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In re Estate of Shell

Supreme Court of Nebraska

May 1, 2015

IN RE ESTATE OF MARVIN H. SHELL, DECEASED. JANE M. VOBORIL, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF MARVIN H. SHELL, DECEASED, APPELLEE,
v.
MARVIN G. VANOSDALL, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF SHARON VANOSDALL, DECEASED, APPELLANT

Appeal from the County Court for Lancaster County: MATTHEW L. ACTON, Judge.

Patrick M. Heng, of Waite, McWha & Heng, for appellant.

Mary Stoughton Wenzel for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, AND CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 277

[290 Neb. 792] Connolly, J.

SUMMARY

Jane M. Voboril and Sharon Vanosdall are the two beneficiaries of Marvin H. Shell's will. The distributions to Voboril and Vanosdall are subject to different amounts of inheritance taxes, but the county court found that the will expressed Shell's intent to treat the taxes as an expense of the estate. Vanosdall contended that the will does not clearly express this intent. Therefore, she argued that each beneficiary's distribution should bear the inheritance tax allocable to that distribution under the statutory pattern. Because the will shows Shell's intent to treat inheritance taxes as an expense of his estate, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Shell died in February 2012. Voboril is Shell's niece. Vanosdall was Shell's sister-in-law. At oral argument, counsel for the appellant indicated that Vanosdall died

Page 278

during the pendency of her appeal. Counsel filed a suggestion of death and moved to revive the action. We sustained the motion and substituted the personal representative of Vanosdall's estate as the appellant.

[290 Neb. 793] The last will and testament of Shell gives one-half of the residue of the estate to Voboril and one-half to Vanosdall. The will does not make any general or specific devises or bequests. Paragraph I directs the payment of expenses and taxes:

I authorize my Personal Representative to pay from the principal of my residuary estate as soon as is practicable, all of my debts legally owing at the time of my death and/or as allowed in the administration of my estate, the expenses of my funeral and last illness, all of the expenses of the administration of my estate, including a reasonable fee for my Personal Representative. I also authorize my Personal Representative to pay from my probate estate, without contribution or reimbursement from any person, all inheritance, legacy or estate taxes, including interest and penalties thereon, payable by reason of my death with respect to property passing under ...

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