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Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Estate of Herman J. Bosch

decided: July 6, 1966.

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, PETITIONER,
v.
ESTATE OF HERMAN J. BOSCH, DECEASED, IRVING TRUST COMPANY, EXECUTOR, RESPONDENT



Friendly, Hays and Feinberg, Circuit Judges. Friendly, Circuit Judge (dissenting).

Author: Hays

HAYS, Circuit Judge.

The Commissioner petitions for review of a decision of the Tax Court which held that the Commissioner had erroneously disallowed the sum of $70,222.04 as a marital deduction under Section 2056(b)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, 26 U.S.C. § 2056(b)(5).*fn1 We affirm the Tax Court.

The facts are fairly simple and are not in dispute.

On April 9, 1930 the decedent set up a trust by the terms of which the income was to be paid to his wife during her lifetime. Upon the death of the wife the corpus was to be paid to the grantor or his estate. The trust was amendable and revocable.

On February 6, 1931 decedent amended the trust instrument to grant to his wife a general power of appointment. She was empowered to appoint by her will the corpus of the trust to any "persons and/or corporations." The amendment provided for a disposition over in the event the wife failed to exercise her power of appointment.

On October 25, 1951, the wife executed a document by which she purported to release a portion of her general power of appointment under the trust and to convert it into a special power of appointment.*fn2

It appears from the document itself and it is readily conceded by the trustee, which proposed to Mr. and Mrs. Bosch the execution of the release, that the purpose of the release was to take advantage of the Powers of Appointment Act of 1951, Ch. 165, 65 Stat. 91, amending Int. Rev. Code of 1939, § 811(f) (now Int. Rev. Code of 1954, § 2041), then recently enacted, and thus "to prevent the assets of the trust being taxed as part of Margaret Bosch's estate."

On April 6, 1957 Herman Bosch died. His executor claimed a marital deduction for the value of the trust. The Commissioner determined that the trust did not qualify for the marital deduction and asserted a federal tax deficiency based upon the disallowances of the amount of $70,222.04, the value of the corpus of the trust.

The executor filed a petition in the Tax Court for a redetermination of the deficiency. While the action was pending in the Tax Court, the trustee, which was also executor of the estate of Herman Bosch, brought a proceeding in the New York Supreme Court for a settlement of its account as trustee. In connection with the proceeding in the New York Supreme Court, the trustee asked for a determination of the validity of Mrs. Bosch's release of part of her power of appointment. Respondent stipulated and conceded that the New York proceeding was instituted "at least in part for the purpose of affecting [the] outcome of the case before the Tax Court. The trustee's petition in the New York court described the proceedings then pending in the Tax Court, and stated the position taken in that proceeding by the executor.

The issue in the state proceeding was whether the release executed by Mrs. Bosch on October 25, 1951 was effective. Three briefs were filed in the New York proceeding, one for Mrs. Bosch, one for the trustee, and one by a guardian ad litem in behalf of a minor interested in the trust by reason of being a possible beneficiary in the event Mrs. Bosch died without exercising her power of appointment. All three briefs argued that the release was a nullity. No argument for the validity of the release was presented to the court.

There were twenty-two persons having the same interest as the infant who was represented by the guardian ad litem. Although they received notice of the proceeding, none of them appeared.

The state court held that Mrs. Bosch's purported release was a nullity.*fn3

The Tax Court decided to accept the New York decision and gave the following ...


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