Margarite v. Ewald Case Brief

Summary of Margarite(pl/ee) v. Ewald(df/ant), Sup. Ct. Penn. 1977


Relevant Facts: The property was conveyed by deed to Mr. and Mrs. Ewald and Joe Ewald (df)as tenants in common with right to survivorship. Pl/EE is the son of Mrs. Ewald by another marriage. She died intestate and left ee and step dad sole heirs. Step dad died thereafter and bequeathed to his brother George(df).

Legal Issue(s): Whether appellee’s mother had acquired any interest which passed to appellee upon her death?

Court’s Holding: No

Procedure: Pl filed declaratory to interpret deed. Common pleas court granted PL/ee one sixth interest in property originally deeded to his mother and step father and another person. App ct. Affirmed. Reversed.

Law or Rule(s): A conveyance or devise to two or more persons, not husband or wife or trustees, carries with it no right of survivorship unless clearly expressed.

Court Rationale: The right of survivorship is not associated with tenancy in common. The terms of the conveyance treat the words his wife as tenancy by the entirety. The use of the word “and," twice within the deed indicates an intent that two units, one couple and one single person, take the property and each has one half interest. Thereby their interest was a tenancy by the entirety and when Mrs. died the entire interest vested with her husband, one half. The interest held by the third party was that of a joint tenant. The intent to create a right of survivorship was not sufficiently expressed in the deed.

Plaintiff’s Argument: The right of survivorship conveyed and interest to Pl when Mrs. died

Defendant’s Argument: the deed created a tenancy by the entirety and Mr. and Mrs. Ewald held one half interest and after death of Mrs. her spouse became sole owner of the interest.

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