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drawer, they will not be paid. The question here is as to the effect of the indorsement of a note of the bank.
Mr. Asa Iglehart and Mr. J. E. Iglehart, contra.
MR. JUSTICE MATTHEWS, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
It is apparent that the sole controversy is between Basket and Hassell, the present parties to the appeal. By the delivery of the certificate of deposit to the clerk the attorneys of Basket are exonerated from all responsibility; and the payment of the money by the bank to Hassell equally relieves it and its officers; for, not being parties to the appeal, and the execution of the decree not having been superseded, the decree will always furnish them protection, whether affirmed or reversed, because, if reversed, it would only be so as between the parties to the appeal. So that the omitted parties have no legal interest, either in maintaining or reversing the decree, and, consequently, are not necessary parties to the appeal. Forgay v. Conrad, 6 How. 203; Cox v. United States, 6 Pet. 182; Germain v. Mason, 12 Wall. 261; Simpson v. Greely, 20 id. 152. The motion to dismiss the appeal is accordingly overruled.
It is claimed on behalf of the appellant that the delivery of the certificate under the circumstances mentioned in the statement of the case constitutes a valid donatio mortis causa, which entitles him to the fund; and whether it be so, is the sole question for our determination.
The general doctrine of the common law as to gifts of this character is fully recognized by the Supreme Court of Tennessee as part of the law of that State. Richardson v. Adams, 10 Yerg. 273; Sims v. Walker, 8 Humph. 503; Gass v. Simpson, 4 Cold. 288.
In the case last mentioned, that court had occasion to consider the nature of such a disposition of property, and the several elements that enter into its proper definition.
Among other things, it said:
"A question seems to have arisen, at an early day, over which there was much contest, as to the real nature of gifts causa mortis. Were they gifts inter vivos, to take effect before the death of the donor, or were they in the nature of a legacy,
taking effect only at the death of the donor. At the termination of this contest, it seems to have been settled, that a gift causa mortis is ambulatory and incomplete during the donor's life, and is therefore revocable by him and subject to his debts, upon a deficiency of assets, not because the gift is testamentary or in the nature of a legacy, but because such is the condition annexed to it, and because it would otherwise be fraudulent as to creditors; for no man may give his property who is unable to pay his debts; and all now agree that it has no other property in common with a legacy. The property must pass at the time and not be intended to pass at the giver's death; yet, the party making the gift does not part with the whole interest, save only in a certain event; and until the event occurs which is to divest him, the title remains in the donor. The donee is vested with an inchoate title, and the intermediate ownership is in him; but his title is defeasible, until the happening of the event necessary to render it absolute. It differs from a legacy in this, that it does not require probate, does not pass to the executor or administrator, but is taken against and not from him. Upon the happening of the event upon which the gift is dependent, the title of the donee becomes, by relation, complete and absolute from the time of the delivery, and that without any consent or other act on the part of the executor or administrator; consequently, the gift is inter vivos." In another part of the opinion (p. 297) it is said: "All the authorities agree that delivery is essential to the validity of the gift, and that, it is said, is a wise principle of our laws, because delivery strengthens the evidence of the gift; and is certainly a very powerful fact for the prevention of frauds and perjury.”
In the first of these extracts there is an inaccuracy of expression, which seems to have introduced some confusion, if not an apparent contradiction, when, after having stated that "the property must pass at the time and not be intended to pass at the giver's death," it is added, that "until the event occurs which is to divest him, the title remains in the donor." But a view of the entire passage leaves no room to doubt its meaning; that a donatio mortis causa must be completely executed, precisely as required in the case of gifts inter vivos, subject to be divested by the happening of any of the con
ditions subsequent, that is, upon actual revocation by the donor, or by the donor's surviving the apprehended peril, or outliving the donee, or by the occurrence of a deficiency of assets necessary to pay the debts of the deceased donor. These conditions are the only qualifications that distinguish gifts mortis causa and inter vivos. On the other hand, if the gift does not take effect as an executed and complete transfer to the donee of possession and title, either legal or equitable, during the life of the donor, it is a testamentary disposition, good only if made and proved as a will.
This statement of the law is, we think, correctly deduced from the judgments of the highest courts in England and in this country; although, as might well have been expected, since the early introduction of the doctrine into the common law from the Roman civil law, it has developed, by new and successive applications, not without fluctuating and inconsistent decisions.
"As to the character of the thing given," says Shaw, C. J., in Chase v. Redding, 13 Gray (Mass.), 418, 420, "the law has undergone some changes. Originally it was limited, with some exactness, to chattels, to some object of value deliverable by the hand; then extended to securities transferable solely by delivery, as bank-notes, lottery tickets, notes payable to bearer or to order, and indorsed in blank; subsequently it has been extended to bonds and other choses in action, in writing or represented by a certificate, when the entire equitable interest is assigned; and in the very latest cases on the subject in this Commonwealth, it has been held that a note not negotiable, or if negotiable, not actually indorsed, but delivered, passes, with a right to use the name of the administrator of the promisee, to collect it for the donee's own use," citing Sessions v. Moseley, 4 Cush. (Mass.) 87; Bates v. Kempton, 7 Gray (Mass.), 382; Parish v. Stone, 14 Pick. (Mass.) 198.
In the case last mentioned - Parish v. Stone - the same distinguished judge, speaking of the cases which had extended the doctrine of gifts mortis causa to include choses in action, delivered so as to operate only as a transfer by equitable assignment or a declaration of trust, says further, that "these cases all go on the assumption that a bond, note, or other
security is a valid subsisting obligation for the payment of a sum of money, and the gift is, in effect, a gift of the money by a gift and delivery of the instrument that shows its existence and affords the means of reducing it to possession." He had, in a previous part of the same opinion, stated that "the necessity of an actual delivery has been uniformly insisted upon in the application of the rules of the English law to this species af gift." p. 204.
In Camp's Appeal, 36 Conn. 88, the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut held that a delivery to a donee of a savingsbank book, containing entries of deposits to the credit of the donor, with the intention to give to the donee the deposits represented by the book, is a good delivery to constitute a complete gift of such deposits, on the general ground that a delivery of a chose in action that would be sufficient to vest an equitable title in a purchaser is a sufficient delivery to constitute a valid gift of such chose in action, without a transfer of the legal title. That was the case of a gift inter vivos. But the court say, referring to the case of Brown v. Brown, 18 Conn. 410, as having virtually determined the point: "It is true that was a donation causa mortis, but the principle involved is the same in both cases, as there is no difference in respect to the requisites of a delivery between the two classes of gifts." And so Wilde, J., delivering the opinion of the court in Grover v. Grover, 24 Pick. (Mass.) 261, 264, expressly declared that "a gift of a chose in action, provided no claims of creditors interfere to affect its validity, ought to stand on the same footing as a sale;" that the title passed, and the gift became perfected by delivery and acceptance; that there was, therefore, "no good reason why property thus acquired should not be protected as fully and effectually as property acquired by purchase;" and showed, by a reference to the cases, that there was no difference in this respect between gifts inter vivos and mortis causa.
In respect to the opinion in this case, it is to be observed, that it cites with approval the case of Wright v. Wright, 1 Cow. (N. Y.) 598, in which it was decided that the promissory note, of which the donor himself was maker, might be the subject of a valid gift mortis causa, though the concurrence was not
upon that point. That case, however, has never been followed. It was expressly disapproved and disregarded by the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut in Raymond v. Sellick, 10 Conn. 480, Waite, J., delivering the opinion of the court; it had been expressly questioned and disapproved by Shaw, C. J., in Parish v. Stone, 14 Pick. (Mass.) 198, and was distinctly overruled by the Court of Appeals of New York in Harris v. Clark, 3 N. Y. 93. In the latter case it was said: "Gifts, however, are valid without consideration or actual value paid in return. But there must be delivery of possession. The contract must have been executed. The thing given must be put into the hands of the donee, or placed within his power by delivery of the means of obtaining it. The gift of the maker's own note is the delivery of a promise only, and not of the thing promised, and the gift therefore fails. Without delivery, the transaction is not valid as an executed gift; and without consideration, it is not valid as a contract to be executed. The decision in Wright v. Wright was founded on a supposed distinction between a gift inter vivos and a donatio mortis causa. But there appears to be no such distinction. A delivery of possession is indispensable in either case."
The case from which this extract is taken was very thoroughly argued by Mr. John C. Spencer for the plaintiff, and Mr. Charles O'Connor for the defendant, and the judgment of the court states and reviews the doctrine on the subject with much learning and ability. It was held that a written order upon a third person, for the payment of money, made by the donor, was not the subject of a valid gift, either inter vivos or mortis causa; and the rule applicable in such cases, as conceded by Mr. O'Connor, was stated by him, as follows: "Delivery to the donee of such an instrument as will enable him, by force of the instrument itself, to reduce the fund into possession, will suffice,' is the plaintiff's doctrine. This might safely be conceded. It might even be conceded that a delivery out of the donor's control of an instrument, without which he could not recover the fund from his debtor or agent, would also suffice."
The same view, in substance, was taken in deciding Hewitt v. Kaye, Law Rep. 6 Eq. 198, which was the case of a check