Coulam v. Doull
133 U.S. 216 (1890)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Coulam v. Doull, 133 U.S. 216 (1890)

Coulam v. Doull

No. 124

Submitted November 18, 1889

Decided January 27, 1890

133 U.S. 216

APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE TERRITORY OF UTAH

Syllabus

Under the statute of Utah enacting that when a testator omits to provide in his will for any of his children or the issue of any deceased child, such child or issue of a child shall have the same share in the estate it would have had had the testator died intestate "unless it shall appear that such omission was intentional," the intention of the testator is not necessarily to be gathered from the will alone, but extrinsic evidence is admissible to prove it.

A statute of Massachusetts touching wills in which the testator fails to make provision for a child or children or issue of a deceased child in being when the will was made, was substantially followed by the Legislature of California, and, as enacted in California, was followed in Utah. In Massachusetts, it received a construction by the Supreme Judicial Court of the state which the Supreme Court of California had, before the adoption of the statute in Utah, declined to follow. In a case arising under the statute of Utah, held that the court was at liberty to adopt the construction which was in accordance with its own judgment, and that it was not obliged to follow the construction given to it by the Supreme Court of California.

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