PITTSBURGH — Richard Mellon Scaife’s last will and testament, filed Friday with the Register of Wills of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, provides little detail about the disposition of assets that have been estimated at $1.4 billion.
Mr. Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking, oil, and aluminum fortune, died on July 4 at the age of 82. He was a Pittsburgh-area newspaper publisher, philanthropist, and one of America’s leading funders of conservative causes.
“All of his wishes are carried out in the same manner in which he lived his life,” said Mr. Scaife’s longtime attorney, H. Yale Gutnick, one of the will’s executors.
The will steers Mr. Scaife’s art, his late mother’s real estate, and stock trusts that she left behind to various charities. It indicates the existence of two trust funds, one of which appears to be tied to the Tribune-Review newspapers.
The only entity receiving a specific dollar bequest in the will is the Brandywine Conservancy of Chadds Ford in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The will leaves $15 million to the conservancy. It also gets roughly one-half of his art collection, plus the 900-acre Penguin Court, the Ligonier, Pa., estate that Mr. Scaife inherited from his mother, including all automobiles and other property there.
The Brandywine Conservancy’s mission is protecting the natural and cultural resources of the Brandywine watershed. Virginia Logan, the conservancy’s executive director, said that Mr. Scaife had long been a trustee.
Receiving the other half of Mr. Scaife’s art collection, plus eight paintings by John Kane, is the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
Much of the rest of Mr. Scaife’s assets flow to several foundations and trusts.
All “family memorabilia,” including books, photographs, and family artworks, go to the Allegheny Foundation, which is one of the three Scaife Foundations. Cars, furniture, rugs, books, chinaware, silverware, clothing, and jewelry, though, “shall be sold and the proceeds added to my residuary estate,” according to the will.
The will also addresses three trusts established by Mr. Scaife’s mother, Sarah Mellon Scaife.
One of those trusts alone contained — at the time of its creation in 1965 — 118,348 shares of Alcoa stock and 721,087 shares of Gulf Oil stock, according to Frederick Frank, an attorney whose practice includes estate work and who is retained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
According to the will, Mr. Scaife had the power to appoint others to control the three trusts.
The will splits that power of appointment between the Allegheny Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.
If the foundations were unable to accept the assets as charitable gifts, then they would flow to any of seven other organizations: The Allegheny Institute of Public Policy of Mount Lebanon; the Brandywine Conservancy; the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts; the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.; the Hoover Institute on War, Revolution, and Peace in California; the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa.; and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
Mr. Scaife specified that his dogs should be given “to individuals who will provide good homes for them,” as determined by the will’s executors, Mr. Gutnick and Mr. Scaife’s cousin, James M. Walton.
The will indicates that unspecified assets are held in the Richard M. Scaife 2008 Revocable Trust.
The terms of the trust, which are not public, would go into effect assuming he didn’t revoke them during his lifetime, according to Mr. Frank.
The will includes a clause apparently meant to deter challenges. If any beneficiary contests the exercise of the will without “probable cause,” they would have to pay costs and fees incurred by the executors in fighting off the challenge.
Mr. Scaife was married and divorced twice. He was survived by a daughter, Jennie King Scaife of Palm Beach, Fla., and a son, David Negley Scaife of Pittsburgh. The will does not mention his former wives, nor his daughter or son.
Mr. Gutnick said the son and daughter “are provided for substantially by Mr. Scaife and his family.”
Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rich Lord and Jonathan D. Silver are reporters for the Post-Gazette.