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ROBERTS ESTATE. (03/14/55)

March 14, 1955

ROBERTS ESTATE.


Appeals, Nos. 87 and 89, Jan. T., 1955, from decree of Orphans' Court of Delaware County, 1949, No. 315, in Estate of William J. Roberts, Deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

James A. Moore, with him A. Sidney Johnson, Jr., John G. Bartol, Jr., James A. McGoldrick, Butler, Beatty, Greer & Johnson, and Pepper, Bodine, Frick, Scheetz & Hamilton, for appellants.

R. Winfield Baile, with him George W. Thompson, for appellee.

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

Author: Chidsey

[ 380 Pa. Page 601]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

These are correlated appeals from the final decree of the Orphans' Court of Delaware County upon adjudication of the first and final account of executors in the Estate of William J. Roberts, deceased.

The decedent died May 20, 1949, unmarried, without issue and leaving a substantial estate. For some time prior to his death he had resided in the home of Mrs. Ella N. Greenfield.He was the owner of a coal and building material business which for a number of years had been solely managed by his employe, William Hottenstein. By a will dated March 18, 1948, in addition to other pecuniary bequests he bequeathed $10,000 to Hottenstein and gave his residuary estate to Mrs. Greenfield. By another will dated May 11, 1948 the decedent, following some pecuniary bequests, provided: "SECOND. I give devise and bequeath unto WILLIAM HOTTENSTEIN, free and clear of Pennsylvania State Inheritance Tax and Federal Estate taxes, in appreciation of his many years of faithful services to me, my Coal and Building Materials business situate in Llanerch, Pennsylvania, including all of the real estate

[ 380 Pa. Page 602]

    upon which said business is conducted, all the stock, coal and merchandise on hand and all the equipment used in connection therewith and the Good Will thereof. This devise and bequest also includes all Accounts Receivable of said business, provided the said William Hottenstein shall assume and pay all bills payable pertaining thereto ...", and then bequeathed and devised his residuary estate to Mrs. Greenfield, or in case she predeceased him, to Mrs. Greenfield's daughter, Mrs. Margaret Harrison.

Hottenstein appealed from the probate of the March will, alleging the existence of the May will. Before any hearing was held, an agreement in settlement of the incipient will contest was made and executed on July 18, 1949 by Robert W. Beatty and Mrs. Harrison (the executors under the March will), Mrs. Greenfield and Hottenstein, the basic subject matter of which was the decedent's business and real estate on which it was located that would have gone to Mrs. Greenfield under the March will but to Hottenstein under the May will. The estate was solvent and the residuary estate to which Mrs. Greenfiled was entitled under either will was substantially in excess of the value of the business and appurtenant real estate.

Summarized, this agreement, entered into to avoid a will contest, provided that Hottenstein was to get decedent's business and accompanying real estate in return for which he renounced any claim that he had under the March will; he also agreed to pay certain inheritance and estate taxes and to pay for various items of equipment and supplies belonging to the business; and further agreed to the payment of stated monthly rentals for the use of the business property. The estate, with the help of ...


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