Mrs Frances Waterman v. Bank Trust Company

Decision Date08 November 1909
Docket NumberCANAL-LOUISIANA,No. 306,306
Citation30 S.Ct. 10,54 L.Ed. 80,215 U.S. 33
PartiesMRS. FRANCES E. WATERMAN, Wife of Charles A. Crane, Appt., v. BANK & TRUST COMPANY, Executor of the Last Will and Testament of Caroline Stannard Tilton, Deceased, et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. E. Howard McCaleb and E. Howard McCaleb, Jr., for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 34-37 intentionally omitted] Messrs. Edgar H. Farrar, James McConnell, Charles E. Fenner, George C. Walsh, George H. Terriberry, H. Garland Duper, Walter Guion, Victor Leovy, William C. Dufour, S. McC. Lawrason, Pierre Crabites, and H. Generes Dufour for appellees.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 37-38 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of the court:

This case presents a question of jurisdiction concerning the right of the United States circuit court to entertain a certain bill in equity. Frances E. Waterman, wife of Charles A. Crane, a resident of Chicago, in the state of Illinois, and a citizen of that state, joined by her husband, also a citizen of Illinois, brought the suit in the United States circuit court against the Canal-Louisiana Bank & Trust Company, executor of the last will and testament of Caroline Stannard Tilton, Deceased, a citizen of the state of Louisiana and an inhabitant of the east- ern district of Louisiana, and also against the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, St. Ann's Asylum, Protestant Episcopal Orphan Asylum, Home for Incurables, Christian Woman's Exchange, State Insane Asylum of Jackson, Louisiana, city of New Orleans, and Louisiana Retreat, conducted by the Society of the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul, all and each of them being institutions established under the laws of Louisiana, and citizens of the state of Louisiana, and inhabitants of the eastern district of Louisiana; also against Robert Waterman and Frederick Waterman, citizens of the state of Louisiana, and inhabitants of the eastern district thereof. The bill set forth in substance: That Caroline Stannard Tilton, widow of Frederick W. Tilton, late of the city of New Orleans, duly made and published her last will and testament and codicils thereunto annexed, and by said will and codicils said Caroline Stannard Tilton gave and bequeathed to Robert Waterman the sum of $3,000; to the said Robert Waterman and his wife, fifteen premium bonds; to Frederick Waterman, $3,000; to Frederick Tilton Davis, $1,000, and the whole series of No. 5,963 premium bonds. That the said Caroline Stannard Tilton departed this life on or about the 6th of July, 1908; that the Canal-Louisiana Bank & Trust Company, executor in said will named, duly proved the same in the court of probate jurisdiction in and for the parish of Orleans, in the state of Louisiana, and undertook the executorship thereof, and possessed itself of the personal estate and effects to the said testatrix to a very considerable amount, and more than sufficient to discharge her just debts, funeral expenses, and legacies.

The complainant further avers that she is the sole surviving niece, and that Robert and Frederick Waterman and Frederick Tilton Davis are the sole surviving nephews, of said Caroline Stannard Tilton, and that there are no other persons within the nearest degree of kinship of the said testatrix; and that the said Frederick Tilton Davis resides in the state of Alabama, outside of the court's jurisdiction.

She avers that the said Robert Waterman, Frederick Water- man, and Frederick Tilton Davis, legatees in said will, became entitled to have and receive their said respective legacies, and did receive the same, and, accordingly, by receiving said bequests, have renounced the succession of said Caroline Stannard Tilton, deceased, and, by taking said legacies, have renounced all their rights as heirs at law, and are estopped and debarred from claiming any portion of the estate undisposed of, because of certain provisions of the will, which are set forth in the bill.

It is further averred by the complainant that, by reason of the renunciation and estoppel of said legatees, the complainant remains the sole heir at law of Caroline Stannard Tilton, and, as such, is entitled to the shares which would have gone to Frederick and Robert Waterman and Frederick Tilton Davis, of the same degree and collateral line, by right of accretion.

She further avers that said will bequeathed to the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, $2,000; St. Ann's Asylum, $2,000; Protestant Episcopal Orphan Asylum, $2,000; Home for Incurables, $2,000; Home for Insane, $3,000; and to the Christian Woman's Exchange, $1,000; and that after satisfaction of the foregoing special legacies and bequests, and after payment of all costs and expenses of settlement of the estate, if any remained thereof undisposed of, the testatrix willed and directed that such residue should be divided between the beneficiaries of the charitable bequests heretofore made to the various institutions, the divisions to be made pro rata, in proportion to the amount of special legacies already made to them, respectively. She avers that at the time of making said will, and at the time of the death of said testatrix, there was no such institution or corporation in existence known as Home for Insane, nor was the testatrix capable of incorporating any such institution under her will; and that said special legacy for $3,000, and the pro rata share of the residue, remained undisposed of because of the facts stated, and thereby the sum of $3,000 and the pro rata share of the proportion of the estate undisposed of devolved upon the complainant as sole legal heir and next of kin to said Caroline Stannard Tilton. And it was averred that the Christian Woman's Exchange was not entitled to share in the residue, because the bequest to it of $1,000 was not a charitable bequest, and the said Christian Woman's Exchange was not one of the institutions mentioned in the will to share in the residue.

Complainant states that the insane asylum situated at Jackson, Louisiana, the Louisiana Retreat, conducted by the Society of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and the city of New Orleans, claim and assert their right to take and receive the amount of said lapsed and caducous legacies, asserting that the testatrix intended them as beneficiaries of her bounty, and asparticular legacies under her will, instead of the Home for Insane. And the plaintiff denies, for reasons stated in the bill, that either of them is entitled to receive such legacies intended for the Home for Insane, and she charges that the amount falling to her as sole legal heir and next of kin, because of her right to the lapsed legacies bequeathed to the nonexisting Home for Insane's share in the residue, together with that part and proportion of the estate accessory and appurtenant thereto, exceeds the sum of $90,000, which she is entitled to out of the estate. She charges that the estate, after payment of the special legacies, charges, and costs of administration, will amount to more than a residue of $350,000. She charges that the executor refuses to do or make any satisfaction whatever in respect to her just demands, and the complainant avers that she has no sufficient remedy under the rules of common law, and must resort to a court of equity for adequate relief. And the prayer of the bill is: 'Wherefore, your oratrix prays that this court do order, adjudge, and decree that (1) that the particular legacy contained in the last will and testament of Caroline Stannard Tilton, deceased, to socalled 'Home for Insane,' and also the interest of said legatee in the residue or residuum of said testatrix's estate, be declared caducous, to have lapsed, because of the uncertainty and nonexistence of said legatee; (2) that it be further declared and decreed that Robert Waterman and Fred- erick Waterman have renounced and abandoned all their right, title, and interest as heirs of said Caroline Stannard Tilton, deceased, in the said lapsed and caducous legacy made in favor of the so-called 'Home for Insane;' (3) that it be further adjudged and decreed that your oratrix, as the nearest sole heir and next of kin of said Caroline Stannard Tilton, deceased, capable of inheriting, is alone entitled to the amount of the caducous and lapsed special legacy bequeathed to the said so-called 'Home for Insane,' for the sum of three thousand dollars ($3,000), and to the proportionate share of said nonexisting and uncertain legatee in the residue of the estate of said Caroline Stannard Tilton, and that the Canal-Louisiana Bank & Trust Company, executor of said deceased, Caroline Stannard Tilton, be condemned to pay over and deliver to your oratrix the whole amount of said caducous special legacy, together with the proportionate share and interest to said so-called 'Home for Insane' in the residue of the estate of said deceased remaining after the payment of the particular legacies and the costs of administration of her estate, and for such further sum as the court may find to be justly due and owing unto your oratrix as legal heir and next of kin of the said Caroline Stannard Tilton; (4) and that it be further ordered and decreed that the Christian Woman's Exchange is not a charitable institution, or entitled, as such, under said will to participate or receive any share or portion of the residue of the estate of said deceased; (5) and that an account be taken of the personal estate and effects of the said testatrix coming to the hands of the said executor, or of any person or persons by its order or for its use, and also of the said testatrix's funeral expenses, debts, legacies, and costs of administration, and especially showing the residue remaining in the hands of the said executor after making the aforesaid deduction, and that the same may be applied in due course of administration, and that, for these purposes, proper directions may be given.

'And your oratrix further prays for...

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