Superior Court of Pierce County. Superior Court Docket No. 93-4-01122-1. Date Filed In Superior Court: September 23, 1994. Superior Court Judge Signing: Thomas Felnagle.
Written By: Armstrong, J., Concurred IN By: Morgan, J., Turner, J.
ARMSTRONG, J. -- This consolidated action involves the interpretation of the wills of Thomas W. Long and his son Edward Long. The trial court held that certain stock left in trust pursuant to Thomas Long's will did not pass to Edward Long or his estate, but went directly to Edward's adult children. Edward's estate appeals this ruling. We affirm and hold that under Thomas's will, Edward was entitled to the stock only if he survived to the time of actual physical distribution of the assets.
In the second action, Edward's surviving widow, Laura, challenges the trial court's determination that under Edward's will, she must pay a proportionate share of the estate taxes together with interest from the date the taxes were paid by the estate. Again, we affirm.
Thomas W. Long and his wife Rita each owned 49 1/2 percent of the shares of Lakewood Refuse Service, Inc. Their son, Edward Long, owned one share. In 1971, Thomas executed his will, establishing a trust, which included the Lakewood shares, for the support of his wife, Rita. Thomas's will provided:
2. Upon the death of my wife,
(a) The Trustee shall distribute all of my shares of the stock of Lakewood Refuse Service, Inc., unto my son, EDWARD D. LONG, if he is living, it being my intention that he shall have sufficient share in said corporation to control its operation. If my said son is not living all of such shares shall be distributed as a part of the residue of the Trust.
(b) The residue of the Trust Estate shall be divided into six equal parts, one for each of my six children above named, and the share of each such child shall be distributed to him or her as soon as the Trustee can conveniently do so.
3. In the event that any of my said children predecease me or die before complete distribution of his or her share is made, and such deceased child is not survived by issue, such share, or the residue thereof, shall be distributed in equal shares unto my other children. If such deceased child is survived by issue, any of whom are not 21 years of age, the share of such child, or the residue thereof, shall be held, administered and distributed as a single trust for the use and benefit of all of his or her issue . . . .
Thomas died in 1972. In 1981, Lakewood redeemed Rita's shares. All the remaining shares, therefore, were owned by the trust with exception of Edward's single share.
In 1987, Edward and the other beneficiaries of Thomas's will entered into an agreement that modified Thomas's will. The agreement provided that Edward would receive 51 percent of the shares (or if sold, the proceeds) held in the trust; the remaining shares would be divided into five equal portions, one for each of Edward's siblings. The beneficiaries further agreed that if any one of them died before distribution, the deceased child's children, whether or not still minors, would receive the deceased child's share.
In January 1992, Edward and the trust sold all of the stock in Lakewood to a third party. A law suit was filed challenging the sale on issues unrelated to Thomas's will or the trust.
Because of the law suit, Edward, the trustee, and the third party purchaser entered into an escrow agreement in January 1992. The agreement provided that half of the sale price was to be dispersed immediately to the trust (the value of Edward's one share was distributed to him); the other ...