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Carney v. Kosko

Decided: June 14, 1962.

CARNEY, ADMINISTRATOR, ETC. ET AL.
v.
KOSKO



Appeal from the Orphans' Court of Baltimore City; Friedman, Valle and Baker, JJ.

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

Prescott

The sole question involved herein is whether the paper writing executed by Mary Schlutter on December 30, 1954, was a valid codicil to her last will and testament.

On August 2, 1940, Miss Schlutter, a spinster, executed a will in which she left her entire estate in trust during the lives of her two brothers for their benefit; and upon the death of the survivor of them, the corpus was to be divided among nine charitable corporations. Both brothers having died, she executed a codicil on December 10, 1946, in which she revoked the trust provisions, provided a specific bequest of $75,000 to a cousin, and directed that the residue be distributed among the nine charitable corporations above mentioned. On April 14, 1952, a second codicil was made, the effect of which was to revoke the first codicil and reinstate the provisions of the will of August 2, 1940. All of these instruments were formally and expertly drawn, obviously the products of professional hands.

Thereafter, on March 16, 1954, certain litigation between Miss Schlutter and her cousin resulted in a decree of the Circuit Court of Baltimore City in which (a) the cousin's petition for the appointment of a committee for her was denied; (b) her assets were vested in Elmer H. Miller, trustee, during her lifetime; and (c) upon her death part of the assets of the trust were "to be turned over, conveyed, deeded and delivered to the executor of the last will and testament of Mary Schlutter" and the other part was to be given to the cousin. By decree dated April 12, 1954, Eldridge Young and Edward S. Panetti were substituted as trustees. Thereafter Mr. Young died and Mr. Panetti became sole trustee. This was the status of her estate at the time of her death on March 4, 1960.

For some eight years prior thereto, she had been living in a large home, owned by her, with the appellee and appellee's husband. Miss Schlutter was more or less an invalid. The appellee was her nurse, companion and housekeeper; the husband

acted as a handyman. For their services, they were paid $55 a week by the trustee, Mr. Panetti.

On December 30, 1954, Miss Schlutter wrote, in longhand, the following document (Exhibit 1):

"December 30, 1954.

Mr. Pannete

Please *fn1000 give 1000 ...


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