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In re Estate of Baldwin

Supreme Court of Arizona

September 29, 1937

In the Matter of the Estate of WALTER H. BALDWIN, Deceased.
v.
MARY C. BALDWIN (Objector to Probate of Will and to Issuance of Letters of Administration With the Will Annexed), Appellee GEORGE C. BALDWIN (Petitioner for Probate of Will and for Letters of Administration With the Will Annexed), Appellant,

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. J. C. Niles, Judge. Judgment reversed and cause remanded.

Mr. Walter J. Thalheimer, for Appellant.

Mr. Floyd M. Stahl, for Appellee.

OPINION

Page 792

[50 Ariz. 266] McALISTER, C.J.

This is an appeal by George C. Baldwin from an order of the superior court refusing to admit to probate the last will of Walter H. Baldwin, deceased, and to issue him letters of administration with the will annexed of the estate.

The appeal is here upon an agreed statement of the case which discloses these facts:

Walter H. Baldwin died in Lake county, Illinois, in June, 1932, leaving a last will and testament dated June 15, 1925, and a codicil thereto dated July 14, 1930. The will and codicil were admitted to probate in that county and state. A duly authenticated copy of both and of the probate thereof was filed in the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, and along with it a petition by George C. Bladwin, son of the deceased, for the admission to probate in that court of the will and codicil and for the issuance to him of letters of administration with the will annexed of the estate. The petition set forth that the deceased left an estate in Maricopa county consisting of an undivided one-half interest in Lots 4 and 5 of Citrus Homes, alleged to [50 Ariz. 267] be of the value of $23,000, and to have been acquired by the deceased and his wife, Mary C. Baldwin, during their marriage.

Mary C. Baldwin, wife of the deceased, filed objections to the petition in which she alleged that Walter H. Baldwin left no property or estate whatever in Arizona; that she was at the time of his death and for many years prior thereto had been his wife; that the only property in this state in which Walter H. Baldwin ever had any interest was Lots 4 and 5 of Citrus Homes, Maricopa County, and that his interest therein was acquired by a deed dated August 25, 1930, executed by William S. Oppenheim, a bachelor, conveying these two lots to Walter H. Baldwin and Mary C. Baldwin, his wife, "not in tenancy in common, but in joint tenancy with right of survivorship"; that by reason of this deed Walter H. Baldwin and Mary C. Baldwin, his wife, held the property through his lifetime as joint tenants with the right of survivorship; that upon the death of Walter H. Baldwin, Mary C. Baldwin became the owner of the entire title to said property, and that the estate of Walter H. Baldwin had no interest whatever therein; that, in consequence, there was no reason or occasion for administration proceedings.

The portion of the deed containing the expression quoted is in this language:

"Know All Men by These Presents: That William S. Oppenheim, a bachelor, of the City of Chicago, County of Cook, and State of Illinois for and in consideration of the sum of Ten ($10.00) Dollars, to him in hand paid by Walter H. Baldwin and Mary C. Baldwin, his wife, grantees herein, has granted, sold and conveyed, and by these presents does grant, sell and convey unto the said grantees, not in tenancy in common, but in joint tenancy with right of survivorship all that certain real property situate in the [50 Ariz. 268] County of Maricopa, State of Arizona, described as follows...." (Italics ours.)

The court sustained the objections of Mary C. Baldwin and refused to admit the will and codicil to probate and to issue letters of administration. The petitioner has brought this order here for review.

The only question presented by the record is whether property deeded to husband and wife as joint tenants with the right of survivorship becomes, upon the death of one of the spouses, the sole ...


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