that the woman staying at the place where she was went out every afternoon and left her alone with a small dog, and that was all the company she had. She stayed there and seemed to be happy for probably two or three weeks, and ‘then she commenced to long for her home where she had lived so long; she wanted to go home.’ Her brother thought that for two or three years before her husband died she was not competent to transact any kind of business; that the condition had grown worse since her husband's death. This witness detailed purported conversations with her about her son Lawrence's ill treatment of her, which were objected to and the objections overruled, and a motion to strike the answers was denied. That testimony was clearly incompetent.

Another witness, a nephew of Mrs. Keun, testified that at her husband's funeral she giggled and laughed like an old lady at a festive gathering. She did not cry while witness was there. Later he drove up in front of the porch where she was sitting and spoke to her. She did not invite him into the house. He noticed a change in her mind-‘a lapse of memory’-about six years before the trial of this case. He expressed the opinion she was not competent to manage her business affairs for at least five years. He recited this episode: At the Odd Fellows' Hall in Maywood, the sixtieth wedding anniversary[330 Ill. 111]of Mr. and Mrs. Keun was being celebrated.

[161 N.E. 101]

Witness and his wife went up to them. ‘She knew my wife and called her by name; when I went up to her she did not answer my salutation; my wife said, ‘You know Art?’ She said, ‘No; I don't think I ever met the gentleman before.’' She was a splendid housekeeper, but sometimes would forget things. Sometimes she would remember and other times she would not. She was not like she used to be. One witness, a brother, testified that she did not know the names of her children in 1920 and 1921; that she invited him to have some Holland cheese, and when she set the table she could not find it; that before her husband died she did not seem to worry or feel sorry or act as if anything were wrong; that after he died she did not show any disturbance or sorrow. The opinion of this witness was that for two or three years before her husband died she was not competent to transact business of any kind. Another witness, a sister, testified to substantially the same facts, and that while Mrs. Keun's husband was in the hospital ‘she had a hallucination that there was a woman in pa's room.’ She insisted that the property was in her name after it had in fact been conveyed by deed to Lawrence. Other brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, testified to substantially the same facts. A psychiatrist testified that in October, 1923, he examined Mrs. Keun, and that ‘her judgment and memory were absolutely gone.’ Other witnesses apparently friendly to the complainant and unfriendly to the defendant testified to acts in 1920 and 1921 that led them to believe she was ‘donfused in all places where she had been in previous years and as to persons she had known in former years.’ At the trial of this case the complainant put her on the stand as a witness.

In the latter part of December, 1921, Mrs. Keun executed a mortgage to the Proviso State Bank to provide money for taking care of her husband while in the hospital. He had been seriously injured and died of the injury in [330 Ill. 112]January, 1922. A. W. Holden, vice president of the bank, made the arrangements with her for the loan. He testified that she often came to the bank. When she came, she was alone. The loan was discussed by him with her ‘and the other members of the family.’ He talked with Lawrence and Mrs. Jacob Keun. Holden testified that he then had no reason to believe her...

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12 practice notes
  • Bowman v. Illinois Cent. R. Co., Gen. No. 46705
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 5 Marzo 1956
    ...competent from July 1948 on. In speaking of the testimony of physicians, not medical experts, the Supreme court said in McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106, 118, 161 N.E. 99, Page 572 "It has never been held in this state that the testimony of doctors upon the subject of mental capacity is entit......
  • Shadden v. Zimmerlee, No. 30643.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 24 Septiembre 1948
    ...in which he now finds himself due to his fraudulent transfer. In support of this contention the appellant cites McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106, 161 N.E. 99;Dickson v. Keehn, 263 Ill.App. 146, and Ashelford v. Willis, 194 Ill 492, 62 N.E. 817. McGregor v. Keun involved the mental condition o......
  • Schuler v. Schuler, No. 29460
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 15 Mayo 1956
    ...B.Mon. 99, 44 Ky. 99; Wathen v. Skaggs, 161 Ky. 600, 171 S.W. 193; Hentz v. Wallace's Adm'r, 153 Va. 437, 150 S.E. 389; McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106, 161 N.E. 99; Black v. Boyer, Tex.Civ.App., 21 S.W.2d 1094. Otherwise stated, 'inferences of fact and presumptions usually do not run backwa......
  • Lindberg v. Mut. Nat. Bank of Chicago, Gen. No. 42265.
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • 5 Abril 1943
    ...Ry. Co. v. Mills, 91 Ill. 39;Langdon v. People, 133 Ill. 382-404, 24 N.E. 874;Kelly v. Nusbaum, 244 Ill. 158, 91 N.E. 72;McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106-114, 161 N.E. 99;Kasbohm v. Miller, 366 Ill. 484-498, 9 N.E.2d 216. In County of McHenry v. Town of Dorr, 39 Ill.App. 240, suit was brought......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Bowman v. Illinois Cent. R. Co., Gen. No. 46705
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 5 Marzo 1956
    ...competent from July 1948 on. In speaking of the testimony of physicians, not medical experts, the Supreme court said in McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106, 118, 161 N.E. 99, Page 572 "It has never been held in this state that the testimony of doctors upon the subject of mental capacity is entit......
  • Shadden v. Zimmerlee, No. 30643.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 24 Septiembre 1948
    ...in which he now finds himself due to his fraudulent transfer. In support of this contention the appellant cites McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106, 161 N.E. 99;Dickson v. Keehn, 263 Ill.App. 146, and Ashelford v. Willis, 194 Ill 492, 62 N.E. 817. McGregor v. Keun involved the mental condition o......
  • Schuler v. Schuler, No. 29460
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 15 Mayo 1956
    ...B.Mon. 99, 44 Ky. 99; Wathen v. Skaggs, 161 Ky. 600, 171 S.W. 193; Hentz v. Wallace's Adm'r, 153 Va. 437, 150 S.E. 389; McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106, 161 N.E. 99; Black v. Boyer, Tex.Civ.App., 21 S.W.2d 1094. Otherwise stated, 'inferences of fact and presumptions usually do not run backwa......
  • Lindberg v. Mut. Nat. Bank of Chicago, Gen. No. 42265.
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • 5 Abril 1943
    ...Ry. Co. v. Mills, 91 Ill. 39;Langdon v. People, 133 Ill. 382-404, 24 N.E. 874;Kelly v. Nusbaum, 244 Ill. 158, 91 N.E. 72;McGregor v. Keun, 330 Ill. 106-114, 161 N.E. 99;Kasbohm v. Miller, 366 Ill. 484-498, 9 N.E.2d 216. In County of McHenry v. Town of Dorr, 39 Ill.App. 240, suit was brought......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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