FIELDS v. THOMAS

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

ESTATE OF Dwight L. CROCKETT, Deceased. Paris FIELDS, Individually and as President of J. Garvin Mecking, Inc., et al., Movants-Appellants, v. Arlene THOMAS, et al., Respondents-Respondents.

Decided: February 19, 1998

Before ELLERIN, J.P., and NARDELLI, MAZZARELLI and ANDRIAS, JJ. Armand J. Rosenberg, for Movants-Appellants. Leonard R. Sperber, for Respondents-Respondents.

Order, Surrogate's Court, New York County (Renee Roth, S.), entered May 19, 1997, which, in a proceeding to determine ownership of certain personal property in respondent estate's possession, denied movants' motion for summary judgment, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

Movants, the corporation in which the decedent was the majority shareholder and the minority shareholder to whom the decedent bequeathed his stock, rely on inventory records, undated and untitled, that do not on their face reflect that the subject property, antique furniture, was owned by the decedent's business and not by the decedent personally.   While the individual movant's affidavit seeks to bridge that gap, the proof as a whole does not conclusively rebut the presumption of ownership in the decedent raised by the location of the furniture in his home at the time of his death (see, Benjamin v. Benjamin, 106 A.D.2d 599, 600, 483 N.Y.S.2d 418, affd. 65 N.Y.2d 756, 492 N.Y.S.2d 31, 481 N.E.2d 571), and supported by the affidavit of the corporate movant's accountant that items of furniture in the decedent's residence were never treated as corporate inventory and that the corporation owed the decedent money.

MEMORANDUM DECISION.