Appeal from decree of Orphans' Court of Bucks County, No. 28686, in re estate of Frederic B. Jaekel, deceased.
Howard M. Koff, with him Lee A. Jackson, Loring W. Post, I. Henry Kutz, of the Department of Justice, Washington, D. C., Richard C. Pugh, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Mitchell Rogovin, Assistant Attorney General, Meyer Rothwacks, Acting Chief, Appellate Section, Merna B. Marshall, Assistant United States Attorney, of Washington, D. C., and Drew J. T. O'Keefe, United States Attorney, for United States of America, appellant.
Samuel W. Morris, with him Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellee.
Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.
This is an appeal from a decree of the Orphans' Court of Bucks County entered after the first and final accounting in the Estate of Frederic B. Jaekel by the executors of the deceased executrix.
Frederic B. Jaekel, (decedent), a Bucks County resident, died on February 9, 1943, survived by his widow, Edith M. Jaekel, and one daughter, Virginia J. Clough. Frederic B. Jaekel, Jr., decedent's son who was mentioned in decedent's will, had predeceased decedent and, at the time of his death, he left neither wife nor issue.
In decedent's will -- dated January 11, 1919, and not thereafter republished*fn1 -- decedent gave to his wife, Edith, a legal life estate in what amounted, by reason of the lapse of the gifts to his son, to all of his property, real and personal, and he conferred upon her the right to possess the estate so given for life without the entry of any security. In addition, decedent gave his wife a general power of testamentary appointment providing that, upon her death, his estate would go to such persons as she might, by her last will, direct and appoint and, upon failure to so appoint, then to his daughter Virginia.
Edith Jaekel, the executrix and life tenant, died on August 21, 1961. By her last will -- dated July 30, 1954 -- she made several specific bequests totaling $19,000 "free of all transfer inheritance and estate taxes of every kind, which taxes I direct shall be paid from the rest of my estate" and the will further provided: "SIXTH: All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate of every kind, real, personal and mixed, I give, bequeath and devise to my daughter, Virginia Jaekel Clough, in the event that she survives me for a period of twenty days; and in the event that she dies before me or does not survive me for twenty days, I give, bequeath and devise the same to the children of my daughter Virginia living at the time of my death, share and share alike."
The present controversy requires that we determine whether the general power of testamentary appointment given under decedent's will to Edith Jaekel had been exercised by her will. Regardless of the outcome of
the controversy, Virginia Clough, decedent's daughter, will take the residue of the estate. The crucial issue is whether she will take the residue of the estate diminished by the amount of a federal estate tax which will attach in the event it is determined that Edith Jaekel by her will did exercise the power of appointment.
The decree of the Orphans' Court of Bucks County determined that Edith Jaekel had not exercised, by her will, the power of appointment. To this decree the United States Government filed exception. These exceptions were dismissed and ...