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Law School Case Brief

Burr v. Beckler - 264 Ill. 230, 106 N.E. 206 (1914)


The validity, construction, force and effect of instruments affecting the title to land depend upon the law of the State where the land lies.


Plaintiff sued defendant to foreclose a deed of trust made by defendant in Florida conveying real estate in Chicago to secure a note. Defendant answered, alleging that she was induced to execute the note and trust deed by the false and fraudulent representation of her husband, and that plaintiff had notice of the fraud. Defendant further alleged that the note and trust deed were void since they were executed in the State of Florida while she was a feme covert and incapable by the laws of Florida of executing the same. The trial court found the deed of trust and note invalid and entered judgment in favor of defendant. The appellate court reversed. Defendant challenged the appellate court’s judgment.


Were the note and trust deed valid and enforceable?




The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's ruling, holding that the record showed the deed of trust and the note were induced by fraud. Further, the fact that the domicile of defendant was in Illinois did not enable her to execute a note in the State of Florida contrary to the laws of that state, under which she was not competent to enter into a contract. According to the Court, the law of the state of performance governed in determining the rights of the parties and the effect of the contract, but because defendant was not competent to make a contract in Florida, the deed and note were not valid and would not be enforced anywhere.

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