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COULTER ESTATE. (11/08/54)

November 8, 1954

COULTER ESTATE.


Appeal, Nos. 4, 5, 6, 81, 87 and 88, March T., 1954, from decrees of Orphans' Court of Westmoreland County, Nov. T., 1951, No. 123, in Estate of Emma W. Coulter, Deceased. Decrees affirmed. Audit of final account of trustee. Before COPELAND, P.J. Adjudication filed dismissing exceptions to account; exceptions to adjudication dismissed and final decree entered confirming account absolutely and allowing additional counsel fees. Exceptants appealed.

COUNSEL

Elder W. Marshall and C. Ward Eicher, with them Louis E. Sensenich and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellants.

Robert W. Smith, with him Smith, Best & Horn, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 379 Pa. Page 211]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

By the second codicil to her will, Mrs. Emma W. Coulter, who died on November 2, 1929, created a trust of all her real estate and $200,000 in personal property for the term of 21 years or until an earlier termination by the trustees or the death of both trustees named in the will. The income from the trust was to be divided not more frequently than annually among Mrs. Coulter's five children who also were to share the principal of the trust upon its termination. The trustees were Richard Coulter, now living, and Rebecca Coulter Barclay, who died on June 21, 1937. The trust ended on November 2, 1950, at the end of its 21-year term.

In setting up the trust, Mrs. Coulter in Article Two of the Second Codicil, devised all her real estate to her children Richard Coulter and Rebecca Coulter Barclay, as trustees, vesting them with vast powers which included: (1) the right to manage, handle, control and operate the same; (2) to repair; (3) to lease; (4) to sell at public or private sale for such price as the trustees should deem proper; (5) to lay out and sub-divide into lots; (6) to lay out, construct, grade, pave and curb streets and alleys, and to dedicate such streets and alleys to public use; (7) to construct and operate pipe lines for water and gas, and conduits and pole lines for wires for the transmission of telephone messages and power purposes; (8) to landscape and beautify the lands of which she died seized. The testatrix further declared in her will that: "The enumeration of certain specific powers herein contained shall

[ 379 Pa. Page 212]

    not be held to limit the broad powers that I hereby vest in said trustees, it being my will that they shall handle, control, operate and manage all by real estate, improved or unimproved, during the existence of said trust, with the same powers as if they were the absolute owners thereof in fee simple."

In order to assure the effectuation of her intentions with regard to the real estate, Mrs. Coulter bequeathed to the trustees the $200,000 heretofore mentioned to be used by them at their discretion in exercising the powers she conferred upon them.

Mrs. Coulter's estate at the time of her death consisted of $2,175,921, in personalty and real estate, valued for Federal estate tax purposes at $406,838. The real estate included several improved properties and vacant lots in the City of Greensburg, a one-half interest in 1115 vacant lots in the Borough of Southwest Greensburg, the Hawksworth Farm of 118 acres, another 43 acres of vacant land, and 22 unimproved lots, all in Hempfield Township, which adjoins the City of Greensburg.

When Rebecca Coulter Barclay died on June 22, 1937, leaving Richard Coulter as surviving trustee, her interest as beneficiary passed to her son, John Barclay, Jr., one of the present appellants. Another son, Henry W. Coulter, had died on August 18, 1932, bequeathing his residuary estate, (which would include his interest in his mother's trust), to his four children.

Since Rebecca Coulter Barclay and Richard Coulter had also been named executors of their mother's will, they filed their first and partial account as executors on May 18, 1930, claiming and taking credit for $60,000 for their "time, trouble and expense." They also, without claiming any ...


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