Uterhart v. United States - 240 U.S. 598 (1916)
U.S. Supreme Court
Uterhart v. United States, 240 U.S. 598 (1916)
Uterhart v. United States
Argued January 24, 1916
Decided April 3, 1916
240 U.S. 598
The right to succeed to property of a decedent depends upon, and is regulated by, state law. Knowlton v. Moore, 178 U. S. 41.
The judicial construction of a will by a state court of competent jurisdiction determines not only legally, but practically, the extent and character of the interests taken by the legatees.
The court of the state in which the decedent's will was probated and having jurisdiction to construe the same, having decided that, as to the residuary estate, the will involved in this case constituted a trust continuing until after July 1, 1902, and that no beneficiary was entitled to receive anything except on affirmative exercise of discretion conferred upon the executors and trustees, held that the interests of the residuary legatees were contingent, and not vested prior to July 1, 1902, within the meaning of the Refunding Act of June 27, 1902, except as to such amounts as were actually paid to the legatees prior to that date by the trustees in the exercise of their discretion.
49 Ct.Cl. 709 reversed.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Refund Act of June 27, 1902, and right to recover certain taxes paid under the War Revenue Tax of 1898 on account of interests passing under a will, are stated in the opinion.