At the time of her death, Olga Mestrovic was the owner of a large number of works of art created by her late husband
At the time of her death, Olga Mestrovic was the owner of a large number of works of art created by her late husband, Ivan Mestrovic, an internationally known sculptor and artist whose works were displayed throughout Europe and the United States. By the terms of Olga’s will, all the works of art created by her husband were to be sold and the proceeds distributed to members of the Mestrovic family. Also included in the estate of Olga Mestrovic was certain real property that 1st Source Bank (the Bank), as personal representative of the estate of Olga Mestrovic, agreed to sell to Terrence and Antoinette Wilkin. The agreement of purchase and sale made no mention of any works of art, although it did provide for the sale of such personal property as a dishwasher, drapes, and French doors stored in the attic. Immediately after closing on the real estate, the Wilkins complained to the Bank of the clutter left on the premises; the Bank gave the Wilkins an option of cleaning the house themselves and keeping any personal property they desired, to which the Wilkins agreed. At the time these arrangements were made, neither the Bank nor the Wilkins suspected that any works of art remained on the premises. During cleanup, however, the Wilkins found eight drawings and a sculpture created by Ivan Mestrovic to which the Wilkins claimed ownership based upon their agreement with the Bank that, if they cleaned the real property, they could keep such personal property as they desired. Who is entitled to ownership of the artwork?
The case is an example of a mutual mistake of fact as neither the bankknew about the existence of any artwork present in the house before it let the family pick personal items from the house nor did the family knew about them before searching the house.
As a result,the agreement presented is void as it violates the basic rule of meeting minds on the same ground of the agreement.
There is no rightful owner of the drawings and sculpture as Family W found the artwork by chance while hunting for any useful, personal items. Additionally, even the bank had no clue about the hidden artwork in the house.
Hence, with no common meeting ground in the minds of both the parties,the agreement stands terminated.