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EDWARDS ESTATE. (05/04/62)

May 4, 1962

IN RE EDWARDS ESTATE.


Appeals, Nos. 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172 and 173, March T., 1962, from decree of Orphans' Court of Indiana County, Dec. T., 1957, No. 37, in re distribution of funds in hands of The Savings & Trust Company of Indiana, trustee under will of Harry Kelso Edwards, deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

John S. Simpson, with him Fisher, Ruddock & Simpson, for appellants

Alan Holsinger, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 407 Pa. Page 513]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BELL

These are appeals by named legatees from the final decree of the Orphans' Court of Indiana County affirming the auditor's report which held that the will violated the rule against perpetuities and directed the testamentary trustee to distribute the entire corpus of the estate to the testator's heirs at law.

Testator, a bachelor without issue, died on January 29, 1938, leaving, under Paragraph Third of his will, a life estate in Mrs. Mary E. Edwards, who died on September 25, 1957. The trustee filed a first and partial account. Paragraph Fourth creates the controversy now in issue. It provides: "At the death of the said Mrs. Mary E. Edwards, the income*fn1 of the said trust fund shall be paid to the following named persons in equal shares and in semi-annual payments [naming 13 individuals, three of whom were his heirs at law. This was prima facie a valid provision].

[ 407 Pa. Page 514]

"In the event of the death of any of the above named legatees, their interest [in income] shall go in equal shares to their children. If any of the said legatees should die without children, their respective interest shall revert to the trust fund, and the interest thereof shall be divided equally among the remaining legatees. It is my will and I therefore direct that the income from the trust fund shall be paid in the same manner to the grandchildren of the above named legatees during their lifetime, and at their death, their respective shares of the corpus of the trust fund be paid to their children, each child to receive the proportionate share of his or her parent in the said fund. [This gift violated the Rule against Perpetuities.] In the event any of the said grandchildren should die without leaving issue, then the interest of such person shall revert to the trust fund and be divided equally among the remaining legatees." This gift likewise violated the Rule against Perpetuities. In other words, not only was the testator's gift of principal invalid, but his aforesaid class gift of income violated the Rule.*fn2

The sole issue in this case is the correctness of the determination of the Court below that the invalid limitations were so much a part of testator's testamentary scheme of distribution that the intermediate life estates became infected and must fall.

The applicable rules in such situations have been definitely established, their application is sometimes difficult. In Quigley's Estate, 329 Pa. 281, 198 A. 85, Mr. Justice (later Chief Justice) STERN said (pages 289-290): "... Ordinarily the validity of ...


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