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ESTATE REBECCA ROBERTS SHELLY A/K/A REBECCA R. ANTHONY (10/07/83)

filed: October 7, 1983.

ESTATE OF REBECCA ROBERTS SHELLY A/K/A REBECCA R. ANTHONY, REBECCA MCINNES ROBERTS, REBECCA MCINNES ROBERTS SHELLY, AND REBECCA R. SHELLY, DECEASED. APPEAL OF ROBERTS SHELLY FOUNDATION AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AS PARENS PATRIAE


No. 3302 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Order Entered October 28, 1982 in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 73068.

COUNSEL

Lawrence Barth, Deputy Attorney General, Philadelphia and David M. Jordan, Norristown, for appellants.

William L. Huganir, Norristown, for participating parties.

Wickersham, Watkins and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Watkins

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 575]

This is an appeal from the Order dated October 28, 1982 of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Montgomery County granting exceptions filed by the appellee, Rose K. Pallitto, to the adjudication of the Orphans' Court dated June 20, 1979 wherein the Orphans' Court had ordered the distribution of the entire estate in question to the Roberts Shelly Foundation. The appellant in this appeal, Roberts Shelly Foundation, now appeals this order.

This case has a long and complex history. On three separate occasions various issues regarding the Rebecca Shelly Estate have been heard and determined by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. See, Shelly Estate, 436 Pa. 430, 345 A.2d 596 (1975); Estate of Shelly, 484 Pa. 322, 399 A.2d 98 (1979) and Shelly Estate, 496 Pa. 404, 437 A.2d 936 (1981).

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 576]

As briefly as possible, the history of the case is as follows. The decedent, Rebecca Roberts Shelly, died on February 16, 1971, and her estate has been in virtually continuous litigation ever since. A lawyer herself, Mrs. Shelly prepared her will on November 12, 1965, which will was finally, at the direction of the Supreme Court, probated after a later will dated in 1969 sometime was denied probate; Estate of Shelly, 484 Pa. 322, 399 A.2d 98 (1979). In the course of litigation, the Orphans' Court of Montgomery County named Raymond Pearlstine as trustee ad litem to uphold the interest of the charitable remainderman, the Roberts Shelly Foundation. Subsequently, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania participated in the litigation, as parens patriae, and the Roberts Shelly Foundation itself appeared with counsel.

The will of the decedent presented numerous problems. She represented herself as "Rebecca R. Anthony", claiming to be the "wife of Peter S. Anthony". In fact, however, the decedent was a widow whose name was Rebecca Roberts Shelly. The fictitious "husband" was utilized by Mrs. Shelly to file fraudulent joint income tax returns over a period of years before her death, thereby making substantial savings. Mrs. Shelly, as was well developed in the prior litigation of this estate, had intense feelings about the inequity of the tax laws and the malevolence of those who administer them, and she was able to overcome both her legal training and her strong religious background in order to devise schemes to keep the Internal Revenue Service from her assets.

She provided in her will for a bequest "unto my husband, Peter S. Anthony so much of my estate as shall be equal in amount to the full Marital Deduction IN TRUST NEVERTHELESS, and I order and direct that the entire income arising therefrom, shall be paid to my said husband in quarterly payments, for and during the full term of his natural life, and I further vest in my said Husband the power to appoint this trust property, to take effect at his death."

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 577]

Decedent left the residue "unto my Husband Peter S. Anthony in trust for . . . life" with the remainder to the Roberts Shelly Foundation, a private charitable foundation created by the decedent during her lifetime. Evidence established that she gave constant attention to ...


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