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Mitchell v. Register of Wills for Baltimore City

Decided: January 9, 1962.

MITCHELL
v.
REGISTER OF WILLS FOR BALTIMORE CITY ET AL.



Appeal from the Baltimore City Court; Harlan, J.

Brune, C. J., and Henderson, Prescott, Horney and Marbury, JJ. Marbury, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

Marbury

This is another savings bank deposit case, but it is unlike any of the numerous ones that have preceded it, in that it involves the imposition of inheritance tax.

At the death of Charles R. Mitchell, brother of the appellant, on August 21, 1956, there was in the Central Savings Bank of Baltimore an account in the following form:

"Sadie Mitchell in trust for self and Charles R. Mitchell, joint owners, subject to the order of Sadie Mitchell during the life of both, the balance at the death of either to belong to the survivor."

The Register of Wills for Baltimore City assessed an inheritance tax of 7 1/2% on one-half of the balance in said account at the death of Charles R. Mitchell pursuant to Code (1957), Article 81, ยงยง 150 and 151,*fn1 which tax, amounting to $37.66, was paid by appellant.

Appellant filed a timely claim for refund, which was rejected by the register of wills. She thereafter appealed to the Maryland Tax Court, which affirmed the action of the register of wills; whereupon she appealed to the Baltimore City Court.

The only testimony at the hearing before the Maryland Tax Court was that of appellant to the effect that all the funds in said account represented deposits made by her out of her own money, and interest thereon. Counsel agreed that appellant's testimony before the Maryland Tax Court would be treated as her testimony in the Baltimore City Court.

The Baltimore City Court affirmed the decision of the Maryland Tax Court and from the determination and judgment thereon for costs she appeals to this Court.

The appellant makes two contentions: (1) There was no taxable beneficial interest in the account in Charles R. Mitchell that would pass to her on his death; and (2) that even if such an interest did exist, there is no basis upon which the State can value said interest at one-half of the balance in the account at the time of his death.

This Court has many times held, and appellant concedes, that the bank accounts such as the one in question here, opened by her, constitute a presumptively valid, but rebuttable, trust. Tribull v. Tribull, 208 Md. 490, 119 A.2d 399; Whittington v. Whittington, 205 Md. 1, 106 A.2d 72; Bierau v. Bohemian Bldg., Etc., Ass'n, 205 Md. 456, 109 A.2d 120; Hancock v. Savings Bank of Balto., 199 Md. 163, 85 A.2d 770; Bradford v. Eutaw Savings Bank, 186 Md. 127, 46 A.2d 284; Ragan v. Kelly, 180 Md. 324, 24 A.2d 289; Bollack v. ...


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