Forrest v. Jack
294 U.S. 158 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Forrest v. Jack, 294 U.S. 158 (1935)

Forrest v. Jack

No. 214

Argued December 11, 1934

Decided February 4, 1935

294 U.S. 158

Syllabus

1. The liability of stockholders for the debts of national banks is based on Title 12 U.S.C. § 64. P. 294 U. S. 161.

2. As a general rule, the person registered as owner on the books of the bank is liable, but the actual owner may be held though not registered. P. 294 U. S. 162.

3. Upon the death of the owner, his personal representative is exempt, but the liability attaches to his estate. Ib., § 66. Id.

4. No cause of action arises to enforce the liability until assessment has been made by the Comptroller. Id.

5. The acts of the Comptroller may not be trammeled, controlled, or prevented by state laws. Id.

6. In the absence of federal enactment supplying the procedure for enforcing the liability against decedents' estates, the state laws governing claims against such estates are applicable insofar as they are not inconsistent with such enforcement. P. 294 U. S. 163.

7. Property that appertained to a decedent's estate is not liable under § 66 on account of assessments made after complete administration, final distribution of all property, and extinguishment of the estate. Matteson v. Dent,176 U. S. 521, distinguished. Id.

Page 294 U. S. 159

8. National bank shares belonging to a decedent's estate in Utah and registered in his name were transferred in the administration to his widow, without change of registration; the administration was completed, all property distributed, and the estate extinguished, according to the Utah laws. Long afterwards, the bank became insolvent, and the shares were assessed by the Comptroller. Held:

(1) That the administrator, before his discharge, was not required by the Utah law to retain or pay into court any money or property in anticipation of the assessment, then but a possible future liability, and was not guilty of devastavit. P. 294 U. S. 163.

(2) The widow, as actual owner of the shares, became liable to assessment under Title 12 U.S.C. § 64. Id.

(3) Real estate that had belonged to the decedent and passed to the widow, and was conveyed by her, without consideration, before the assessment, never became liable to it. Id.

71 F.2d 264 reversed.

District Court affirmed.

Certiorari, 293 U.S. 542, to review the reversal of a judgment dismissing an action brought by a receiver of a national bank to recover an assessment on shares made by the Comptroller of the Currency.

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