Appeal, No. 208, Jan. T., 1955, from decree of Orphans' Court of Cumberland County, Jan. T., 1954, No. 23, in re: Sadler's Estate (No. 2). Decree reversed.
Edwin M. Blumenthal, with him Ralph S. Snyder, Deputy Attorney General, and Herbert L. Cohen, Attorney General, for appellant.
Hermas Weary, with him Weary, Hess & Humer, for appellee.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE
The appeal is by the Commonwealth from a decree of the Orphans' Court of Cumberland County sustaining an appeal from the assessment of a transfer inheritance tax by the Register of Wills.
The uncontroverted facts are stated in the opinion of the court below as follows: "On June 28, 1948 Horace T. Sadler and Helen B. Sadler, his wife, entered into written articles of agreement for the sale of the Sadler Mansion and grounds known as 'Thornewold' to the Old Folks' Home of the Potomac Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States, hereinafter referred to as the Church. The sales price was $100,000., of which $10,000. was paid upon the signing of the agreement. The sellers reserved the right to the 'use and occupancy of the premises as long as either shall live and shall desire to use and occupy the same.' The balance of the purchase price was to be paid at the rate of $5,000. per year while the sellers remained in
possession, and $10,000. per year upon the removal of the sellers. Payments in no event were to exceed $100,000., and no interest was payable on unpaid balances. Upon the death of both of the sellers before payment was completed, the unpaid balance was to be cancelled and the sellers agreed that they would direct their executors to cancel the indebtedness in such manner as the buyer might require.
"The agreement further provided for the delivery of a deed in escrow to the Farmers Trust Company to be held until the payments had been completed or both sellers had died, in which event the deed was to be delivered to the buyer. Taxes and insurance were payable by the buyer. So long as the sellers occupied the property they bore the cost of upkeep and maintenance and buyer was entitled to inspection only upon sellers' permission.
"Horace T. Sadler was born February 2, 1879 and Helen B. Sadler on November 28, 1876.
"In conformity to the agreement, a general warranty deed for the premises was executed on June 28, 1948, containing a reservation of a life estate to ...