Personal Property – Gifts Causa Mortis – Effect of Informal Writing Where There is No Actual Delivery
Prior to entering the hospital to undergo a serious operation, the decedent wrote an informal note to her husband telling him where he would find some money, a bank passbook, and a building and loan association stock book, which were hidden in their home. The note stated that this property was his. While the wife was under ether on the operating table, her husband found the note, after being directed to its location by a friend of the wife, and took possession of the items referred to. The wife did not recover consciousness and subsequently died. In an action by the personal representatives of the decedent to recover possession of the property, the trial court found that there was not sufficient delivery to perfect a gift causa mortis. The appellate division of the Superior Court reversed. On certification to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, held, reversed, three justices dissenting. An informal ·writing does not satisfy the separate and distinct requirement of delivery for a gift causa mortis. Foster v. Reiss, 18 N.J. 41, 112 A. (2d) 553 (1955).