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Hibernia Bank v. United States

(1978)

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 581 F.2d 741

tl;dr:

Hibernia Bank acted as trustee for the trusts in the Clark estate and appointed as administrator with the will annexed of the estate. After all specific bequests and claims against the estate were paid, Hibernia liquidated the mansion and borrowed funds to maintain it. Hibernia filed a claim for a refund of part of the estate taxes paid on the Clark estate, asserting that it was entitled to deduct the interest it paid on four bank loans as expenses of administration.

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Facts & HoldingHibernia Bank v. United States case brief facts & holding

Facts:Hibernia Bank appealed a decision to deny its refund claim...

Holding:The court's final holding was that the loans were considered...

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Hibernia Bank v. United States | Case Brief DeepDive
Majority opinion, author: WALLACE, Circuit Judge:
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Hibernia Bank appealed a district court's decision to deny its claim for a refund of federal estate taxes in the case of Celia Tobin Clark's estate. Hibernia argued that the interest payments made on four bank loans were deductible expenses of administration under 26 U.S.C. § 2053(a)(2), but the Commissioner disallowed the deduction and denied the refund. The district judge ruled that the claimed expense must not only be allowable under state law but also reasonable and necessary under federal law to be deductible. The judge found that the estate had been kept open longer than necessary, and therefore, the loans and interest payments made during the excess period were unnecessary and not deductible. The court agreed with the district judge that the deductibility of an expenditure under section 2053(a)(2) is not solely determined by state law.

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Opinion (Concurrence), author: DUNIWAY, Circuit Judge
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The case involves the interpretation of § 2053(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, which allows the deduction of expenses of administration in federal estate tax law. The concurring judge agrees with the decision but adds that practical reasons support limiting claimed administrative expenses to prevent reductions of federal estate tax. The probate proceedings in California are one-sided and do not require personal notice for interested parties, with notice posted at the courthouse and mailing only upon request. Publication in a newspaper is mandatory for borrowing petitions. Hibernia Bank was involved in every aspect of the probate proceedings, as the administrator, trustee, and lender, with no one questioning the validity of its expenditures or administration of the estate. The United States had no representation in the probate court, and there was no statute authorizing the government or the IRS to appear in probate court, except for specific circumstances.

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