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be changed in substance, except that as to matters of procedure such Board shall report for enactment such amendments as it may deem proper and necessary to condense and simplify the existing practice and as shall adapt the procedure to existing conditions.
Section 2. The consolidation of the statutes herein provided for shall be carried on under the direction and control of said Board by such persons as it shall designate and employ for that purpose, whose compensation and necessary expenses shall be fixed by said Board and paid. by the Comptroller on the certificate of the chairman thereof from any appropriation that may be made for that purpose. The necessary disbursements of the Board and expenses of its members shall be paid in like manner.
Section 3. The members of said Board shall serve without compensation, but shall receive their necessary expenses and disbursements incurred in the discharge of their duties either at the Capitol or elsewhere, except that the person selected by said Board as its chairman shall receive the sum of per annum for his services in the performance of such official duties as may be imposed upon him by the Board.
Section 4. The Board shall cause its work to be printed. from time to time and distribute copies of the same to members of the Legislature, Judges of the courts, and to such other persons as they may see fit, for the purpose of obtaining their suggestions and advice, and shall report the statutes so consolidated as a whole to the Legislature for enactment during the session of 1905. Such Board shall not be charged with the duty of advising as to current legislation.
Section 5. Such Board, in its final report to the Legislature, shall suggest such contradictions, omissions and imperfections as may appear in the original text, with the
manner in which they have reconciled, amended or supplied the same. They shall also designate such statutes, or parts of statutes, as in their judgment ought to be repealed, with their reasons for such repeal, and may also recommend the enactment of any acts, or parts of acts, which such repeal may, in their judgment, render necessary.
Section 6. In case of vacancy in the membership of said Board the Governor may fill the same by appointment in like manner as is herein provided for the appointment of its members in the first instance.
is hereby appro
Section 7. The sum of priated for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this act, to be expended in the manner herein provided. Section 8. This act shall take effect immediately.
Frank Harvey Field, of Brooklyn:
Mr. President, I move the adoption of this resolution: "Resolved, That the report of the Committee on Law Reform, as presented, be adopted; and be it further,
"Resolved, That the report of the Committee appointed by the Governor to report on the conditions of the statutes be and the same is hereby approved and indorsed by this Association, and the statute reported by this Committee to the Legislature be recommended for adoption, and that the Committee on Law Reform, in connection with the Committee of Fifty heretofore appointed, be requested to take such action as may be proper and necessary for the purpose of procuring the passage of such statute."
In moving the adoption of this resolution, I desire to congratulate the Association on this very great
step toward the completion of our statute law. I had the pleasure of moving the appointment of the Committee of Fifty last year, which has so happily resulted in the recommendations that are us. I believe that the Association will take great pleasure in feeling that we have at least been able to set the matter on foot in such shape that the end seems to be in sight. And I hope that the Association may, by this resolution and in every other manner possible, facilitate the accomplishment of this work.
Henry L. Bogart, of New York:
I second the motion.
Gentlemen, you have heard the resolution which has been read and duly seconded. The report of the Committee will be received and filed as a preliminary step and the question before the Association arises on this proposed resolution. This is the opportunity
for remarks and discussion.
E. Metzger, of Kingston:
Mr. President, I do not think there is much to be said. The recommendations coming from the members who composed that Committee, and as every member of this Association knows, they have superior qualifications in that line, are such that there should be no hesitation in adopting the resolution.
Are there any other remarks?
The resolution was adopted unanimously.
DISCUSSION · -JURISDICTION SURROGATE'S COURT. 365
Heman W. Morris, of Rochester:
Mr. President, according to the program of business, as arranged, several questions for discussion are assigned to this afternoon. The time for the discus
sion of these questions is somewhat limited, and as the fourth question seems to be of most general interest, I move that the Association now proceed to take up that question, which relates to the advisability of enlarging the jurisdiction of the Surrogate's Court, as stated in the the question printed in the
The paper on "Probate Procedure" by Mr. Selden Bacon, of New York, is on a kindred subject, and if it is agreeable I would suggest that he open the discussion upon it.
Selden Bacon, of New York:
Mr. President, and members of the Association: I am in a measure responsible for the presentation of this question to the Association at this time. I am in a great measure a newcomer in this State. I grew up under a system of probate procedure quite different from ours, and the conditions obtaining in this State in the Probate Court were an entire surprise to me when I came here. It has hardly seemed to me that anyone in this State appreciates the real condition of our probate procedure.
In the paper I have prepared I have attempted to bring before the members of the Association, by a few illustrations, the actual condition of our Probate Courts, and I would like briefly to call the attention of the members to a few cases whose authority is not questioned in this State, exemplifying the almost barbaric condition of our
probate procedure. The first case to which I would like to call attention is the case of Bowen v. Sweeney, decided by the General Term, First Department, in 1895, and has not since been questioned. In that case Mary T.'Hatton died in 1885, leaving a will by which she disposed of a large amount of real and personal property, giving it all, as I remember it, to an orphan asylum. The will was presented to the Surrogate of New York county for probate and, despite the objection of the next of kin that undue influence had been exercised, the will was admitted to probate by the Surrogate. An appeal was taken to the General Term, which reversed the decision of the Surrogate and remanded the case, with instructions to send the issues of undue influence to a jury in the Court of Common Pleas for trial. The issues were framed and tried in the Court of Common Pleas before a jury, which found that there was no undue influence and that the will was valid. The case was returned to the Surrogate's Court. Distribution was ordered in accordance with this. verdict and the personal property distributed by the executor in accordance with the verdict. The executor had no more than got the property distributed before the next of kin, appearing now in their capacity as heirs-at-law, went into the Supreme Court of New York county and began there a suit for partition of the real estate and joined the devisee as a party, making an adverse claim. The devisee immediately set up the will, the verdict of the jury in the Common Pleas, and the decree of the Surrogate, as determining the question at issue between the parties, as a bar to any other litigation over the question of competency. The case was tried before a jury in the Supreme Court, which found that there was undue influence and that the will was void. The matter was taken to the General Term, and it was there decided that the