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MATTHEWS ESTATE (04/22/70)

decided: April 22, 1970.

MATTHEWS ESTATE


Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Lackawanna County, No. 1145 of 1945, in re estate of Louise Matthews, deceased.

COUNSEL

H. R. Van Deusen, Jr., with him Van Deusen, Van Deusen and Reedy, for appellant.

Ernest J. Gazda, Sr., with him Ernest J. Gazda, Jr., for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.

Author: Bell

[ 439 Pa. Page 70]

This is a will case which presents the oftentimes difficult question of when the principal of a testamentary trust vested, and, consequently, to whom it should be distributed. The lower Court decided that the interest of the widow of the life tenant was not vested and terminated at her death.

The testatrix, Louise Matthews, died on November 23, 1945, leaving a will dated February 21, 1941. After certain minor bequests of personal effects and a provision for perpetual cemetery care, testatrix created two trusts, designated Trust No. 1 and Trust No. 2, each of which was to be funded with an equal part of her residuary estate. We are here concerned primarily with the interpretation of Trust No. 2, which is contained in a very lengthy and at times confusing residuary paragraph of her will.

Paragraph Fourth of testatrix's will gave her residuary estate in trust, provided the trustee with very wide powers of investment, and also contained a subsequent and somewhat confusing spendthrift trust provision. It pertinently provided: "Fourth: . . . (2) To divide the property which I have left in trust into two equal parts, designated as 'Trust No. 1', and 'Trust No. 2.'

[ 439 Pa. Page 71]

"(4) Trust No. 2. The trustee shall pay the income of Trust No. 2 to my brother William Matthews, in quarterly payments, during his lifetime. Upon the death of said William Matthews the corpus of Trust No. 2 shall become vested in Marguerite Hall Matthews,*fn* wife of William Matthews, and William Matthews, Third, and Edward C. Matthews, children of William Matthews, share and share alike, but the corpus of Trust No. 2 shall not be distributed until Edward C. Matthews shall have reached the age of thirty years, nor in any case until the death of Marguerite Hall Matthews, during which time the trustee shall pay the income of Trust No. 2 to Marguerite Hall Matthews, William Matthews, Third, and Edward C. Matthews, in quarterly payments, share and share alike.

"If either Marguerite Hall Matthews, William Matthews, Third, or Edward C. Matthews, shall die before my brother William Matthews [none did], the share of the deceased shall pass to the two surviving participants of this trust in equal shares, together with the right to receive the income therefrom should the time be prior to that at which Edward C. Matthews becomes thirty years of age or the death of Marguerite Hall Matthews.

"If William Matthews, Third, and Edward C. Matthews die before their father, William Matthews [neither did], then the corpus of Trust No. 2 shall become vested in their children, if any, living at the time of the death of William Matthews, but that distribution of the corpus shall not take place until they reach the age of twenty-one years nor ...


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