APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT
Mace, Petitioner-Appellant, v.
Magna Trust Bank, Ex'r, Respondent-Appellee)
546 N.E.2d 1047, 190 Ill. App. 3d 650, 137 Ill. Dec. 934 1989.IL.1658
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Monroe County; the Hon. Dennis Jacobsen, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the opinion of the court. HOWERTON and LEWIS,* JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CHAPMAN
Ingeborg Kremer died January 20, 1987, a few months after the death of her husband, Otto Kremer. Her last will and testament dated May 26, 1983, was admitted to probate, and Magna Trust Company was appointed as executor on January 26, 1987. Ingeborg's will left her entire estate in equal shares to her seven children, Norbert Kremer, Harald "Skip" Kremer, Patricia Mace, Barbara Diehl, Bruce Kremer, In-grid Kremer and Andrew Kremer.
During the administration of this estate the executor filed a petition, seeking approval of certain acts of the executor with regard to the Disposition of personalty of the estate. Patricia Mace, a daughter and beneficiary under the will, filed a response to the petition, objecting to the Disposition of some of the property. A hearing on the matter was conducted whereupon the court entered an order dispensing with a final Disposition as to the personal property. Patricia Mace appeals from the court's Disposition of three matters, including the distribution of Ingeborg Kremer's cameras, a collection of coins, and a loan purportedly made to Ingeborg Kremer.
The court order entered May 2, 1988, stated in part:
"The decedent possessed certain cameras during her lifetime and made completed gifts of such cameras to Harald Kremer, Norbert Kremer, Andrew Kremer and Bruce Kremer during her lifetime, and the estate of the decedent had no interest in such cameras at the time of the decedent's death. The decedent also possessed various items of photographic equipment and darkroom equipment that formerly belonged to her deceased husband, and the gifts of cameras to the aforesaid heirs did not include gifts of such photographic equipment and darkroom equipment."
We first address the claim of Patricia Mace that the court's finding that the decedent made completed inter vivos gifts of certain cameras to her four sons was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
When Ingeborg Kremer's husband Otto died, he owned an extensive collection of camera equipment and darkroom equipment. This collection become the property of Ingeborg, since she was the sole beneficiary of Otto's will. Roger Beaman, who is the president and chief executive officer of Magna Trust Company, stated in a petition filed with the probate court that the camera equipment did not constitute assets of Ingeborg's estate. However, it was the executor's position that the darkroom equipment was included in the estate inventory. His Conclusion was based on Discussions he had with the Kremer children, wherein it became evident to him that Ingeborg gave the cameras to the boys. Mr. Beaman testified that he spoke with all of the children except Bruce, and that all of those he spoke with, except Patricia Mace, indicated that Ingeborg had given the camera equipment to the boys as gifts. Mr. Beaman testified that it was his impression that Ingeborg gave the camera equipment to her sons in order to equalize the distribution of gifts of jewelry she had made to the girls.
At the hearing, Barbara Diehl testified that prior to her mother's death, her mother had distributed most of her jewelry among Ingrid, Patricia and herself. Mrs. Diehl testified that she believed the cameras and camera equipment were given to her brothers prior to her mother's death, and that those items were not to be included as estate assets. She believed, however, that the darkroom equipment was not given to her brothers and would be part of ...