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Armstrong v. Daniel

NOVEMBER 9, 1967.

ARLENA ARMSTRONG, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF FELTON ARMSTRONG, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,

v.

SUSIE DANIEL AND DREIS & KRUMP CREDIT UNION, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Probate Division; the Hon. JOHN A. PAVLIK, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE SCHWARTZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied November 28, 1967.

The trial court denied the petition of the administrator of the estate of Felton Armstrong for an order requiring the payment to her of funds in an account with Dreis & Krump Credit Union in the sum of $5,727.91. The court found that the funds had been properly paid to the defendant Susie Daniel, sister of the deceased and the survivor of the joint tenancy created by the agreement entered into when the account was established. The facts follow.

On September 23, 1957, Felton Armstrong and his sister signed a card entitled, "Joint Stock Account Agreement," which reads as follows:

"The undersigned hereby apply for the issuance of shares to them in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship in the Dreis & Krump Credit Union, and, in consideration of the approval of this application by the said credit union, do hereby agree each with the other(s) and with the said credit union, that all sums now paid on shares or hereafter paid thereon, and all dividends therefrom shall be owned by us jointly with the right of survivorship, and in the event of the death of any of us the said credit union shall be liable thereon only to the survivor(s) and while any of us is living payment to any one of us shall discharge any liability of said credit union.

(s) Felton Armstrong (s) Susie Daniel."

Dated 9/23/57.

It is significant to note that this agreement is between Felton Armstrong and Susie Daniel as well as between them and the Dreis & Krump Credit Union.

Armstrong was an employee of Dreis and Krump Manufacturing Co. and on the same day that he and his sister signed the agreement hereinbefore set forth, he made an application for membership in the Dreis & Krump Credit Union (Credit Union). On the following day he deposited $5 with the Credit Union and thereafter made deposits from his salary.

On April 18, 1959, Armstrong married Arlena Armstrong and they lived together as husband and wife until his death on September 8, 1964. At the time of his death the account contained $3,727.91, and on September 23, 1964, $2,000 payable to the Credit Union from the Cuna Mutual Insurance Society as a death benefit "for the benefit of the person entitled, upon the death of the Member, to the account of the deceased credit union member," was credited to the account. On September 25, 1964, the Credit Union paid $5,727.91 to Susie Daniel pursuant to the Joint Stock Account Agreement.

Petitioner first contends that the Joint Stock Account Agreement did not establish a joint savings account with the Credit Union, in that the agreement in question did not comply with conditions specifically required by the Joint Rights and Obligations Act. She contends that this Act abolishes all survivorship rights with certain statutory exceptions and that the agreement signed by Armstrong and Susie Daniel did not meet the conditions specifically required by section 2, paragraph (c) of the Act. Ill Rev Stats, c 76, § 2(c) (1965).

The Act generally abolishes survivorship rights in tenancies of personal property, but makes a specific exception where there is a "will or other instrument in writing expressing an intention to create a joint tenancy in personal property with the right of survivorship. . . ." Ill Rev Stats, c 76, § 2 (1965). Following this exception, the section also contains four provisos, or special provisions, with respect to joint tenancies which were inserted in connection with the acquittance of banks and other depositories. Paragraph (a) provides for deposits in banks and trust companies, (b) for shares of stock, bonds and other evidences of indebtedness issued by corporations, (c) for shares of stock, bonds and other evidences of indebtedness in savings and loan associations and credit unions, and (d) for survivorship in the proceeds from jointly held real property taken through the exercise of the right of eminent domain. Ill Rev Stats, c 76, § 2 (1965).

Paragraph (c) supra, which petitioner contends must be complied with in order to create a right of survivorship in the account in question, provides that when there is an agreement permitting payment to persons holding shares of stock, bonds or other evidences of indebtedness in credit unions and when that agreement is signed by all the parties at the time the shares of stock, bonds or other evidences of indebtedness were issued, payment to any such person shall be a valid release of the credit union for the payment so made. Ill Rev Stats, c 76, § 2 (c) (1965). It is significant that this proviso pertains only to liability between the depositors and the credit union. It has nothing to do with agreements between persons who are parties to joint tenancies in the accounts. Our court has already decided that paragraph (a) of the same section, which is substantially the same as paragraph (c) and differs only in that it covers deposits in banks and trust companies, was inserted only for the purpose of limiting the acquittance of the bank's liability and has never required that persons taking with the right of survivorship should sign anything. Johnson v. Mueller, 346 Ill. App. 199, 104 N.E.2d 651. In that case the court held that the right of survivorship in funds represented by certificates of deposit was properly established even though there was no agreement signed by both parties as required by paragraph (a) of section 2. The court explicitly stated that the proviso need not be complied with when there was an instrument in writing. It concluded that the certificates of deposit themselves contained provisions for survivorship and as such were instruments in writing expressing an intention to create a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.

In our case the Joint Stock Account Agreement is an instrument in writing which clearly expresses the intention to create a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. Moreover the agreement is between Armstrong and Mrs. Daniel as well as between the parties and the Credit Union. This brings Armstrong's account in the Credit Union clearly within the ...


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