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Romanchick v. Howard Savings Institution

Decided: September 22, 1937.

ANDREW ROMANCHICK, EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF JOHN URBANOWICZ, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from a judgment of the Essex County Circuit Court.

For the plaintiff-appellant, Rospond & Rospond.

For the defendant-respondent, Pitney, Hardin & Skinner and Frederick Frelinghuysen.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. This is an appeal from a judgment of the Essex County Circuit Court entered in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff by a judge of said court to whom the case was submitted upon an agreed state of facts.

Plaintiff sued as executor of the estate of John Urbanowicz for a sum on deposit with the defendant bank in the name of his decedent at the time of his death on April 15th, 1936.

Urbanowicz died in Canada, while visiting in that country, and on May 22d, 1936, the Surrogate's Court in Canada appointed Toronto General Trusts Corporation, a public administrator, as administrator of his estate and letters were issued. On June 5th, 1936, the Canadian administrator demanded payment of the $2,526.69 on deposit with the defendant, presenting evidence of its administration, passbook, &c., and on June 9th, 1936, the defendant made payment in accordance with this demand.

The agreed state of facts admits that at the time of his death Urbanowicz was really domiciled in the town of Irvington, New Jersey, and was merely visiting in Canada; that decedent left a last will and testament which named plaintiff as executor; that on or about July 22d, 1936, plaintiff notified defendant of the true facts and of his claim as executor to the bank deposit; the will was admitted to probate on August 4th, 1936. There is no suggestion or claim that there was any property of the decedent located in Canada which could be a subject of administration. The passbook was found among his personal effects when he died.

After his qualification as executor, plaintiff demanded the deposit, or fifty per cent. thereof pending production of inheritance tax waivers, in accordance with the regulations. This is what he seeks in the present action.

The court below held that the claim of the plaintiff was in effect a collateral attack upon the decree of the Canadian court and that this could not be made in the present action. He therefore entered judgment for the defendant.

Appellant argues first that the payment to the administrator appointed in Canada was unauthorized by law. It is claimed that an administrator has no authority to act outside of the jurisdiction in which he is appointed. This may be true so far as his right to enforce collection of debts goes, but the holding of our cases is that payment to a foreign administrator protects the debtor even though the administrator could not have enforced collection by suit. It is held that the personal representative is entitled to the ...


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