Thursday, April 22, 2010

Philip Pugsley Will and Probate, Part 1

(27 Utah, 489)

(Supreme Court of Utah. April 20, 1904.)


     1. Rev. St. 1898, § 3846, provides that when a person dies, leaving a surviving wife, she shall be entitled to possession of the homestead and to use the property exempt from execution till otherwise directed, and during administration shall receive such allowance out of the estate as the court may deem reasonable and necessary for her support. Held that, though a portion of the real estate of a decedent is set aside to the widow as her share of the estate, she has an absolute right to the allowance during administration; the amount being a matter in the court's discretion.

     2. In fixing the amount of the allowance for support during administration of the estate of a decedent, the age of the survivor or survivors, their health, social position, and standing, the education of the children, the value of the estate, and its solvency or insolvency, should be taken into consideration. 

     Appeal from District Court, Salt Lake County; W. C. Hall, Judge.

     Proceedings in the matter of the estate of Philip Pugsley, deceased. From an order refusing an allowance for support during administration, Martha Pugsley appeals. Reversed.

     Chas. W. Boyd, for appellant. Wilson & Smith, for executors. N. V. Jones, for objectors.

     BARTCH, J.   This appeal is from an order of the district court, sitting as a court of probate, denying and dismissing the petitions of the appellant, Martha Pugsley, widow of Philip Pugsley, deceased, for family allowance pending the administration of the estate. It appears from the record that Philip Pugsley died testate August 7, 1903, in Salt Lake City, leaving his wife, the appellant, a number of children, and Clarissa Ames Pugsley, his plural wife, who are his heirs and legatees, surviving him. The inventory and appraisement of the decedent's property showed real estate of the value of $16,700 and personal property of the value of $34,415.81. His will, which was duly admitted to probate, made certain bequests—among others, directing his executors, who were to hold his property in trust, to pay his wife, the appellant, $50 per month during her natural life, from the time of his death, and to his plural wife $40 per month, and, if a surplus of income remained each year after payment of taxes, expenses, etc., to divide one-half of such surplus between his wife and plural wife, in the same proportion as the monthly payments. The appellant elected to renounce the provisions of the will, and on September 25, 1903, filed a petition for a partition of the real estate of which the testator died seised; asking that one-third of the real estate be segregated and assigned to her. Thereupon commissioners were appointed, who on October 20, 1903, reported to the court the apportioning and setting over to the appellant of certain real estate, appraised at $4,200. This report was confirmed November 26, 1903. Before any real estate was apportioned and set over to her, the appellant filed her petition for family allowance of $80 per month for maintenance and support. To this petition the plural wife and her children filed an answer, protesting against the granting of a family allowance to the appellant. The hearing upon the issues thus raised was on October 9th set for December 14, 1903, and on the same day the court made an allowance to the widow of $50 in gross, pending the hearing. On November 18th the widow filed another petition for a further temporary allowance of $300 pending the hearing of the first petition, which was also objected to, and at the final hearing both the petitions were denied and dismissed.

To be continued...

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