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ESTATE JOHN H. MCCLATCHY (01/27/81)

decided: January 27, 1981.

ESTATE OF JOHN H. MCCLATCHY, DECEASED. APPEAL OF J. HOWARD MECKE, III AND MARY ELIZABETH COMISKEY, EXECUTORS


No. 412 January Term, 1978, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Orphans' Court Division at No. 62556.

COUNSEL

Dunstan McNichol, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Calvin S. Drayer, Jr., Norristown, for appellee.

J. Brooke Aker, Norristown, for McClatchy, et al.

Robert E. J. Curran, Media, for Curran, et al.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 492 Pa. Page 353]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from a decree of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County directing final distribution of the estate of John H. McClatchy. The decree also dismissed the exceptions of appellants, executors of the estate of Marie J. Mecke (a

[ 492 Pa. Page 354]

    daughter and heir of decedent McClatchy), to the second and third accounts of appellees, executors of the McClatchy estate.*fn1 Appellants' sole claim is that the auditing judge erred in allowing a total of $44,000 in counsel fees to be charged against the estate. Appellants allege that $19,000 of this amount represents compensation for services to the executors individually, not to the estate, and thus should have been paid personally by appellees.

This is the second time that we have been asked to consider such a claim in connection with appellees' administration of this estate, see McClatchy Estate, 433 Pa. 232, 249 A.2d 320 (1969). As we did eleven years ago, we hold again today that the auditing judge did not abuse his discretion in allowing the full amount of counsel fees for the complex and lengthy administration of this estate to be charged against the estate. Accordingly, the decree is affirmed.

Most of the relevant facts of this controversy are recounted and considered in our 1969 opinion. In that proceeding, certain heirs of John H. McClatchy, not including the present appellants' decedent, argued numerous objections to appellee executors' first account of the estate, all of which were decided in favor of appellees.*fn2 There, in addressing the appellants' contention that the $25,000 of paid and projected counsel fees listed in the first account was excessive and that the excess ...


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