to obtain her distributive share. She contended that the administrator was guilty of gross misconduct, and made false statements to the State Probate Court, had withheld a true inventory of decedent's property, and had obtained a receipt from plaintiff by fraudulent means. The Supreme Court upheld the jurisdiction of the federal courts, stating "that a court of chancery, as an incident to its power to enforce trusts, and make those holding a fiduciary relation account, has jurisdiction to compel executors and administrators to account and distribute the assets in their hands." Payne v. Hook, supra at 431.
In Hayes v. Pratt, 147 U.S. 557, 13 S. Ct. 503, 37 L. Ed. 279 (1893), a testator had established a testamentary trust, the purpose of which was to establish a home for aged and infirm mechanics. His will named two trustees and two successor trustees. When the two original trustees had died, the property passed by the terms of the will to Pratt, one of the successor trustees. However, the son of one of the original trustees had secured an appointment by the New Jersey Orphans' Court as trustee over part of the assets, but had not applied them for the purpose directed by the testator. Pratt sued him in federal court to account for the assets and to require him to turn them over to him for administration. Again the Supreme Court held that the federal courts had jurisdiction over the matter.
The Supreme Court found that the lower court had erroneously assumed jurisdiction in Byers v. McAuley, 149 U.S. 608, 13 S. Ct. 906, 37 L. Ed. 867 (1893). There the federal court had taken complete control of the administration of an estate. The opinion distinguished Payne v. Hook, supra on the ground that in the latter the court made no attempt to take possession of the estate assets, settle the claims of the citizens of the state inter se or administer the estate, "but simply acted to establish and enforce, in behalf of a citizen of another state, her claim to a share of the estate." Byers v. McAuley, supra at 617, 13 S. Ct. at 909. See also Farrell v. O'Brien, 199 U.S. 89, 25 S. Ct. 727, 50 L. Ed. 101 (1905); Ellis v. Davis, 109 U.S. 485, 27 L. Ed. 1006, 3 S. Ct. 327 (1883).
In Waterman v. Canal-Louisiana Bank, 215 U.S. 33, 30 S. Ct. 10, 54 L. Ed. 80, (1909), the plaintiff sought to have certain legacies under her aunt's will declared lapsed, to prohibit two of the testatrix's nephews from sharing certain undisposed property, to have an account taken of all the testatrix's property coming into the possession of the executor, and to have herself declared sole heir at law of the decedent. The Supreme Court held that the relief sought went beyond the equity power of the federal courts insofar as it asked for an accounting of the estate. "* * * [In] so far as the probate administration of the estate is concerned in the payment of debts, and the settlement of the accounts by the executor or administrator, the jurisdiction of the probate court may not be interfered with." Waterman v. Canal-Louisiana Bank, supra at 45, 30 S. Ct. at 13. Yet the court stated that the lower federal tribunal
"has the right to, determine, as between the parties before the court, the interest of the complainant in the alleged lapsed legacy and residuary estate, because of the facts presented in the bill. The decree to be granted cannot interfere with the possession of the estate in the hands of the executor, while being administered in the probate court, but it will be binding upon the executor, and may be enforced against it personally. If the Federal court finds that the complainant is entitled to the alleged lapsed legacy and the residue of the estate, while it cannot interfere with the probate court in determining the amount of the residue arising from the settlement of the estate in the court of probate, the decree can find the amount of the residue, as determined by the administration in the probate court in the hands of the executor, to belong to the complainant, and to be held in trust for her, thus binding the executor personally". Waterman v. Canal-Louisiana Bank, supra at 46, 30 S. Ct. at 13.