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ESTATE BERNARD R. HUGHES (09/15/86)

filed: September 15, 1986.

IN RE ESTATE OF BERNARD R. HUGHES, DECEASED. APPEAL OF A. JAMES GRANITO, EXCEPTANT


Appeal from the Order of November 1, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Orphans', No. 4691 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Fred C. Houston, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Rowley, McEwen and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Mcewen

[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 105]

This appeal has been taken from an order*fn1 which (1) stayed the sale of real estate which was the subject of a written agreement between appellant and the administratrix of the instant estate, and (2) permitted the sale of the realty to a subsequent offeror. We affirm.

The personal representative of decedent had entered into an agreement with appellant for the sale of certain real estate for the sum of $42,000. Prior to settlement under that agreement, however, one of the heirs petitioned the

[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 106]

    court to restrain the administratrix from completion of the sale of the property under the agreement because (1) an offer had been made to purchase the property for $60,000, and (2) the administratrix had agreed that the real property would not be sold without the prior approval of all of the heirs.

Appellant contends that the court en banc erred in dismissing his exceptions to the order which granted the petition to restrain the sale of the realty. Appellant argues that the order was improper under Section 3360(a) of the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code which provides:

§ 3360. Contracts, inadequacy of consideration or better offer; brokers' commission

(a) Inadequacy of consideration or better offer. -- When a personal representative shall make a contract not requiring approval of court, or when the court shall approve a contract of a personal representative requiring approval of the court, neither inadequacy of consideration, nor the receipt of an offer to deal on other terms shall, except as otherwise agreed by the parties, relieve the personal representative of the obligation to perform his contract or shall constitute ground for any court to set aside the contract, or to refuse to enforce it by specific performance or otherwise; Provided, That this subsection shall not affect or change the inherent right of the court to set aside a contract for fraud, accident or mistake. Nothing in this subsection shall affect the liability of a personal representative for surcharge on the ground of negligence or bad faith in making a contract.

20 Pa.C.S. § 3360(a). This statute is a reenactment of the Act of May 24, 1945, P.L. 944, 20 P.S. §§ 818, 819, which was specifically enacted to ensure the finality of fiduciaries' contracts. Prior to the passage of that statute, the courts had consistently held that where a fiduciary "had agreed to sell trust property, he not only could, but must, repudiate the agreement at any time before final settlement and ...


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