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Actual or constructive delivery is essential to the validity of a gift either inter vivos or causa mortis.
The deceased and the guardian were divorced and had two children. The guardian had custody of the children. Before his death, the deceased issued stock in the executor's name. The executor sold the stock at a profit. The guardian alleged that the money the deceased invested in the stock and the profit should have been accounted for as a part of the deceased's estate. The trial court found that the stock passed from the deceased to the executor as a gift causa mortis.
Did the deceased's act of causing the certificate of stock to be issued in the executor's name and depositing it in a bank constitute delivery sufficient for a gift causa mortis?
The court held that the gift the deceased made to the executor in contemplation of his death would not be set aside. At the time of the gift the deceased was suffering from a mental breakdown that continued to the time of his death. The mental illness that resulted in suicide fastened itself upon the deceased before the date of the gift, and he was convinced at that time that he could not continue on indefinitely in his depressed mental state. The deceased's act of causing the certificate of stock to be issued in the executor's name and depositing it in a bank constituted delivery sufficient for a gift causa mortis.