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MASTRIA ESTATE (01/07/64)

January 7, 1964

IN RE MASTRIA ESTATE


Appeal, No. 180, Jan. T., 1963, from decree of Orphans' Court of Northampton County, No. 85 of 1959, in re estate of Frank Mastria, deceased. Decree, as modified, affirmed.

COUNSEL

J. Douglas Fackenthal, with him Fackenthal, Teel & McGiffert, for appellant.

George Weitzman, with him Goodman & Weitzman, for appellee.

Francis H. S. Ede, for guardian ad litem, appellee.

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

Author: Bell

[ 413 Pa. Page 279]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BELL

This appeal from a Final Decree raises the question of the validity of several surcharges which were imposed upon an Executor by the Auditing Judge and affirmed by the Orphans' Court.

Frank Mastria died January 31, 1959, leaving a Will dated July 18, 1958, which was duly probated. David Thomas Reibman, the appellant, was appointed Executor and also Trustee for minor grandchildren upon trusts which are presently irrelevant. On April 4, 1959, testator's widow elected to take against the Will. After audit and hearing, the Auditing Judge imposed the surcharges which will be hereinafter discussed, and exceptions to these surcharges were dismissed by the Orphans' Court.

We shall briefly summarize only those important relevant facts which appear in the confusing record.*fn1

[ 413 Pa. Page 280]

The first and most important surcharge was for $13,500. This represented the difference between (a) the fair market value of premises 540 Northampton Street, not at testator's death but as of the Spring*fn2 of 1959, and (b) the price for which the Executor sold the property at public sale two years later. In the Spring of 1959, testator's widow made an offer in writing to purchase this property and its contents for $30,000. Testator's furniture which was in the nine apartments in this Northampton Street property was never inventoried, but the Executor testified it had a value of $5,000/$6,000. No finding on this point was made by the Auditing Judge or the Orphans' Court. The contents of the store were inventoried at $1,109.95 although the contents of the store were apparently not included in the public sale of the premises hereinafter referred to. The Executor rejected the widow's offer as inadequate.

On January 31, 1961, exactly two years after testator's death, the Executor - with the prior approval of the Orphans' Court - bid and bought at public sale the property, together with the furnishings in the apartments, for ...


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