On his death bead, intestate gave keys to P, who was his live-in maid for 10 years after his wife's death.
He said the house was to be hers and pointed to all the furniture and said that was to be hers as well.
Locked in one of the drawers was a life insurance policy for $3000.
Intestate's administrator, D, sold some household property for $200, and took the $300 in insurance on the piano, and the $3k insurance policy.
P sued to recover.
Lower court found for P.
Supreme Ct. of NC
What constitutes delivery of a gift?
Constructive delivery is enough when in plainly appears that the intention of the owner was to make the gift and where the things intended to be given are not present or manual delivery is difficult due to their size and weight. However, manual delivery must be made when the articles are present and capable of manual delivery.
There is no such thing as symbolical delivery in gifts either inter vivos or causa mortis.
In order to deliver a gift causa mortis (conditional on death) or inter vivos, there must be an intention to make the gift and a delivery of the thing given. These are matters of fact to be determined by jury.
Three types: symbolic delivery (gift of something representing the whole), constructive delivery (keys), and manual delivery.
In the case used by P, the donor expressly stated that everything in the box was the gift. That is not the case here. Also, there was actual manual delivery in that case.
The life insurance policy wasn't taken out of the drawer or talked about expressly.
Court is bound to give effect to constructive delivery when in plainly appears that the intention of the owner was to make the gift and where the things intended to be given are not present or manual delivery is difficult due to their size and weight. However, manual delivery must be made when the articles are present and capable of manual delivery.
Statute of Wills would have little effect on fraud if symbolic deliveries were allowed.
Therefore, since the life insurance policy was present in the room and could have been manually delivered, the title of it did not pass to P.
The household furniture outside of P's bedchamber did pass to P because they could not have been delivered, nor did articles in P's bedchamber did not pass to P.
The furniture in the P's bed room ($45), however, was given to P inter vivos because the intention of the intestate was not contradicted by any witnesses and was affirmed by many of them.
Also, while there was evidence showing the intestate's intention to give P the piano, there was no delivery.