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BALDWIN ESTATE (05/24/54)

May 24, 1954

BALDWIN ESTATE


Appeal No. 99, Jan. T., 1954, from decree of Orphans' Court of Delaware County, 1951, No. 396, in Estate of Ida C. Baldwin, deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

William Jay Leon, with him R. Winfield Baile, for appellant.

Edward H. Bryant, Jr., with him William James Taylor and Lutz, Fronefield, Warner & Bryant, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 377 Pa. Page 269]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

[ 377 Pa. Page 270]

This controversy turns on the question as to what property the testatrix, Ida C. Baldwin, understood as being included in "the undivided one-seventh interest in the estate of my late father, A. J. Gottshall of Darby, Pennsylvania, which has been bequeathed and devised to me and to which I am entitled,...".

Adam J. Gotshall died in 1934, leaving one-third of his estate to his widow and the remaining two-thirds to seven of his eight children of whom the testatrix was one.*fn* His estate consisted of stocks, bonds, notes, mortgages, cash in bank, and bills receivable, aggregating approximately $146,000, and 114 parcels of real estate, improved and unimproved, appraised at an aggregate value of approximately $164,000. Shortly after his death the widow deeded all her interest in the estate to the seven children named in the will. Thereafter these children handled the property, both real and personal, as a family affair. Two of the sons, who were executors of the estate, acted, each at a different time, as agents for all of them to collect the rents and income, pay expenses, and disburse principal and income as the estate was gradually liquidated. Some of the parcels of real estate were sold and the proceeds distributed; other parcels were retained as rental investments. The children held annual meetings at which the agents made reports to them regarding all the transactions of the estate. This family arrangement continued down to and after the death of the testatrix.

Ida C. Baldwin's will was dated June 29, 1937, and in it, after making a few small bequests, she provided as follows: "SIXTH: All the rest residue and remainder of my estate both real and personal of whatsoever

[ 377 Pa. Page 271]

    kind, character of description and wheresoever situate, excepting therefrom the undivided one-seventh interest in the estate of my late father, A. J. Gottshall of Darby, Pennsylvania, which has been bequeathed and devised to me and to which I am entitled, I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved husband, Cyrus W. Baldwin absolutely, to him, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever. SEVENETH: From the said one-seventh interest in the estate of my father, A. J. Gottshall, which belongs to me and which represents my share in said estate, I order and direct that all principal and income payments which become due and payable during the lifetime of my husband Cyrus W. Baldwin, shall be paid to him, my said husband, for and during the term of his natural life,... Upon the death of my said husband, Cyrus W. Baldwin, I order and direct my executors to pay the balance of principal and income due me from the estate of my said father,. A. J. Gottshall, in equal shares as they become due, share and share alike to my sisters, Jennie Todd, Florence O'Rourke and Mabel W. Hutton. Should one or more of my said sisters have died before my husband, Cyrus W. Baldwin, then I order and direct that the said balance belonging to me from the estate of my said father shall be paid to my surviving sister or sisters share and share alike. In the event that all three of my sisters shall die before my husband, Cyrus W. Baldwin, I direct that the balance then remaining shall be paid to the Hackensack Hospital Association of Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey."

Cyrus W. Baldwin, the husband of the testatrix, died in 1944; shortly thereafter she herself was adjudged mentally incompetent; she died, childless, in 1950. The three sisters named in her will are all ...


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