Distribution of Royalties under Will after Disclaimer and with Ineffective Residuary Clause

The charitable bequest under the residuary clause being impossible to carry out, the Attorney General and all interested parties agreed that the clause was ineffective, so the residue of the estate would pass by intestacy. A disclaimer by one of the intestate heirs was valid, but the direction that the disclaimed share of the estate pass to another beneficiary of the estate was ineffective. The right to oil and gas royalties was intangible personal property and did not pass as part of a gift of personal belongings and tangible personal property. Hooper Estate (No. 1), 1 Fid.Rep.4th 208 (Susquehanna O.C. 2022).

In a supplemental opinion, the court held that the court’s questions during oral arguments about the executor’s changing legal positions was not evidence of judicial bias, and it was not improper for the court to cite as persuasive the reasoning of an unpublished opinion of a court of common pleas or deny a motion for reconsideration without any additional hearing. Hooper Estate (No. 2), 1 Fid.Rep.4th 216 (Susquehanna O.C. 2022), appeal quashed, 1183 MDA 2022 (Pa. Super. 9/8/2023) (non-precedential) (see “Appeal of Reconsideration Quashed“).

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