Appeal from order of Orphans' Court of Luzerne County, No. 327 of 1963, in re estate of Elizabeth Hileman Meyers, or Elizabeth A. Meyers, deceased.
Charles A. Shea, Jr., for appellants.
Charles D. Lemmond, Jr., for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Eagen join in this concurring opinion. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.
Elizabeth Hileman Meyers died testate February 24, 1963. She appointed Samuel Davis, Richard E. Hileman and Ray Goulstone as executors.
Item Twenty-two of the will pertinently provides: "I direct that Samuel Davis be given the first option to purchase my real estate in Kingston, Pennsylvania, at a price to be determined as follows :*fn1 Richard E. Hileman and Ray Goulstone, two of my executors hereinafter named, shall appoint one qualified appraiser and Samuel Davis shall appoint one qualified appraiser and the two appraisers so selected shall jointly select a third qualified appraiser. The three appraisers as aforesaid, or a majority of them, shall fix a fair and just value upon my said real estate, and Samuel Davis shall have the option to purchase the said real estate at the appraised value within sixty (60) days thereafter. If Samuel Davis shall not so purchase my said real estate, I desire Richard E. Hileman to have like option to purchase the same at the price established as aforesaid, within sixty (60) days from the date of the expiration of the option of Samuel Davis."
Davis appointed a qualified appraiser, Hileman and Goulstone appointed another qualified appraiser, and the two appraisers so selected jointly selected a third qualified appraiser, to fix a fair and just value of the property in accordance with the provisions of the will. There was no contention of fraud, accident or mistake, or that the appraisers were not qualified.
On May 23, 1963, Hileman as executor signed and filed an inventory of the property of the decedent in which, inter alia, the value of this Kingston real estate was fixed at $25,000, and taxes were paid by the executors on this valuation.
On July 16th, the three appraisers filed a written appraisal fixing the fair and just value of decedent's Kingston real estate at $24,000. The record does not disclose, nor do the executors contend, that they submitted to the appraisers any evidence of the value of the Kingston property.
On August 27th, Davis exercised his option and proffered $24,000 for the purchase of the property; this offer Hileman and Goulstone, the other two executors, refused to accept.
On September 13th, Hileman (who is not only one of the three executors but was likewise one of the three possible optionees, as well as one of the three residuary legatees, and also one of the two ...