William H. Mitman, West Chester, for appellants.
L. Peter Temple, Glenmoore, John S. Halsted, for appellee, Estate of Joseph E. Yarnall, Deceased.
Ira G. Barrows, Deputy Atty. Gen., Philadelphia, for appellee, Comm. of Pa.
Raymond J. Peppelman, Jr., James J. McEldrew, Philadelphia, for appellee, E. Booth Yarnall.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Manderino, JJ. Nix, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Pomeroy, J., filed a concurring opinion. Roberts, J., concurs in the result.
Joseph M. Yarnall died testate October 17, 1973, survived by six children. By the terms of his will, dated January 31, 1961, two of the children, Rachel Kimble Yarnall and Jesse Hibbard Yarnall, were appointed executors of the decedent's estate which included a farm of approximately eighty-one acres in Londonderry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Under Item III of the will, Edson Booth Yarnall, another child of the decedent, was granted an option to purchase the farm property:
". . . I hereby direct that my said son shall have the opportunity of purchasing the same at the price set for Pennsylvania Transfer Inheritance Tax purposes within twenty (20) days after said appraisement is made by the Inheritance Tax appraiser. My son shall notify my Executors, in writing, within said period whether or not he desires to purchase said real estate at said price. If my son fails to give such notice or does not desire to purchase said real estate my Executors are hereby authorized to sell and dispose of said real estate at public or private sale, . . ."
All of the residue of the estate was left to his surviving issue, per stirpes.
After the will was duly probated, the executors filed an inventory and appraisement in which the farm was valued at $81,000. On May 15, 1974, the inheritance tax appraiser for Chester County filed an appraisement which valued the farm at $125,000. One of the executors objected to the latter appraisement and filed a protest with the Department of Revenue pursuant to section
of the Inheritance Tax Act, Act of June 15, 1961, P.L. 373, 72 P.S. § 2485-1001. A hearing was then held before the Inheritance Tax Protest Board which rejected the appraisal of the inheritance tax appraiser and determined that the value of the farm, for inheritance tax purposes, was $81,000. Within twenty days of this decision, Edson Booth ...