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VOEGTLY ESTATE. (05/28/59)

May 28, 1959

VOEGTLY ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 54, March T., 1959, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, No. 2162 of 1957, in re estate of Henry J. Voegtly, deceased. Decree affirmed. Audit of account. Adjudication filed confirming account; exceptions to adjudication dismissed and decree entered, opinion by WOLK, J. Exceptant appealed.

COUNSEL

William McC. Houston, with him Houston & Houston, for appellant.

Ralph S. Snyder, Deputy Attorney General, with him Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for appellee.

Before Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and Bok, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 396 Pa. Page 91]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

The testator, Henry J. Voegtly, died on May 2, 1957, survived by Sarah Louise Ericke, niece appellant, and her brother, John Veckly, Adm. c.t.a. and Trustee of the disputed residuary clause, who has assumed a passive role in the proceedings.

The testator executed a holographic will dated February 1, 1957, in which he made various cash legacies to certain named churches, hospitals and other charitable institutions. Cash legacies were also made to certain named individuals, among these the nephew and niece. The subject of this appeal concerns the remaining dispositive clause of the will which provided as follows: "The Balance of the Estate to be deposited and nephew John Veckly to serve as Trustee and distributed in a period of five years to Charities or causes he may select."

The italicized portion of the residuary clause was attacked by the niece on the theory that the trust was void for indefiniteness and, therefore, the distribution of the residue should be made to her and her brother. The lower court decreed that the residuary clause was not void for indefiniteness and, after exceptions were dismissed, this appeal was taken.

By the powers of parens patriae, the Attorney General has been an active participant in this proceedings because, in both Garrison Estate, 391 Pa. 234, 137 A.2d 321 (1958), and Pruner Estate, 390 Pa. 529, 136 A.2d 107 (1957), this Court had occasion to reaffirm the necessity of the Attorney General's participation as an indispensable party in every proceeding which

[ 396 Pa. Page 92]

    affects a charitable trust, whether the proceeding be one of invalidation, termination, administration or enforcement of such trust.

Appellant's main contention is that the word "causes" in the phrase "charities or causes" permits the trustee to distribute trust funds for purposes not charitable in nature. An able analysis by the court below on ...


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