no value resulting from the fee contracts is includible in the gross estate as a matter of law cannot be maintained.
II. Argument that these fee contracts are incapable of valuation as a matter of law.
Plaintiff contends that the valuation of these fee contracts at the time of Dawson's death was a matter of such great speculation and conjecture that the Commissioner was, as a matter of law, precluded from placing a worth on them. Plaintiff's argument is this: At the time of Dawson's death, the Master's report had not yet been filed, and an adverse report could have issued. Also, even a favorable Master's report could have been overturned either by the Orphans' Court or by any of the appellate courts to which appeals were eventually taken. Plaintiff argues that these factors made valuation as of the date of Dawson's death a matter of mere guesswork.
There is nothing in the record, however, to indicate the possibilities, at the time of Dawson's death, of occurrence of any of the events suggested by plaintiff.
Perhaps the best answer to this contention is the uncontradicted affidavit filed by defendant on December 16, 1955, stating that these contingent fee contracts had substantial value, as explained more fully below.
III. Argument that these fee contracts are valueless as a matter of fact and, thus, summary judgment is proper.
Plaintiff argues that these fee contracts are valueless as a matter of fact, thus making summary judgment proper, and has submitted affidavits in support of this contention.
However, defendant has filed an affidavit on December 16, 1955, which states that the contracts had substantial value at the date of Dawson's death.
This affidavit shows that a potential purchaser of contingent interests in the estate of Henrietta E. Garrett, deceased, who had investigated the relative merits of the various claimants to the estate in 1949, concluded that it had become 'substantially certain' by August 1949 that the three persons represented by H. Alan Dawson would receive all or part of the above-mentioned estate. The affidavit further states that 'at the time of the death of H. Alan Dawson on August 26, 1949, his contingent fee contracts above described had substantial value and your deponent would have at that time been willing to purchase the same at a mutually satisfactory price.' In view of this affidavit, a factual issue is raised by the affidavits and summary judgment cannot be granted.