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Matter of Estate of Vadney

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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Citation. 22 Ill.83 N.Y.2d 885, 612 N.Y.S.2d 375, 634 N.E.2d 976 (1994)

Brief Fact Summary. In this case decedent Catherine Vadney executed a deed conveying her house to herself and her son, Peter Vadney, and the deed failed to describe the type of tenancy created and contained no survivorship language. When decedent’s estate was probated, Peter Vadney, executor, left the house out of the listing of assets of the decedent, and the decedent’s other three children contended that the deed created a tenancy in common which would mean that her one-half interest would pass to all her children, instead of just Peter, who would take the entire property under survivorship.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Under the statutory scheme in New York, a disposition of property to two or more persons is presumed to create a tenancy in common, unless it can be shown clear and convincing evidence that the intent of the grantor was to create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship.


Facts. In this case decedent Catherine Vadney executed a deed conveying her house to herself and her son, Peter Vadney, and the deed failed to describe the type of tenancy created and contained no survivorship language. When decedent’s estate was probated, Peter Vadney, executor, left the house out of the listing of assets of the decedent, and the decedent’s other three children contended that the deed created a tenancy in common which would mean that her one-half interest would pass to all her children, instead of just Peter, who would take the entire property under survivorship. Petitioner Peter Vadney commenced this action to reform the deed and contended that the lack of language indicating a right of survivorship in the deed was contrary to grantor’s intent and was due solely to a scrivener’s error. The lower court denied the petition and the intermediate appellate court reversed the lower court and granted the petition. The Respondents, the other three children of decedent appe
aled.

Issue. What is the effect of the deed on the interests of the Petitioner and the Respondents, if any?

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