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The decedent, while domiciled in New Jersey, purchased an estate in Pennsylvania which he and his family thereafter occupied as a residence. His business remained in New Jersey, he kept his house there although he occupied it very infrequently, he voted there, and otherwise indicated his intention to retain his domicile in that state. He died in New Jersey, and his will was probated there. His executors made a report of the assets of the estate, comprised mostly of intangibles, as of a resident decedent, to the New Jersey tax commissioner. Meanwhile tax proceedings were instituted against the estate in Pennsylvania, and the supreme court of that state directed the assessment of a transfer tax of some $17,000,000 on the theory that he was domiciled in that state. Dorrance's Estate, (1932) 309 Pa. St. 151, 163 Atl. 303, cert. denied (1932) 288 U. S. 617, 53 Sup. Ct. 222, 77 L. Ed. 570. The executors paid that tax. Subsequently New Jersey assessed a transfer inheritance tax amounting to nearly $17,000,000 against the estate. The executors appealed from the assessment contending that the decision of the Pennsylvania court on the question of the decedent's domicile was controlling on the New Jersey authorities. Held, that the tax be affirmed. Although the Pennsylvania house was in fact the real residential home of the decedent and his family, he had no intention that it should be his permanent home; he intended it to be only a temporary home for so long as should be requisite to complete his daughters' education and give them the proper social preparation for their start in life. His domicile remained in New Jersey, and only New Jersey validly could assess the tax. In re Dorrance's Estate, (N.J. Prerog. 1934) 170 Atl. 601.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Final Determination of Domicil in the United States, 18 Minnesota Law Review 736 (1934)