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In re Griffith

Court of Chancery of Delaware, New Castle County

January 19, 1953

In re GRIFFITH.

Executrix under last will and testimony of wife, who during her lifetime had acted as trustee of insane husband, filed a first and final account, and successor-trustee for insane husband filed exceptions to the account. The Court of Chancery, Bramhall, Vice-Chancellor, held that interest of insane husband in bank account held by him and wife as tenants by the entireties could not be destroyed by act of the wife, who was trustee for husband, in withdrawing the money from the joint bank account and depositing it in her own name.

Order in accordance with opinion.

Where estate of insane husband did not suffer in any manner because of failure of wife, who was trustee, to account during her lifetime, and her services were definitely valuable in collection of income and preservation of principal of estate, wife's estate was entitled to commissions after her death, though she failed to file an inventory or appraisal of estate during her lifetime.

Page 921

[33 Del.Ch. 389] Exceptions of J. Watson Miller, Sr., successor-trustee for Albert Miller Griffith, an insane person, to the first and final account of Edith Baker, executrix under the last will and testament of Hattie Griffith, who prior to her death was trustee for her husband, Albert Miller Griffith. The action was before the court for final hearing.

John M. Metten, Wilmington, for J. Watson Miller, Sr., succe ssor-trustee for Albert Miller Griffith.

Thomas Herlihy, Jr., and Morris Cohen, Wilmington, for Edith Baker, executrix under the last will and testament of Hattie Griffith, deceased.

BRAMHALL, Vice-Chancellor.

On March 12, 1948, Hattie Griffith was appointed by this court as trustee for her husband, Albert Miller Griffith, an insane person. She was duly qualified and acted as such trustee until her death on November 12, 1950. No inventory or accounting was ever filed with this court by Hattie Griffith during her lifetime. On November 22, 1950, Edith Baker was appointed as executrix under the last will and testament of Hattie Griffith, deceased. On

Page 922

December 18, 1950, J. Watson Miller, Sr. was appointed by this court as successor-trustee for the estate of the said Albert Miller Griffith.

On March 7, 1951, Edith Baker filed her first and final account on behalf of Hattie Griffith, the original trustee for Albert Miller Griffith. Exceptions to this account were filed on behalf of J. Watson Miller, Sr., the present trustee, on April 19, 1951. The facts relative to these exceptions will be hereafter set forth as they relate to the particular exception under consideration.

[33 Del.Ch. 390] Numerous exceptions were taken to this account. By stipulation of counsel it was agreed that only certain exceptions should be considered. The following questions are presented for determination:

(1) Failure of accountant to account for jointly owned personal property;

(2) The right of Hattie Griffith to charge the estate for expenses of the home ...


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