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Haberl v. County of Monroe

OPINION FILED APRIL 9, 1986.

FLORENCE HABERL, EX'R OF THE ESTATE OF BERTHA FISHER, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF AND COUNTERDEFENDANT-APPELLEE,

v.

THE COUNTY OF MONROE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND COUNTERCLAIMANTS-APPELLANTS (ROGER SCHAEFER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND COUNTERDEFENDANTS-APPELLEES).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Monroe County; the Hon. Dennis J. Jacobsen, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WELCH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Florence Haberl, as executor of the estate of Bertha Fisher, deceased, commenced this action in the circuit court of Monroe County to construe decedent's will and codicil with respect to the payment of Federal and Illinois estate taxes. The matter was tried without a jury. The court concluded that the burden of those taxes fell entirely upon the residuary legatees under the will. The residuary legatees, the county of Monroe, owner and operator of the Monroe County Nursing Home of Waterloo, and St. Paul United Church of Christ, appeal. We affirm.

The facts are not in dispute. Decedent died on June 5, 1984. Her will, dated July 30, 1975, and codicil dated October 11, 1978, were admitted to probate. The will and codicil were as follows:

Paragraph First of the will directed that funeral expenses and decedent's debts be paid.

Paragraph Second concerned the grave monument.

Paragraphs Third through Eighth concerned specific minor bequests to certain individuals.

In Paragraph Ninth decedent bequeathed "unto each of the children of my tenants, Herbert O. Schaefer and Raymond Korves, who may be living at my death," the sum of $1,000; and also $5,000 to Dorothy Schaefer, wife of Herbert O. Schaefer, and $5,000 to Elberta Korves, wife of Raymond Korves.

In Paragraph Tenth decedent canceled the indebtedness remaining upon a contract for deed and directed that the real estate be conveyed to the purchasers.

Paragraphs Eleventh and Twelfth concerned several minor bequests of personal property, including one to Rita Schaefer, after which eight named individuals, including Dorothy Schaefer and Elberta Korves and "my then living aunts," were to be permitted to select such items as they desired of the remaining furniture and household furnishings.

Paragraph Thirteenth provided for establishment of a trust for the benefit of Jill Smith. The corpus of the trust was $30,000. Upon the death of Jill Smith, the principal of the trust and any undistributed income was to be paid over to St. Paul United Church of Christ, appellant herein.

Paragraph Fourteenth, as modified by the codicil, was as follows:

"FOURTEENTH: I give unto Raymond Korves, or his wife if he shall have predeceased me, or his children if both he and his wife shall have predeceased me, provided any of said named persons be at my death tenants thereon, the right to purchase the farm on which they may be tenants for the sum of Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000.00). They shall have five years in which to pay such purchase price and any unpaid balance shall bear interest at the rate of 4% per annum. * * *. If, individuals provided herein are tenants on said real estate at the time of my death, and do not desire to purchase the real estate in accordance with provisions hereinabove set forth, then, they shall be entitled to payment for amounts so expended by them for construction of buildings on the premises."

Paragraph Fifteenth was revoked by the codicil and the following inserted in its place:

"FIFTEENTH: I give to Roger Schaefer and Eva Schaefer, if she shall then be his wife, and, if the said Roger Schaefer be my tenant thereon at my death, the right to purchase my Bottom Farm, on which he is the tenant, for the sum of Sixty Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($60,000.00), and give them five (5) years in which to pay such purchase price, they to pay interest at the rate of four per cent (4%) per annum on any unpaid balance. Notice of such intention to purchase shall be given to my Executor within sixty (60) days after my said Will shall have been admitted to probate and an executor to have qualified. If, at the time of my death, Roger Schaefer shall not be my tenant on said Bottom Farm, or, if the said Roger Schaefer, ...


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