Estate of Robert Wellford Lineweaver, Deceased, North Carolina Trust Company, Executor - Page 17
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US Tax Court > 1996 > Estate of Robert Wellford Lineweaver, Deceased, North Carolina Trust Company, Executor - Page 17
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contract is executed. Bolton Corp. v. T.A. Loving Co., 317 N.C.
623, 628, 347 S.E.2d 369, 372 (1986); Bowles v. Bowles, supra.
Evidence of the parties' subsequent conduct is admissible;
if the language used in the contract gives rise to a doubtful
meaning, the parties are presumed to know best their intent.
Management Systems Associates v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 762
F.2d 1161, 1171-1172 (4th Cir. 1985); Commercial Natl. Bank of
Charlotte v. Charlotte Supply Co., 226 N.C. 416, 432, 38 S.E.2d
503, 514 (1946) ("The conduct of the parties in dealing with the
contract indicating the manner in which they themselves construe
it is important, sometimes said to be controlling in its
construction by the court."). Where the meaning of a written
contract is unclear, parol evidence may be used to explain the
agreement of the parties, but it cannot be used to alter or
contradict any of its provisions. Jaftex Corp. v. Aetna Casualty
& Surety Co., 617 F.2d 1062, 1063 (4th Cir. 1980); Bost v. Bost,
234 N.C. 554, 558, 67 S.E.2d 745, 747 (1951). "All parts of a
contract are to be given effect if possible. It is presumed that
each part of the contract means something." Bolton Corp. v. T.A.
Loving Co., 317 N.C. at 628, 347 S.E.2d at 372.
The estate argues that decedent's conduct of including
Kathleen in three wills, two of which were written after their
divorce, indicates that the spouses intended decedent's
obligation to continue until after all the children reached 21
and Kathleen had remarried (hereinafter both conditions). At the
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