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Galloway v. United States

May 9, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J.


Presently pending before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the Defendant's motion is granted and Plaintiff's motion is denied.


Plaintiff, Edmond C. Galloway ("Galloway"), is the successor trustee of the James D. Galloway Revocable Living Trust. The decedent, James D. Galloway, created the trust on or about March 5, 1991. James Galloway, who served as the trustee during his lifetime, amended the trust on three separate occasions, the most recent on September 7, 1996. Upon his death on July 22, 1998, the trust provided that the residue would pass in four equal shares. The residual beneficiaries of James Galloway's trust included two natural persons - Edmund C. Galloway, his son, and Karen Minns, his granddaughter - as well as two charitable entities.

The trust documents generally provide for distributions to each of the four beneficiaries on two separate dates. Each of the residual beneficiaries received 50% of their total expectancy - in other words, 50% of their one-quarter share - in early 2006. The remaining corpus of the trust will be paid to the beneficiaries in four equal one-quarter shares on January 1, 2016. At that point, the trust will cease to exist.

The trust documents specify with respect to the individual beneficiaries that, if either of them is not living at the time of final distribution, his or her share will be distributed to the remaining beneficiaries. If both individual beneficiaries are deceased at the time of final distribution, the entire corpus would go to the charitable beneficiaries.

On its federal estate tax return, the Trust claimed a deduction under 26 U.S.C. § 2055(a) in the amount of $399,079.33, the portion of the corpus it anticipated would ultimately be distributed to the charitable beneficiaries. The IRS denied the deduction, determining that the trust constituted a "split interest trust" in that it divided the same property between charitable and non-charitable entities. On the basis of 26 U.S.C. § 2055(e)(2), which disallows a deduction where a trust creates a split interest, the IRS required the estate to pay an additional $160,394.13. Plaintiff paid the disputed amount and then filed an appeal to the IRS seeking a refund. The IRS denied the appeal on February 5, 2003.

On February 4, 2005, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit. On January 6, 2006, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment. On February 13, 2006, the United States responded to Plaintiff's motion and concurrently filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. This Court heard oral arguments on the motions on April 6, 2006. This issue is thus ripe for resolution.


Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In order to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must "make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of [each] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In evaluating whether the non-moving party has established each necessary element, the Court must grant all reasonable inferences from the evidence to the non-moving party. Knabe v. Boury Corp., 114 F.3d 407, 410, n.4 (3d Cir. 1997) (citingMatsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986)). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a reasonable trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Id. (quoting Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587).


26 U.S.C. § 2055(a) allows a deduction from a decedent's gross estate for the amount of "all bequests, legacies, devises, or transfers to or for the use of a qualifying charitable entity." Section 2055(e)(2), however, disallows a deduction where a trust creates a "split interest" by bequeathing interests in the same property to both charitable and non-charitable beneficiaries:

(e) Disallowance of deductions in certain cases. --

(2) Where an interest in property . . . passes or has passed from the decedent to a person, or for a use, described in subsection (a), and an interest (other than an interest which is extinguished upon the decedent's death) in the same property passes or has passed (for less than an adequate and full consideration in money or money's worth) from the decedent to a person, or for a use, not described in subsection (a), no deduction shall be allowed under this section for the interest which passes or has passed to the person, or for the use, described in subsection (a) unless--

(A) in the case of a remainder interest, such interest is in a trust which is a charitable remainder annuity trust or a charitable remainder unitrust . . . or a pooled income fund. . . .

26 U.S.C. ยง 2055(e)(2). Although Section 2055(e)(2) creates a limited exception that allows a split interest trust to receive a charitable deduction when the trust is created in one of three specified forms - to wit, an annuity trust, a unitrust, or a pooled income ...

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