Edmonds v. Crenshaw
ON appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Alabama.
The appellee, with one James M'Morris, was, by the will of Aaron Cates of South Carolina, made on the 8th day of February, 1816, and proved on the 15th of the same month, appointed executor of the will. Letters testamentary were granted to both the executors.
The will directs the estate of the testator to be sold; and after the payment of the debts, directs the executors to invest the residue of the proceeds of the estate in stocks, for the benefit of certain persons maned in the will; and who are appellants in this case.
The estate was sold, and the accounts were settled by the executors with the ordinary. The executors failed to invest the proceeds of the sales in stocks. This bill was filed to compel a performance of the directions of the will by the appellee.
The defendant, in the Circuit Court, stated in his answer, that the monies of the estate were not invested in stocks in consequence of the opposition of one of the legatees, a complainant in the bill; and because the sums collected were not sufficiently large. That although at the time of the taking out the letters testamentary, he was a resident of South Carolina, yet that in 1819 he removed to Alabama, having first delivered over to his co-executor, M'Morris, all the assets of the estate which had ever come to his hands, and took the receipt of the co-executor for the same, which receipt he filed with the Court of Ordinary which had granted the letters testamentary, and surrendered to the co-executor the exclusive management of the estate of the testator. M'Morris had become insolvent.
The case was heard on the bill, answer, and the receipt; and the Circuit Court ordered the bill to be dismissed. From this decree an appeal was prosecuted to this Court.
The case was argued by Mr. Key, for the appellants. No counsel appeared for the appellee.
For the appellants it was contended, that the defendant was bound to invest the proceeds of the sales in the stocks, as directed by the will of Aaron Cartes; and that for any loss occasioned by his failure to do so, he was liable.
The renunciation was of no effect. No discharge from liabilities as executor can be obtained without the action of the Court. His liabilities continued, and they were not changed or diminished by his removal to Alabama.
The receipt given to him by his co-executor had no operation on his responsibilities under the will. While it will be admitted that one executor is not liable for payments made to a co-executor; it is denied that a payment of the money by one executor to another, instead of a compliance with the will by investing the money, has no effect on those liabilities. Cited, 1 Williams on Executors, 148, 149. Ambler, 117. 2 Williams, 1124. 1 Ventris' Rep. 335. 2 Brown's Ch. Cases, 117. 2 Penn. Rep. 498. Precedents in Chancery, 173. 2 Schoales and Lefroy, Rep. 245. 7 East, 246. 11 Johns. Rep. 16. 116. 16 Ves. Jr. 478. 1 Merivale, 711. 1 P. Williams, 241.
Mr. Justice M'LEAN delivered the opinion of the Court.