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Sokol v. Glabman

FEBRUARY 4, 1972.

MIRIAM SOKOL ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

ROSE GLABMAN ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ALVIN KVISTAD, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied April 7, 1972.

This is an action for the construction of the will of Isadore Glabman, deceased. The circuit court dismissed the action, holding that plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action.

Article III of the will provides as follows:

"All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate I bequeath to ROSE GLABMAN, MEYER GOLDSTEIN and BERNARD H. SOKOL, as Trustees, to be held under the following terms and conditions:

If during the lifetime of my wife, ROSE GLABMAN, it shall be determined by all of my Trustees that her income from all sources is insufficient to maintain her, then I direct that so much of the income of the trust as shall satisfy her needs shall be so used.

I desire that my sons, NORMAN GLABMAN and JERRY GLABMAN, ultimately succeed to my ownership of common stock of Glabman Bros., Inc. and my daughters, GERTRUDE COHEN and MIRIAM SOKOL, to its cash equivalent.

Such property shall be held by my Trustees in four equal shares, one for each of my children, NORMAN GLABMAN, JERRY GLABMAN, GERTRUDE COHEN and MIRIAM SOKOL, except that NORMAN GLABMAN'S and JERRY GLABMAN'S shares shall consist wholly of common stock of Glabman Bros., Inc. In determining the exchange value of such shares, value as reflected in the regular books of account of Glabman Bros., Inc. shall be used.

I am mindful that all my children presently own stock in Glabman Bros., Inc. and I direct that NORMAN GLABMAN and JERRY GLABMAN purchase, or cause to be purchased, all of the common stock in Glabman Bros., Inc., including this stock, which may be owned by GERTRUDE COHEN and her children and MIRIAM SOKOL and her children and that such purchase be made at book value, and I specifically direct that GERTRUDE COHEN and MIRIAM SOKOL and their children sell their common stock in Glabman Bros., Inc. to their brothers, NORMAN GLABMAN and JERRY GLABMAN. My Trustees are directed and empowered to facilitate such exchange."

After the estate of Isadore Glabman was opened Rose Glabman, the widow of Isadore, renounced the will. This, all parties admit, had the effect of accelerating the gift over to the children. Defendants refused to purchase the stock of plaintiffs, and the complaint seeks a construction of the will requiring a forfeiture of the bequest to defendants of Glabman Bros., Inc. stock in the event that defendants continue to fail to comply with the stock purchase plan provided by the will. Alternatively, the complaint asks that the provision for defendants' purchase of the stock be construed as a personal obligation of defendants.

The sole issue on appeal is whether the complaint states a cause of action.

Opinion

• 1-3 In Jusko v. Grigas (1962), 26 Ill.2d 92 at 96 the court said:

"The court will take jurisdiction to hear and determine complaints to construe wills and where there is doubt or uncertainty as to the rights and interests of parties arising under such wills. (Peck v. Drennan, 411 Ill. 31; Sherman v. Flack, 283 Ill. 457.) On the other hand, the court will refuse to assume jurisdiction of a complaint to construe a will which is neither ambiguous or uncertain. The court does not acquire jurisdiction to construe a will merely because the complaint contains an allegation that a question requiring construction exists where the record shows no such question exists. (Peck v. Drennan, 411 Ill. 31; ...


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