Pufahl v. Estate of Parks
299 U.S. 217 (1936)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pufahl v. Estate of Parks, 299 U.S. 217 (1936)

Pufahl v. Estate of Parks

No. 18

Argued October 15, 1936

Decided December 7, 1936

299 U.S. 217

Syllabus

1. Section 66, Title 12 U.S.C., declares that a person holding stock in a national banking association as executor shall not be personally subject to any liability as stockholder, but that the estate and funds in his hands shall be liable in like manner and to the same extent as the testator would be if living and competent to act and hold the stock in his own name. Held that the purpose of the latter clause is to make plain that, although the executor is exonerated personally, the estate is not; but the statute evinces no intent to prefer the assessments of stockholders' liability over other claims against the estate, or to exempt the receiver of the bank, in the collection of assessments, from pursuing the remedy prescribed by the local law for the collection of like claims. P. 299 U. S. 222.

2. Section 64, Title 12 U.S.C., imposes no lien for the amount of an assessment against a living stockholder, and § 66 imposes none against the estate of a deceased stockholder. P. 299 U. S. 224.

3. The statute creates an unsecured and unpreferred claim against a decedent's estate. Where the assessment has been made in the decedent's lifetime, an accrued and provable debt exists against his estate; if made after his death, a claim against the funds and assets of the estate accrues as of the date of assessment. P. 299 U. S. 224.

4. The receiver of the bank may enforce his claim based on the assessment only in conformity to the law of the forum governing recovery of debts of like nature. If he elect to proceed in a federal court, the judgment or decree will determine the validity and amount of the claim; but if payment is desired from assets under the control of a state probate court, the marshaling of the claim with others, its priority, if any, in distribution, and all similar questions, are for the probate court upon presentation to it of the judgment or decree of the federal court. P. 299 U. S. 225.

5. If the receiver prosecute his claim in a state court, the litigation will be governed (at least in the absence of federal legislation to the contrary) by the common and statutory law of the State. P. 299 U. S. 226.

Page 299 U. S. 218

6. If the State does not discriminate against the receiver's claim, in favor of others of equal dignity and like character, there is no warrant for exempting the claim from the effect of local statutes governing procedure or limiting the time for prosecution of action. P. 299 U. S. 227.

7. By the law of Illinois, claims against a decedent's estate, not exhibited to the court within one year from the granting of letters, are barred as to property and estate of the deceased which has been inventoried or accounted for by the executor or administrator, and claims may not be proved while they remain contingent; but opportunity is allowed to collect claims not presented within the year from assets subsequently discovered, whether the failure to present them earlier was due to negligence or to their contingent character, and if the claim is contingent, and the liability of the estate does not become absolute until after the expiration of the year, the creditor may recover from the distributees to the extent of the assets received by them respectively.

Held that a claim of a national bank's receiver against a decedent's estate, based upon an assessment of shares, was not entitled to satisfaction out of assets inventoried within one year after the granting of letters testamentary, where the insolvency of the bank, the levying of the assessment and the presentation of the claim to the Illinois probate court, all occurred after that year had expired. P. 299 U. S. 227.

283 Ill.App. 95 affirmed.

Certiorari, 298 U.S. 649, to review a judgment affirming the rejection, by the Probate Court and by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, of a claim by the receiver of a national bank. The judgment here under review was not reviewable by the Supreme Court of Illinois, for want of a "certificate of importance."

Page 299 U. S. 221

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