"Since we were not involved in any of the decision-making process, and this involves public opinion and different governmental groups, we were just not comfortable with the way things were going," Swope said.
Crane, a friend of Leaf's, was executor for the estate of the longtime West Chester schoolteacher and the bank was agent, which meant that it kept records and filed reports. Crane requested in a letter dated Jan. 19 that the bank relinquish its agent role. The next day, the bank's board of directors voted to do so.
Now that the relationship has been severed, the bank has decided to forgo its customary administrative fees, which would have been 5 percent on the first $100,000, 4 percent on the next $100,000 and 3 percent on the remainder. The fee would have been $19,500 on a total estate of $550,000.
However, the bank remains co-trustee of the Leaf estate. Asked whether it would continue in that role, Swope replied, "That's down the road. Right now, Mr. Crane has to settle the estate."
After the administration of the estate is complete, under the terms of Leaf's will, Crane and the First National Bank would have been co-trustees, administering the vocational-education scholarships created by the will. Leaf's home and furnishings were sold at auction in December for $340,000.
Robert W. Thomas, First National vice president and trust officer, would like to see his bank complete its charge as co-trustee, as specified in Leaf's will.
"I'm sure it will be proposed at the end of the administration of the estate to accept that business," Thomas said. "The trust committee has the right to accept or deny business."
Crane said he has not decided whether to hire another agent or to hire an attorney to take over as executor. "I will not do both," he said.