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In re Judicial Settlement of the Accounts of Lowe

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division

March 6, 1912

In the Matter of the Judicial Settlement of the Accounts of NATHAN J. LOWE and DAVID L. JOHNSTON, as Executors, etc., of SARAH J. CLEMENT, Deceased. HELEN C. SPRINGER, Appellant; JOHN DAVIDSON and Others, Respondents.

Page 348

APPEAL by Helen C. Springer from a decree of the Surrogate's Court of the county of Erie, entered in said Surrogate's Court on the 13th day of April, 1911, upon the judicial settlement of the accounts of the executors of the will of Sarah J. Clement, deceased.

COUNSEL

Vernon Cole, for the appellant.

Simon Fleischmann and George S. Potter, for the respondents.

SPRING, J.:

Mrs. Sarah J. Clement, a resident of Buffalo, died October 23, 1908, leaving a last will and testament, which was soon thereafter admitted to probate and letters testamentary issued to the executors named therein. She left one daughter, her only child or descendant, the appellant, and nephews and nieces.

By the second provision of her will she provided: 'I give, devise and bequeath to my daughter, Helen Springer, my printing office and bindery, together with all the presses, bindery machinery, type, paper on hand, office furniture and equipment of every nature connected with said business.'

She also bequeathed to the daughter her household furniture, jewelry, horses, carriages and stable equipment, the use during her natural life of a dwelling house occupied by the testatrix and the sum of $5,000 absolutely. She disposed of considerable of the residue of her property by general and specific legacies, some to relatives and some to friends, who

Page 349

were not related to her, and made the five nephews and nieces, who are the respondents, the residuary legatees and devisees.

The printing office and bindery had been organized and developed into a successful business by Mr. Clement, the hus band of testatrix and the father of the daughter Helen, and who died in February, 1907, leaving the business to his widow, who conducted it along the same lines adopted by her husband until her death, twenty months later. She had considerable other income-producing property, but the printing business, which had become profitable and extensive, she always kept separate and distinct. It was carried on in the name of her deceased husband as before his death, and the bank account connected with it was kept in the same name, so that at the time of her decease everything pertaining to it was readily ascertainable.

Her will was executed in April preceding her death. When she died there was a large contract for printing almanacs which was practically completed, and a small quantity of the almanacs had been delivered, but no part of the purchase price had been paid. Within three months this contract was fully consummated and over $11,000 paid to the executors. There were also due to the testatrix at the time of her death nearly $15,000 in open accounts and from which has been gathered in by the executors nearly $12,000, and there were liabilities of about $7,000 growing out of the printing business and about $500 in a bank to the credit of this account. The executors paid the debts from the accounts; and collected and tentatively transferred to the appellant all printed merchandise, accounts and sums collected; and by the terms of the agreement of transfer the ownership of said property was to be determined by the Surrogate's Court of Erie county.

The executors filed their account. Objections were interposed on behalf of the residuary legatees, who claimed they were entitled by the provisions of the will to all the accounts accruing from the bindery business and to the cash in banks, and that the debts arising from it should be paid out of the general ...


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