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Howard Savings Institution v. Quatra

Decided: November 9, 1955.

HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION, ETC., AND FRANKLIN SAVINGS INSTITUTION OF NEWARK, N.J., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MARIA QUATRA, AN INFANT, ETC., AND ROSE QUATRA, DEFENDANTS



Drewen, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).

Drewen

Suit is brought by the plaintiff banks primarily for instructions respecting the disposition of funds in the "trust deposit" account opened in each of them by decedent Tom Quatra in his lifetime. The plaintiff institutions will be referred to respectively as Franklin and Howard.

The account in Franklin was opened October 4, 1948, under the designation "Tom Quatra, in trust for Maria Quatra, daughter." Said Maria Quatra is a minor. The account in Howard was opened May 28, 1951 under the designation "Tom Quatra in trust for Mary Anna Quatra." On April 10, 1953 decedent made a withdrawal from the Franklin account and at his death there was a balance remaining of $311.64. On July 2, 1953 he withdrew from the Howard account the sum of $1,000, and at his death there was a balance there remaining of $17,273.28. Decedent died September 23, 1953, leaving a last will and testament in which provision is made for each of his children, for his widow, the defendant Rose Quatra, and for his adopted daughter, the said Mary Anna Quatra. The will disposes of his entire estate, though it makes no mention as such of either of said deposit accounts. The plaintiff Howard was named executor and has qualified.

The widow contends that the funds remaining in the two accounts should be paid to the executor for distribution under the will. The infant daughter contends that title to those funds passed to her upon decedent's death and that they should be disbursed accordingly. The latter contention is based upon the claimed effect of pertinent statutes in force at the time the accounts were opened. Two statutes are here involved. That which governs the Franklin account is L. 1948, c. 67 (Art. 35, par. 216); that governing the Howard account is L. 1949, c. 286 (R.S. 17:9 A -216). We shall consider the Howard account first.

The statute (supra) in effect at the time the Howard account was opened provides inter alia as follows (italics supplied):

"A. A banking institution may accept demand or time deposits in the name of an individual depositor as trustee or in trust for a named beneficiary. The depositor, by making such deposits, shall conclusively be presumed to intend to declare and create a trust of such deposits and of any credits of interest, for the beneficiary, with the depositor as trustee, upon the following terms:

(1) the trust shall be revocable by the trustee at will, during the life of the beneficiary, but only by and to the extent of withdrawals by the trustee of funds of the trust during the trustee's life, as to which withdrawals no notice to or consent of the beneficiary shall be required;

(3) if the beneficiary survives the trustee, the trustee's death shall terminate the trust and any funds then to the credit of the trust and any interest credits shall vest indefeasibly in the beneficiary, notwithstanding any one or more of the following, viz.: declarations by the trustee as to his intention in declaring, creating and maintaining the trust or as to the terms of the trust or other evidence contrary to the trustee's conclusively presumed intention , retention of control by the trustee over the evidence of and the funds of the trust, personal use by the trustee of funds of the trust, lack of notice by the trustee to the beneficiary as to the creation and maintenance of the trust, any attempted testamentary disposition by the trustee of funds of the trust, or any other attempted disposition by the trustee of funds of the trust by gift, assignment, pledge or otherwise;

(5) if the beneficiary survives the trustee and is under eighteen years of age at the trustee's death the banking institution may pay the funds to the credit of the trust and any credits of interest

(a) to the beneficiary or upon his order when or after he becomes eighteen years of age, or

(b) to the legal guardian of the beneficiary, wherever appointed, or

(c) if a certificate of appointment of a legal guardian is not filed with the banking institution, to a person authorized to receive such moneys pursuant ...


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