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Lee County Wills


Sustains Decision In Construing Will Of John L. Geiger

The Illinois Supreme Court in a decision handed down this week upheld a Lee Co. Circuit Court decision of Judge George C. Dixon on the construction of the will of John L. Geiger Nelson Township who died Aug. 31, 1908, holding that portion of the estate in which two children, Nellie Geer and Thomas L. Geiger hold life estates should descend to their heirs.

In addition to upholding Judge Dixon's decision. The supreme court also upheld a claim by Mrs. Nettie Geiger, estranged wife of Thomas L. that she is entitled to a share of his part of the estate is she survives him. The high court directed that upon the death Thomas, the share of the estate in which he holds a life interest should be distributed as real estate, instead of personal proptery. The estate includes 160 acres of Nelson Township Land.

The effect of this ruling, as the law now stands, is to limit her to a half interest in his share of the estate, if she survives him.

John L. Geiger gave each of his three children, Nellie Geer, Thomas L. and Walter W. life use of the real estate, and created "spendthrift" trusts limiting the interest of each to income from the real estate during their respective lives. It provided that upon the death of each, their interest should descend, under the law of descent then in force in Illinois.

The decision is the third the Supreme Court has returned in the case since it first entered the courts shortly after the elder Geiger's death in 1908. It reveresed a finding entered Dec. 21, 1910, on Oct. 26, 1912, when it held that the jury finding that Geiger was of unsound mind was "manifestly" against the weight of the evidence.

At that time it held that the will itself does indicate that the testator believed the children should not have direct control of the estate. The trust was within his legal power and the fact that all the beneficiaries for whose protection it was created wish it destroyed does not make it any less the duty of the court to see that the will of the testator be carried out.

The last action in the case opened after the death of Nellie L. Gier last year, when Thomas L. Geiger filed his complaint for construction of his father's will. Claiming he was entitled as heir of the elder Geiger to take a half interest in the property that was devised to Nellie Gier.

It was on this complaint that Judge Dixon held that by use of the expression "to descend in remainder", in the will meant that the remainder of the estate should descend to the children of Nellie, Glenn and John Owen Gier, and that the share of Thomas L. should descend to his heirs.

In considering the claim of Nettie Geiger, as an heir of Thomas L. the Supreme Court said: It suffices to observe that as the law now stands, Nettie Geiger will be one of Thomas L. Geigers heirs at law provided she survives him, is still married to him, and the statute of descent remains unchanged.

"Despite the age of Thomas L. Geiger." the opinion continues (he is approximately 70) a prophesy of who his heirs at law will be upon his eventual death would be sheer speculation, in which we decline to indulge.

Asked if this would be the final desposition of the controversy, one of the attorneys connected with the case would venture only the comment this morning: " A motion for rehearing before the Supreme Court may be made by any interested parties".

Dixon Evening Telegraph 25 November 1946

***Dixon Evening Telegraph 31 January 1947 & 7 February 1947:
The property was advertised to be put up for auction on 17 February 1947.
Thomas L Geiger Plaintiff vs Glenn Geer etal Defendants


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