Gilmore, J.J.D.R.C., Temporarily Assigned.
The disposition of money is the problem besetting the administrator c.t.a. of the estate of Milton Mann. The financial tug of war is between Arline Mann, the widow, legatee of a specific bequest, and Jeffrey Mann, the son by a prior marriage and residuary legatee. The facts are easily capsulized and not substantially disputed.
Prior to his death on January 10, 1976 decedent operated the Mildred Mann Dress Shop located at 7715 Bergenline Avenue, North Bergen, New Jersey. He incurred obligations for merchandise, arising out of and in the course of said business and for which there are debts outstanding and due.
A reproduction of a portion of his will speaks for itself:
3. I specifically grant and bequeath to my wife Arline Mann the following property absolutely and in fee:
A. All my interest in the real and personal property at 7715 Bergenline Avenue, North Bergen, New Jersey, including the business known as Mildred Mann Dress Shop;
B. All the money in my accounts at the First National Bank of North Bergen and the North Jersey National Bank in my name or in my name trading as Mildred Mann.
The administrator is beset by antithetical contentions. The widow asserts the debts should be satisfied from the residuary estate. The son declares that the business should pay its own obligations.
No oral testimony was proffered but the court was provided with three affidavits in addition to the federal income tax return for the fiscal year 1975. The affidavits are models of brevity. The words of the accountant are too few to summarize:
Over the last several years, Mr. Mann had been spending less time in the business due to some health problems that he had. It is my opinion that this was the direct cause of the business to continue to decrease over the years. In other words, the year 1973 showed a significant diminishing of business over 1972; 1974 showed a further drop in business over 1973; and 1975 showed an
even greater drop in business over 1974. Since Mr. Mann's demise, the business has further diminished.
Next comes Marion Rosenblum, a social friend of decedent and widow for ten years. Without the use ...