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In re Pulitzer’s Estate

New York Surrogate’s Court
139 Misc. Rep. 575, 249 N.Y.S. 87 (1931)


Facts

Joseph Pulitzer died with a will and four codicils. The will was admitted to probate. One of the codicils directed the estate’s personal representatives to put the shares of his two companies, the Pulitzer Publishing Company and Press Publishing Company, in trust for the benefit of his three sons, whom the will also named as trustees. Trust income was to be paid to the sons for life and the principal divided among the sons’ male descendants at the sons’ deaths. The codicil permitted the sons, in their capacities as trustees, to exercise discretion in selling Pulitzer Publishing Company stock but limited their discretion in selling Press Publishing Company stock, which Pulitzer wanted to survive him. Both companies were losing money, due in part to the 1929 stock-market crash. The sons wanted to sell the companies. The sons had received an offer from the Consolidated News Corporation to purchase Press Publishing Company and submitted the offer to the probate court for review. The sons received several more offers during probate proceedings and likewise submitted these offers for the court’s review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Foley, J.)

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