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NANCY C. STEPHENS v. LEWISTOWN TRUST COMPANY (10/05/78)

decided: October 5, 1978.

NANCY C. STEPHENS, RALPH G. STEPHENS, RUTH E. KNEPP, PETITIONERS,
v.
LEWISTOWN TRUST COMPANY, TRUSTEE, RESPONDENT, THE RUSSELL NATIONAL BANK, TRUSTEE AD LITEM FOR DANIEL T. KLINE, STEPHEN TODD KLINE, AMANDA PATTON AND JESSIE PATTON, MINORS, AND FOR THE UNBORN ISSUE OF NANCY C. STEPHENS, RALPH G. STEPHENS AND RUTH E. KNEPP, AND SANDRA J. STEPHENS PATTON, JOHN G. STEPHENS AND CAROL KNEPP KLINE, ADDITIONAL RESPONDENTS. APPEAL OF NANCY C. STEPHENS AND RUTH E. KNEPP



No. 87 May Term, 1977, Appeal from the Decree of the Orphans' Court Division, Court of Common Pleas of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, at No. 12,325.

COUNSEL

Robert B. Brugler, Lewistown, M. Paul Smith, Norristown, for appellants.

Harry L. Siegel, Bruce S. Nielsen, Lewistown, for appellee Lewistown Trust Co.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Larsen, J., joins the Opinion of the Court and would place the costs on the Trust Company, Respondent. Pomeroy, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Roberts

[ 481 Pa. Page 195]

OPINION OF THE COURT

We reaffirm that, in the absence of the settlor's clear demonstration of intent to the contrary, income beneficiaries are entitled to distribution of trust income in excess of minimum specified payments.

In 1951, settlor John Stephens executed a will providing for a residuary trust for the benefit of his four children, Mrs. Ruth E. Knepp, J. Paul Stephens, Donald L. Stephens and Ralph G. Stephens. Subsequently Donald died. On September 27, 1956, settlor executed a codicil by which he directed that under no circumstances would Donald's widow or issue receive any of the benefits of the trust.

[ 481 Pa. Page 196]

Items IX, X and XI of the will, as amended by the codicil, provided:

" ITEM IX. My Trustee and its successor shall hold the corpus and income of the residuary trust estate to and for the benefit of my children MRS. RUTH E. KNEPP, J. PAUL STEPHENS and RALPH G. STEPHENS, share and share alike, so that each of the said beneficiaries shall be entitled to receive one-third of the corpus and income of the trust estate in the manner hereinafter provided, subject to all of the provisions hereof.

ITEM X. Beginning three (3) months after the transfer to my Trustee of the residue of the assets of my estate, but not longer than fifteen (15) months from the date of my death, my Trustee shall pay unto each of my children MRS. RUTH E. KNEPP, J. PAUL STEPHENS and RALPH G. STEPHENS quarterly the sum of Three Hundred ($300.00) Dollars from the income and principal of their respective shares of my trust estate until the full amount of their respective shares of the income and principal of my trust estate shall have been paid to each of them.

ITEM XI. (a) If any of my children shall predecease me or shall die prior to receiving the income or principal of his or her full share of the said trust estate, such deceased child's share shall vest in the issue of such child per stirpes, share and share alike, and shall be paid in the manner hereinbefore provided until such share, both as to income and principal, is fully paid and distributed, ...


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