Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook county; the Hon. JOHN T.
DEMPSEY, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.
JUSTICE SCHWARTZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
This is an appeal by the residuary legatee, Home for Destitute Crippled Children, from an order directing the executors of the estate of Lillian E. Allen to distribute to the plaintiffs shares of corporate stock which accrued as the result of stock splits, together with dividends paid thereon after the testatrix's death. Lillian E. Allen, a spinster 80 years old, executed her will November 15, 1950. Her estate at the time of the will and at the time of her death consisted of household goods, cash and shares of stock in six corporations. Two of these corporations, General Electric Company and General Motors Corporation, declared stock splits on the basis of three shares for one. General Electric Company distributed its stock June 11, 1954 and General Motors Corporation, November 7, 1955. The testatrix died December 16, 1955. The question presented is whether the trial court properly directed distribution of these additional shares to plaintiffs as legatees under the will.
The will, after bequeathing household goods and personal effects to her cousin, Myra Johnson, provided:
"I give and bequeath unto my sister-in-law, Ann J. Allen, . . . 330 shares of General Motors common stock."
In the same language the testatrix bequeathed the following:
To Joseph H. Allen, nephew, 70 shares of American Telephone and Telegraph Company stock and 40 shares of Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company common stock:
To Myra Johnson, cousin, 440 shares of Commonwealth Edison Company common stock;
To Lilly Woodfin, friend, 150 shares of Walgreen Company common stock;
To Deaconess Ruth M. Sargent, friend, 140 shares of General Electric Company common stock;
To Ruth E. Holmes, friend, 60 shares of General Electric Company common stock; and
To Fifteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, 50 shares of Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company common stock.
The residue was given to the Home for Destitute Crippled Children.
Approximately a month prior to execution of the will, the testatrix brought a memorandum entitled "Last Will of Lillian E. Allen" to Glen H. Tyrrell, secretary and trust officer of the National Bank of Austin. The memorandum listed the various legacies in the same manner as finally stated in the will. It did not contain a residuary clause. The bank prepared a draft based upon the testatrix's memorandum but added a blank residuary clause. That document was mailed to the testatrix, who returned it to Mr. Tyrrell with her approval and with instructions for completing the residuary clause. A second draft in practically the final form of the will was forwarded to the law firm of Castle, Brintlinger & Carey, where the instrument which was to become the last will and testament of Lillian E. Allen was finally concluded. The inventory of the testatrix's estate disclosed that at her death she was the owner and possessor of the identical shares of stock disposed of in her will, except for the additional shares issued by reason of the stock splits. In addition, she had cash in the sum of $14,175.96 in a savings account in the Northern Trust Company and $495 among her personal effects.
The guiding principle in the interpretation of any will is the intention of the testator, which is another way of admonishing the court to keep in mind that the business at hand is determining what the testator willed by his will. This is determined, primarily, by the language specifically relating to the matter in dispute and by the will as a whole, so that the particular language may be construed in the context of the entire will and conform to the general purpose and plan of the testator. The will represents an apportionment of her estate according to what she considered to be her obligations, affections, friendships and duty to charities. There is seldom anything precisely measurable in such distribution, but examining the whole reveals purpose and intent. Thus we know that the testatrix wanted her relatives and friends to have the great bulk of her estate and that she had one favorite charity, the Fifteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, to which she gave 50 shares of Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company common stock. We know also that the residuary clause was added after she had determined on a substantially complete disposition of her estate, providing for her relatives, friends and church. To give the residuary legatee the additional shares of General Electric and General Motors stock would amount to giving it a legacy of the value of approximately $50,000 as of January 1958, or 12 1/2 times as much as to the charity for which the testatrix had expressly made provision, four times as much as she gave her sister-in-law, three times as much as she gave her cousin, and in more or less similar proportions to the provisions made for her other legatees. It appeared to the trial court and it does to us that the ...