Contracts Keyed to Calamari
Drewen v. Bank of Manhattan Co.
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The Plaintiff, John Drewen, administrator c.t.a. of the estate of Doris Ryer Nixon ("Ms. Nixon")(the "Plaintiff") brought suit against the Defendant, the Bank of Manhattan Co., executor of Stanhope Wood Nixon's ("Mr. Nixon") estate (the "Defendant"). On July 27, 1945, Ms. Dixon and Mr. Nixon entered into a divorce settlement in which Mr. Nixon agreed "never to reduce the quantity or quality of the children's interests in his estate, as set forth in a will executed on the same day as the agreement." Each child, Lewis Nixon and Blanche Nixon, was to receive about 30% of Mr. Nixon's estate in fee. If one child died, the other would receive the deceased child's interest. Ms. Dixon died intestate in 1948. In 1951, Mr. Nixon executed a new will, the effect of which revoked his July 27, 1945 will. Specifically, instead of fee interests, the children were given life estates in his property. If one of the children died, the other child was to receive their life estate. The remainders were to go to charities. There was an in terrorem clause in the will, which in effect avoids a disposition if a will contest is brought. Blanche Nixon died in 1955 and Lewis Nixon succeeded to her shares, regardless of which will was operative. Mr. Nixon died in 1958, and his 1951 will was admitted to probate. The Chancery Division and the Appellate division both dismissed the Plaintiff's suit.
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