U.S. Supreme Court
Edmonds v. Crenshaw, 39 U.S. 14 Pet. 166 166 (1840)
Edmonds v. Crenshaw
39 U.S. (14 Pet.) 166
Where there are two executors in a will, it is clear that each has a right to receive the debts due to the estate, and all other assets which shall come into his hands, and he is answerable for the assets he receives. This responsibility results from the right to receive, and the nature of the trust.
A payment of the sums received by him to his co-executor will not discharge him from his liability to the estate. He is bound to account for all assets which come into his hands and to appropriate them according to the directions of the will.
Executors are not liable to each other, but each is liable to the cestuis que trust and devisees to the full extent of the funds received by him.
The removal of an executor from a state in which the will was proved and in which letters testamentary were granted does not discharge him from his liability as executor, much less does it release him from his liability for assets received by him and paid over to his co-executor.
The appellee, with one James McMorris, was by the will of Aaron Cates of South Carolina made on 8 February, 1816, and proved on the 15th of the same month, appointed executor of the will. Letters testamentary were granted to both the executors.
The will directs the estate of the testator to be sold, and after the payment of the debts directs the executors to invest the residue of the proceeds of the estate in stocks for the benefit of certain persons named in the will and who are appellants in this case.
The estate was sold and the accounts were settled by the executors with the ordinary. The executors failed to invest the proceeds of the sales in stocks. This bill was filed to compel a performance of the directions of the will by the appellee.
The defendant, in the circuit court, stated in his answer that the monies of the estate were not invested in stocks in consequence of the opposition of one of the legatees, a complainant in the bill, and because the sums collected were not sufficiently large. That although at the time of the taking out the letters testamentary he was a resident of South Carolina, yet that in 1819 he removed to Alabama, having first delivered over to his co-executor, McMorris, all the assets of the estate which had ever come to his hands, and took the receipt of the co-executor for the same, which receipt he filed with the court of ordinary which had granted the letters testamentary, and surrendered to the co-executor the exclusive management of the estate of the testator. McMorris had become insolvent.
The case was heard on the bill, answer, and the receipt, and the circuit court ordered the bill to be dismissed. From this decree an appeal was prosecuted to this Court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary