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Rinehart v. Rinehart

MAY 20, 1957.

MARY RINEHART, BY ELIZABETH E. HUFF, HER CONSERVATOR, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

HARRY RINEHART, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTOR OF ESTATE OF THOMAS RINEHART, DECEASED; COY E. SUMPTER, AND CARLINVILLE NATIONAL BANK, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin county; the Hon. L.E. WILHITE, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

JUDGE CARROLL DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied July 15, 1957.

This action arises out of a dispute over the ownership of the proceeds of a contract for the sale of real estate.

On November 9, 1953, Thomas Rinehart and Mary Rinehart, his wife, the owners as tenants in common of 100 acres of farm land in Macoupin County, Illinois, entered into a contract to sell the same to Coy E. Sumpter. The selling price was $26,000 which the purchasers agreed to pay as follows: The sum of $4,000 in cash upon the signing of the contract, and the balance of $22,000 to be paid in annual installments of $2,000, the first of which was due January 1, 1955 and similar payments on the first of each succeeding January 1 until the total balance was paid in full.

The sale contract in addition to the customary covenants found in such instruments, contains the following provisions:

"The first parties have executed and deposited with the said Carlinville National Bank a warranty deed to second party and a copy of this contract and said bank shall deliver as herein required, less such closing costs as are by law required." . . .

"Payments as herein required of second party shall be paid to said bank and deposited in the name of Thomas R. Rinehart in a checking account in said bank. . ."

A copy of said contract and the deed to Sumpter were deposited with the Carlinville National Bank.

On November 1, 1954, the parties executed an amendment to their contract by which the date of payment of the first annual installment of $2,000 was deferred to January 1, 1956. On November 9, 1953, the purchaser paid $880 as interest for which sum the bank issued a certificate of deposit payable to Thomas Rinehart. This certificate was not delivered to the payee therein but was placed on a spindle in the bank where it still remains.

On January 25, 1955, Thomas Rinehart died, leaving a Last Will and Testament in which Harry Rinehart, son of the testator, was named as sole beneficiary. Mary Rinehart was adjudged incompetent on January 31, 1955 and Elizabeth E. Huff was appointed her Conservator on October 26, 1955. Subsequently, Mary Rinehart by her Conservator, renounced the will of Thomas Rinehart.

On December 9, 1955 Sumpter paid $2,000 on the principal of the contract and $880 interest. The bank deposited this payment in a checking account in the name of Thomas Rinehart and this sum remains on deposit in said account.

The complaint filed herein on December 22, 1955 by the Conservator for Mary Rinehart alleges, in addition to the above facts, substantially that the death of Thomas Rinehart renders inoperative the directions in the contract as to the deposit of the purchase price in a checking account in his name; that the manner in which payments on the contract are to be deposited and carried by the bank is not made clear by the terms of said contract; that the executor of the Thomas Rinehart estate has failed to report to the County Court of Macoupin county the condition of the account with the bank covering payments made under the contract; that the executor has not inventoried or reported to the County Court that Mary Rinehart owns an interest in the real estate covered by the contract or in the proceeds of said contract; that Thomas Rinehart, in whose account the proceeds of the contract were to be deposited, is a trustee of the monies under the contract and deposited in his checking account; that because of his death and to prevent a failure of the trust the Circuit Court should appoint a trustee of the contract payment account; that the plaintiff's ward is the owner as a tenant in common with Harry Rinehart of an undivided two-thirds interest in the real estate described in the contract of sale and in the proceeds of said contract; that the interest of plaintiff's ward should be segregated from that of the estate of Thomas Rinehart, deceased and administered under direction of the Circuit Court. Joined as parties defendant are Harry Rinehart, individually and as executor of the estate of Thomas Rinehart, deceased, Coy E. Sumpter and Carlinville National Bank. The relief prayed in the complaint is a declaratory judgment determining the interests of all parties under the contract and in addition the appointment of a trustee to receive the purchase monies payable under the contract and to divide the same between plaintiff's ward and the Thomas Rinehart estate according to the respective interests of each therein as determined by the court.

Upon answer being filed, the court heard the evidence and entered a decree in favor of the defendants. In its decree the court found that under the contract, Mary Rinehart intended to and did actually assign, transfer and convey all of her interest therein, and all monies payable thereunder to her husband, Thomas Rinehart, and that as a result all monies due and to become due under said contract became and are the sole property of Thomas Rinehart; and that plaintiff having renounced the will of Thomas Rinehart, is entitled to a one-third interest in his estate including the proceeds of the contract deposited with the Carlinville National Bank.

Plaintiff appeals from the decree contending that the trial court erred in holding as it did that Mary Rinehart made a gift inter vivos to Thomas ...


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