Appeal, No. 40, March T., 1950, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1949, No. 1700, in case of Ray C. Danner et al. v. Clara O. Danner. Decree affirmed; reargument refused January 3, 1951.
Mahlon E. Lewis, with him Emanuel Amdur, for appellants.
John M. Reed, for appellee.
Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE DREW
George A. Danner died August 2, 1947, and by his will left all of his property to his wife Clara O. Danner, defendant in this suit. His two sisters, Ray C. Danner and Marguerite Danner, brought this bill in equity seeking to have $5000 worth of those assets impressed with a trust for their benefit. After hearing testimony, the learned chancellor entered a decree nisi dismissing the bill. Exceptions were dismissed and the decree made final by the court in banc. This appeal was then taken.
Danner married defendant in 1924 and the following year he executed his will leaving his estate to defendant as sole legatee. On his death, she received under his will the sum of $4,954.95 and in addition she became the sole owner of approximately $48,000 worth of assets representing insurance proceeds and property formerly held as tenants by the entireties.
Plaintiff's claim is based on a letter written to them by Danner on May 12, 1944, in which he quoted from a memorandum, dated October 27, 1943, which he said he gave to defendant. The quoted portion of that memorandum was as follows: "If I should die before you -- note following: 1st Do not go back on your promise to give my sisters, or if only one sister is living then to her, Five Thousand Dollars in cash; if we together have Twenty Thousand or over including total value of my Insurance Policies."
Plaintiffs testified that on several occasions he orally repeated the substance of that memorandum to them. That memorandum was not found among Danner's papers and defendant denies ever having received
if or of having promised Danner she would give plaintiffs any money at all. She admitted, however, that Danner had asked her to give money to plaintiffs and there was evidence that she had told plaintiffs of Danner's wish.
After careful consideration of all of that evidence, the court below held that it was legally insufficient to establish a trust. It is that ruling ...