Page v. Patton - 30 U.S. 304 (1831)
U.S. Supreme Court
Page v. Patton, 30 U.S. 5 Pet. 304 304 (1831)
Page v. Patton
30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 304
Page was indebted at the time of his decease to Patton £3,000 and upwards, which was" covered by a deed of trust on Mansfield, one of Page's estates. The executors of Page refusing to act, Patton, in 1803, took out administration with the will annexed and gave securities for the performance of his duties. Patton made sales of the personal estate for cash and on a credit of twelve months, and received various sums of money from the same; he made disbursements in payment of debts and expenses for the support and education of the children of Page and in advance to the legatees. He kept his administration accounts in a book provided for the purpose, entering his receipts and disbursements for the estate but not bringing his own debt and interest into the account. In 1810, he put the items of his account into the hands of counsel and requested him to introduce the deed of trust "as he might think proper," and an account as administrator was" made out, in" which the" principal and interest of
Patton's debt was entered as the first item. Afterwards, in the same year, by order of court, the real estate was sold and Patton received the proceeds of the same. Held that the sum due under the deed of trust to Patton should lie charged on the funds arising from the sale of the real estate, and that having omitted to retain from the proceeds of the personal estate the sum due to him by Page, Patton could not afterwards charge the same against the legal assets, being the fund produced by the personal estate.
The executor or administrator cannot discharge his own debt in preference to others of superior dignity, though he may give the preference to his own over others of equal degree. In some of the states, this rule would not apply, as there is no difference made in the payment of debts between a bond and simple contract.
If the creditor appoints the debtor his executor, in some cases it operates as a release. This, however, is not the case as against creditors; the release is good against devisees when the debt due has not been specifically devised.